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|“I Have Brittle Paper And Rihanna To Thank For A Lot Of Things” – Otosirieze Obi by SynCityNg: 2:16pm On Sep 27, 2018|
Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the #SyncityNG Literary Lord and Ladies show! We are ready! Our guest is ready! But first, a quick introduction:
Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), and the forthcoming Beats Naija: The Book of Music (2018). He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Prize and for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, and is represented by David Godwin Associates. He can be found at otosirieze.com.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Otosirieze Obi-Young!
Let’s begin. What did you do to land an agent?
It was quite the long, hard story. I first queried an agent in 2015, on the morning of my undergraduate convocation. As unbelievable as it seems, it was David Godwin I queried because he represented Arundhati Roy. He replied, said he couldn’t take me so I tried other agents. But I came back to him two more times, 2016, 2017, but no response. On the whole, about three agents replied me with comments on the manuscript. One, whose resume showed she was involved with Adichie when she was starting, subtly suggested that I change two stories — two that are central to my vision for it. A nice email from her but I wasn’t going to.
I did many things, e.g alter my bio, because I felt living in Naija with no MFA counted against me. I also didn’t want to ask for assistance as I wanted to prove a point to me. Finally, I asked a big Naija writer and she linked me to the Wylie Agency. A month on, a different person recommended me to David Godwin and he emailed the next day. I was flattered, frankly, by his interest and enthusiasm. He asked to represent me. I screamed yes. I wanted him from the start and, after three declines, got him. I probably queried more than 40 agencies.
If you are just joining us, please grab a chair. @Otosirieze is narrating his ordeal towards finding a literary agent. I never knew writers go through a lot to get agents. @Otosirieze’s journey feels like a trip from Libya to the Mediterranean sea... http://syncityng.com/2018/09/27/i-have-brittle-paper-and-rihanna-to-thank-for-a-lot-of-things-otosirieze-obi-young/
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