Hello Samson, kindly introduce yourself
Kukogho Iruesiri Samson is a Nigerian writer, publisher, multimedia journalist and youth mentor. He is known for his work with young Nigerian writers and the promotion of Nigerian writing through his multi-platform educational and publishing firm, Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd. Kukogho has authored a quadrilogy of poetry collections — What can words do (2013) and I said these words (2015), Words of eros (2017) and WE WHO Sowed hurt and beaded pains (2017) and has won accolades for his writing, including the Orange Crush 1st Prize for Poetry in 2012, the Nigerian Writers Award (NWA) for ‘Best Poet In Nigeria 2015’ and the 2017 ANA Prize For Fiction (First-Runner-Up), for his unpublished novel, The Devil’s Pawn. He was also listed among the Nigerian Writers Awards’ list of 100 Most Influential Nigerian Writers Under 40 in 2016.
When and why did you start writing?
I can’t remember when I actually started writing, but I can remember that I has some written works as far back as 1998, though I was more of an artist – painting, drawing, sculpting, etc, than a writer. I started writing out of a need to talk to someone about my imaginations and opinions. I was in a dysfunctional family setting and naturally, I had a lot going on inside that I needed to express. Writing came in handy.
What do you love about writing?
Writing, and indeed art in general, is an escape as well as an opportunity to express. It lets me say it all without saying too much. The fact that I communicate thoughts and meaning to others is what endears me to writing. Above all, it lets me have my say in a world that drowns opinions with noise.
You’ve authored four books, all poetry; can you explain your love for this genre of writing?
Well, as you may be aware, I write prose as well. As a matter of fact, my journey into writing began with prose. I had written for many years before I tackled poetry. My first completed book is a novel, finished since 2010. However, I have four collections of poetry simply because it is easier to compile short poems than to produce a prose masterpiece worthy of publication – in my own estimation, that is.
You founded Word, Rhyme and Reason (WRR) sometime in 2012. Can you tell us what informed the decision?
It was simple: young writers were not being heard and I, being one of them, thought there was a need for a platform that took them into consideration…and WRR was born.
How did it grow from a page to a publishing house that has discovered many young literary talents?
I never expected that we would grow this big and so fast. However, I wouldn’t say that I am surprised because a lot of efforts and funds have been committed to the WRR project since 2012 and it is only natural that growth should occur. It is a project dear to my heart and the hearts of many a young Nigerian writer.
Authorpedia is dedicated to celebrating authors in Nigeria. What inspired the decision to start up the page?
Just like WRR was founded to cater for young writers, Authorpedia emerged to fill the gap for Nigerian authors. We rely too much on mainstream and international media to talk about our writers. Authorpedia hopes to raise awareness about the Nigerian literary space, with a focus on books and authors of Nigerian descent.
Empowering people has a way of helping you grow. What have you benefited from these platforms primarily founded to impact lives?
Just as you have noted, you can’t empower others without growing. It has come naturally for me. I daresay I wouldn’t be so successful in all other areas of my life if I hadn’t taken the WRR project seriously.
Collaboration is the new competition. What organizations would you love to partner with in the nearest future and why?
Those who know how we operate at WRR know that we hardly seek out sponsors because of the ever-present urge to censor what you sponsor. We have been fully self-funded over the years, with a few collaborations here and there. However, we are willing to partner with ANY and EVERYONE interested in the growth of the Nigerian literary industry.
As a publisher what should a writer know before setting out to publish a book?
The quality of your work must come first. This is non-negotiable.
What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?
Write and publish as many books as possible before I die.