Olushola Ojikutu interviewed Nigerian writer, journalist and artist Victor Ehikhamenor about his new book, Excuse Me!, a collection of satirical essays and observations.
Ehikhamenor spoke about how he draws inspiration from growing up “in a city-like village”, saying that his penchant for satire is influenced by the cynical and satirical nature of villagers. He credited EC Osondu, author of Voice of America, as having the most influence on his writing and recommended Binyavanga Wainana’s One Day I Will Write About This Place to Nigerian readers interested in non-fiction.
Tell us a bit about your background and how it has informed your writing.
I grew up in a city-like village, where we had pretty much everything, including no-nonsense uncles and aunties, and prayerful grandmothers and grandfathers. At age ten, I started writing letters for old village folks who didn’t have Western education – which meant I had to translate Esan to English. I guess that can be said to be the beginning of my writing life.
Why satirical nonfiction?
Villagers are very satirical and cynical, I probably picked it from there. It’s also a style I feel comfortable using; it is my anaesthesia for telling painful truths.
The Voice published an extract from Excuse Me! titled “I Want a Private Jet, So Help Me God!”:
Yes, the title of this week’s piece is not a mistake, and if by the time it is published my editor has changed the headline, the two of us will put our legs in one trouser.
Flying Aero Contractors to Benin City last Friday has temporarily cured me of rolling my eyes at our president, mega-pastors and Governor Amaechi of Rivers State from buying pimped-out private jets…
- Excuse Me! by Victor Ehikhamenor
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Image courtesy Miss Ojikutu