I want to change the world through my writings, says Ebedi fellow, Omotoyinbo

Damilola Omotoyinbo recently completed her six-week stay at the Ebedi International Writers Residency in Iseyin, Oyo State. In this interview with Adewale Oshodi, she speaks on her writings and how she hopes to make positive contribution to the world. Excerpt:

As a writer, which genre do you specialise in?

I am into poetry and prose and I hope to use my writings to change the world. I believe a lot of stories need to be told about women, and that is what I am working towards achieving.


How did you get to know about Ebedi?

While at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, a friend of mine introduced me to his brother who had a literary club, and I started writing for the club, and one day, the brother posted the openings at Ebedi, and I followed the instructions and was admitted.

How was your stay at the residency?

I really enjoyed my stay there. Apart from having the time to focus on my writings, I also met writers from Ghana and The Gambia. This gave me the opportunity to learn about the way of life of the Ghanaians and The Gambians. I was also able to share the various aspects of the Nigerian culture with them. I also learnt how they pronounce words in these countries, because they pronounce words differently from the way we do in Nigeria. I also learnt about their food, among other things. So meeting them has given me cultural exposure. I want to say that without Ebedi, I would not have been able to meet these friends from other African countries. While understanding the differences among our cultures, I was able to know that we are still one people in Africa. Apart from that, the people of Iseyin are also hospitable, and I also used the opportunity to visit some landmark sites in the town. The experience has been worthwhile.


Part of the assignments of residents is to relate with secondary school students in Iseyin, how did this go with you?

I really enjoyed my time with the students. I taught them how to develop and write poems, and I was amazed by their interest in literature. Most of them had interacted with past residents, so they already know what poetry and prose writing are all about. It was an eye-opener working with the students.


You said you hope to use literature to change the world, how do you hope to achieve that?

I want to focus on areas in which the girl-child and womenfolk are having challenges in the society. So I can describe myself as a feminist, although I believe the male also need to be supported, but the society is much more against the womenfolk and there is the need to bring these challenges to the fore. I am someone who believes in freedom for the sexes, but the womenfolk have been placed at a disadvantage already and that is what I want to change. So I want to use my writings as a tool to change the world.