Today’s #WriterSpotlight features the creative Olutayo Irantiola. He is a poet, novelist and biographer. Olutayo is a writer who believes rejection is not the end of the world. Enjoy his interview with us.
Hello, please introduce yourself.
I am Olutayo Irantiola, the first of four creative children; I am a writer, my younger brother is a photographer; my first sister is a make-up artiste while the baby of the family is into fashion.
What do you do?
I have written poetry, novella, drama, tributes, biography and at times, I engage in social commentaries.
Why did you choose to write or what led you to writing?
My grandfather whose biography I wrote, is a historian. I grew into loving writing as a student of Literature and over time, I persisted in writing till I improved significantly.
Can you share any lesson you have learnt on your writing and publishing journey?
My publishing journey began when I wrote the biography of my maternal grandfather; Rev John Adegoke Okesiji titled, ‘True Calling: Life and Times of Rev JA Okesiji, JP‘. I went to various publishers before I eventually got it self-published in 2010.
In the same year, I was published under the monographs of Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) category; my anthology of poetry in English and Yoruba titled, ‘Thought Patterns’. I approached the centre based on a newspaper publication about their intention in publishing new African writers at that time and I was fortunate to be published.
I have learnt that my writing has to be further scrutinized before it can be published; I have learnt that your opinion on your work is not final and I learnt patience and the ability to accept rejection of my scripts.
Can you tell us your most rewarding moment as a writer?
My most rewarding moment was at the launch of my first book. I felt accepted based on the recognition of the character that the book was written on. Also, I was delighted when I saw that my second published book was available for sale in Mary Martin Booksellers Pte Ltd. Lastly, whenever I see my name listed as one of the emerging writers in Nigeria.
If you didn’t become a writer what else would you have done?
My acts evolve around writing; the power of speech would have taken precedence. I would be seriously involved in oratory such as coordinating events; been on stage and possibly becoming a lawyer.
Have you ever been rejected as a writer and how did you handle it?
I have been rejected many times when I submit creative works for entry. However, I have learnt to handle it joyfully. I have a maxim, ‘making an attempt is bravery; succeeding at the attempt is success while not giving it a try is failure.’
With this, I do not feel dejected after being rejected and I look forward to another day.
Will you ever retire from writing?
My desire is to continue writing as it makes me feel fulfilled.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Learning how to rest.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I anchor a quarterly cultural fiesta called Yoruba Lakotun and I coordinate a monthly reading session with children in Correctional Homes in Lagos called Literary Reading Group. I review all forms of arts also.
Do you consider writing as work or pleasure and why?
Writing is pleasurable to me. I do it at all opportunity; I equally pour out my anger in writing.
Your best article or story so far?
My best writing is my novella titled, ‘My Children’ although it is not yet published.
Last words for upcoming writers?
Be tenacious; don’t give up! Writers never die! Make your name ring across ages.