Abidemi Sanusi, Commonweath Writers' Prize Nominee ('Eyo') on Outspoken!

Abidemi Sanusi’s life, interests and passions are quite easy to follow if you follow her on social media. She comes across as well-read, captivating and someone to converse with over a cup of tea or lunch. You will agree with me given by her posts on Facebook, that her work/life balance must be exhausting……..or maybe not.  Abidemi took some of her time to talk to Outspoken! on her muse, books, photography and more. You will love reading this.
Abidemiauthor
How do your friends describe you and is this an assessment you would agree with?
They think I’m a workaholic. Which is not strictly true. I run my own business, www.thereadywriter.co.uk, a content writing and training agency, so I can’t really switch off.
When you have a 9-5, you can clock off at 5, come home and not think about work. As a business owner, that is not even an option for me. It’s not that I don’t want to – I just haven’t got that option.
At any point in time, you’re dealing with so many things, and on so many levels, and even if you employ people, there are some things that only you can deal with, and make decisions on. And that’s the honest truth.
So, am I a workaholic? No, I run a business and like I’ve said, it is what it is.
What three books are on your Kindle or bedroom table waiting to be read?
I’ve got two manuscripts by two friends that I promised to read – which I NEVER do. So, it tells you how special these people are, that I’m actually reviewing their work.
Bedroom table: ‘And the Mountain Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, by John Green.
Kindle: That’s a bit tricky. I’m currently in the midst of reading four (or is it five?) books. It’s the Kindle – it makes it so easy.
One is ‘How to win friends and influence people’
I’ve got two Charlotte Mendelson books: ‘Daughters of Jerusalem’ and ‘Almost English’.
Then, I’ve got some random ones that I picked up, whilst ambling aimlessly on Amazon.
You were shortlisted for the Common wealth Writers’ Prize. Do you look back at this as the greatest moment in life or one of the greatest moments of your life?  
Actually, when I was shortlisted, it didn’t sink in. I was quite nonchalant about it, even though everyone kept on telling me what a big deal it was.
I realised how much I wanted to win, when I didn’t win. I think I cried non-stop for three days.
In terms of moments, I think it was one of many moments, but definitely not one of the greatest moments in my life.
Not that I didn’t appreciate being nominated, but it was a nice moment. But, not a great one.
Now, if I was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize….
What book are you reading now?
I dip in and out of the books I mentioned earlier.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?             
I run Ready Writer, www.thereadywriter.co.uk, a content writing and training company.
We create great content for companies that increases their online visibility and drive traction (visitor traffic, conversions, brand loyalty and more) to their brand.
We do by providing web content, blogging services, content strategies, content marketing opportunities and more.
We also provide editorial services (writing, editing, annual reports, company magazine, speechwriting, newsletter management… whatever editorial needs the company has, really).
We also provide tailored, content-writing and editorial training for companies.
In my personal life, or what I like to call my ‘other’ life, I do photography, writing (which, every one knows about), food (I specialise in wheat and dairy free food, which is heavily influenced by north African/Middle Eastern culture, but with distinctive West African slant). Then, of course, there’s the film. I’m a budding documentary filmmaker and foreign-language film obsessive.
These are the four things I’m passionate about, which is why my website, www.abidemi.co.uk is based around these themes.
And did I mention http://www.readywritermag.com, a website I established for Christians who write? (Smiles).
As you can gather, I’m not good at doing one thing, because I get bored so easily. Which is why I tend to work on different projects at the same time.
How do you juggle the different things you do together: Ready Writer, (budding) documentary film-maker, life as an author and photography?
I make use of my time – I have to. Plus, I love what I do too much to stop.
Does your life exhaust you sometimes?                                           
Yes, because my physical body is constantly running to catch up with my imagination and ambition. And no, because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a bad life. There are people and children who have it much worse than me.
What technology do you use for writing?
My Mac (Pages or Word for Mac) and my imagination! Some author friends use writing applications like Scrivener, but I can’t be bothered with all that.
The Mac keeps it simple.
Describe your writing style in ten words or less.
Authentic.
When you hear from your readers, what do they say?
I get the most response for ‘God has Daughters Too’, which is a personalised account of Old Testament women, and ‘Eyo’ – definitely, ‘Eyo’.
The book compels people to act against human trafficking, which was what I wanted.
How do you use social media to promote your writing?
To be honest, not so much. Because, I know how much I hate it when people sell at me, ALL the time.
I think mine is more of a conversation. Where possible, I direct people to my website. People go there and get to know me through my writing, photography and food stuff that I put up.
They form their opinions about me and then, buy my books from there.
Abidemi SanusiOn the other hand, I’ve been very fortunate to have had really quite good reviews for my books, so that definitely helps with the sales.
How is this world a better place because of your books?     
I think my book encourage people to look outward and think beyond the present.
I started off in Christian publishing and for a while, my books were faith-themed.
I decided I wanted to write more general audience books, so wrote ‘Eyo’, which was essentially to raise awareness about child sex slavery and human trafficking, and was then nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Through these books, I believe I’ve connected people to the Creator and also encouraged them to participate in world issues, and just care a bit more.
To contact Abidemi on Facebook
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Simi & Lola Bedford, winner Independent of the Year

Its all about shops today!

Looking for quirky, locally owned business to support in your area? Look no further, if you live in Bedford and its environs, you can always support Simi & Lola. Within Dunstable, there are loads of independent shops that need a buzz or a renaissance around them. Competition is fierce. We need to help.

Did you know that for every pound you spend in a local independent shop, 70p of that benefits your local community?Think about it, the more we support our local businesses, the more our communities and town centers can thrive and the more we can see jobs and wages increase.  Coupled with a struggling economic recovery, the Dunstable high street has too many closed/failed shops, it is depressing.

This is why I am passionate about supporting local shops and asking you to do the same. I would like to show my support for another shop which used to be in  Ashton Square, Dunstable, but has now moved to Bedford mainly because the footfall was not enough to generate the required sales.

Simi & Lola Bedford is an independent shop which retails dresses, hand bags, gift items, scarves, perfumes, belts and other items.   Owned by husband and wife team Hatib and Adeola, a visit to their shop show the love they have for each other and their shop.  Every item displayed,has been chosen by love. Adeola, a business  and ICT Masters

graduate from University College London is artistically gifted. She has an uncanny eye for arts and crafts: she is responsible for the shop floor and its arrangement.

Update

Congratulations to Simi and Lola, they have been announced as the winners of the  Independent of the Year Award by Love Bedford. Thanks to everyone who responded to our post by liking and sharing their page.

Here is what friends of Simi & Lola are saying on Facebook:

Photo: 'Like and share this status to vote for Simi & Lola in the hunt for the Independent of the Year'.  Simi & Lola  We pride ourselves on stocking unique, exquisite and beautiful products. Spending a lot of time sourcing products that are different to the high street but more importantly without being expensive.

Funmbi, the Comedian for your Monday merriment.

Here are  clips of Funmbi, the Comedian. He performed at the African Comedy Night where he stole the show- in my opinion anyways.  As I have only just discovered him, here are two clips of him for your Monday merriment.

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/3e2qAwT8JQE&source=uds

Rosie's Market Garden: Dunstable's favorite greengrocers

I wanted to do a  little post about a shop I have come to love. The shop is located on the Dunstable High Street North. It is situated  next to Iceland which is opposite the Post Office. It’s hard to miss really. Rosie’s Market Garden has been there for several months but I only just noticed them fairly recently. 

Rosie is Dan and Jane’s daughter. Dan is the friendly face who makes you feel very welcome each time you pop in to pick a fruit or vegetable really quick. Before Rosie’s, another shop I loved was Simi and Lola’s but they moved out of Dunstable and are now in Bedford.


Why do I like Rosie’s? It is a sweet shop, neatly arranged with fruits and vegetables. It has an open feel to it as well that makes you literally linger. I like beautiful things and shops especially so that is a plus for me.Produce are fresh as they are sourced daily from London’s Spitalfields market. 

I need to add that as far as I know, Rosie’s Market Garden is the only place in Dunstable where you can get your sugar cane, fufu, plantain and fresh spinach vegetables.  This is handy for Africans like myself who maintain a cross between Western and African diets. Before Rosie’s, it would have been a trip to Luton or Bletchley to buy those African essentials.

With many high street shops closed or closing, and Asda only yards away, I feel obliged to do my bit to make sure my best shop on the high street stays open forever. If you are in the Dunstable area and you can, pop into Rosie’s Market Garden and see for yourself why Rosie’s Market Garden is simply our best shop on the high street.

Like  Rosie’s Market Garden here on Facebook.
Some of the pictures here are from of the Facebook page.

African Comedy Show embraces the African theme.

 The common adjective many used to describe the June event of the African Comedy show was ‘very funny’. Undeniably, many people laughed till they could literally laugh no more. The show was that good. What was funny? The comedians were. They were top class, their jokes were every day, ordinary jokes with twists and turns that brought the giggles from everybody- even those who at first who kept a blank face cracked up eventually.  When the MC is Okey Bakassi, laughter is the order of the day, misery stands no chance. The event was put on by business man David Balogun, a man who rigidly ensures that the jokes are clean. I dare say, that the monthly event is a must attend for socialites around the  London and out side London areas. If you are a wannabe, come too. The more the merrier. It is the perfect place to let your hair down and be ’21’ again, or if you prefer to be ’18’ all over again, you can. Just saying. Laughter makes you young at heart again, you know?

It was not all about jokes though, it was more like a variety show with comedy taking about three quarters of the event. The sidelines were juicy as well.  There was a raffle draw which resulted in a man winning return tickets from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. Imagine that!  There were traditional and modern dance troupes and different flavors of singing and rap. It didnt seem out of place to get up and dance…..well, you can if you want to. Hot meals and drinks were sold on site which means you can come from work and have your dinner at the Hippodrum in Goldersgreen (venue of event).  On the whole, it is fair to say that the organizers of the show left no stones unturned with the star cast of entertainers and their organisation. At the end of the evening and even for a whole week more, I would remember some of the jokes and smile.
What is even more important is that the comedians were from a variety of African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia only to name a few. It is not Nigerian comedy, it is African comedy. The show is also educational as the entertainers whilst talking about their countries, inform, educate and entertain at the same time. A definite plus for pan Africanism.  This is why the African Comedy Show is different. It embraces the African theme as a simple show off of everything that is beautiful, funny and perfect about Africa and her people in the diaspora. If you like, you can call it our own version of ‘Live at the Appolo’.
The African Comedy Show starts promptly at 730pm every second Friday of the month and carries on with an interval till 2230pm. It is an event to which you can invite your friends, lovers, colleagues at work and indeed, the entire family. They will love it. If you cannot decide where to take her too, try this one. There is an event later today at 1930pm. It is a case of be there or be square……just joking. But please do come, if you are in the North London area or around the M1 or M25. The best bit is parking is free at that time.
The next show is  today which is the 11th of July, 2014 at the London Hippodrum in Goldersgreen.  Nigerian comedian Gordon, South Africa’s Barry Hilton, Zambia’s Kasenge and many more will be there. The question is are you? For tickets call: 07404115228. Pictures below are some from June event. Watch this space for ‘gist’ about tonight’s show.
 



Nellie Tandon's Review of Tundun Adeyemo's book 'The Immigrant'

Outspoken the bookI held my breath as I read Nellie Tandoh’s review of my book.  It is one thing thing to write, it is another to be reviewed by someone who does not know you or your business. I suppose, this is what gives writers like me a little more authenticity: the almighty Review.

I feel humbled actually that anyone would take their time to read anything I write, let alone,  write a review about it. Life’s miracles. I am simply grateful.  If you haven’t read it, here it is published today on the The British Blacklist.

You may or may not have heard of her but Tundun Adeyemo is an avid writer and author of blog ‘Outspoken’, who has recently debuted her latest book ‘The Immigrant – A Collection of Poems and Reflections”, released in May 2014. The title explains it all as Adeyemo, through the main narrative of a young Nigerian girl, reveals page by page the journey and struggles she encounters when leaving her home of Ibadan, Nigeria to build a new life in England.
What I appreciated about this book was how authentic it is. Adeyemo clearly taps into her own experience of this journey, through heartfelt, witty poems, giving her readers a clear depiction of how she felt and her emotions of leaving family, friends and the realisation that not all is what she had imagined it to be when she arrives in London.
The Immigrant is a sincere reflection of those that experience the migration process. Though I may not have been able to relate directly to it as a reader, there may be plenty of people out there who can and will. Those still finding it difficult to integrate within the communities they have been placed in, being away from home, having to deal with issues such as racial prejudice, will be able to find solace in Adeyemo’s words as she explores these issues, events that occur and expectations she had.
The poems that really resonated with me were Home and Perfect. In Home, Adeyemo is able to plainly depict the feeling of transition into the unknown, where the belief that England is the land of opportunities, is somewhat of a half-truth for some and the “streets of London” are “not paved with gold after all”. However Perfect, which is found later on in the book, is a complete contrast from the start of the collection. Perfect is the silver lining when our Nigerian migrant describes the birth of her child, presenting the realisation that all she has experienced to get to England will give her child better opportunities and chances to dream.
“The Immigrant – A Collection of Poems and Reflections” is definitely one of the first of it’s kind that journals life as an immigrant in the UK, and to read it through the eyes of someone that has been through it makes it all that more genuine, giving readers a possibly better understanding of why immigrants decide to move to a foreign country, how they adapt, fit in and finally accept this new country as home.
Tundun Adeyemo’s debut collection of poems “The Immigrant” is now available as an eBook from  Amazon Kindle Store for £2.40

Tundun Adeyemo on The British Black List

Tundun Adeyemo

Tundun Adeyemo
Tundun Adeyemo is a writer and blogger hailing from Nigeria, who  recently debut her first book of poems chronicling her life from Nigeria to Britain. A beautiful book about the experiences of a young girl becoming a woman far away from the comforts of home. I caught up with the writer to discuss her work, her take on British culture and what she has learnt from living in England.
Can you tell us a little about your life? Where you are from? Where you grew up etc…
I was born in Lagos with the rest of my siblings, but I grew up in Ibadan where I have very happy memories of a childhood with my family and friends. I remember different parts of the city with affection and some concern. Affection in the sense that I remember buying Booli and Groundnuts in Bodija and also frequenting the Mr Biggs in the same area. I went to Ibadan a couple of years ago and whilst driving during the school day, I saw some kids washing in a stream, yards from Premier Hotel. They should have been in school. I also noticed a lot of kids when we went shopping in Oja –Oba without shoes too. This is a concern.
What made you emigrate to England?
I wanted to achieve a Master’s Degree in Law. I completed this in 2003.
Was England all you expected?
It was my first experience away from home. I am not sure that I had expectations as such. England is not heaven. Like any place, it has its good, bad and ugly sides.
How do you think your poems can help other immigrants who may have gone through the same experiences as you?
I do not think that my poems can specifically help anybody in that sense to be honest. My poems can offer respite and confirm to others that what they are feeling is loneliness. Recently, a friend spent some of her university break with me. When I dropped her off, she started to cry. I knew those tears you see, I had been there before. I have written about loneliness in England. It is what a lot of people experience, but they find it hard to talk about or deal with. It is what makes a girl live in her boyfriend’s house regardless of how bad he treats her; it causes unsupported students to get depressed and develop unsocial habits. Loneliness for immigrants is an issue we need to tackle. I feel for students who don’t have family in this country; students stuck in a room the size of an average kitchen store. Back home, you never feel this lonely or alone, as we have our communities of families, and friends and so on. Having said that, there is support here through church/mosque networks, but I hear it is not quite the same like home.
Do you have another book in the pipelines?
I write a weekly column for TELL Magazine. There is a collection of my articles in the pipeline nearly ready for publication.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t know that I got my inspiration from one source in particular. I have always loved reading and writing. In an ideal world, that’s what I will do full time: read and write. I started to keep a journal of my thoughts when I was eight years old, I think. I love writing. I started blogging years ago. If you enjoy writing in any format, you are a writer, or are you not?
Which of your poems is your favourite?
The poems dedicated to my little girl mean a lot to me. They remind me of my mother’s dedication to me. I hope I am what my mum was to me to my little girl and more.
Was it hard for you to integrate into British culture upon your arrival?
The British culture when I arrived was unclear. I lived with Nigerians at different times and when you remain within your Nigerian circles, you really are not integrating. Integration outside your circle is another ball game. Most Nigerians will tell you that there is so much you can reveal to those who are not Nigerians as they may not understand you. Having said that, I have friends from other cultures and countries who have become family to me. The British culture is the sub total of the diversity of cultures present in our country today. It could be Nigerian, Zimbabwean, Kenyan and so on. What I have learned fundamentally is about  our shared culture of tolerance and respect.
Apart from writing what are your interests?
 I love reading as well and these days, I have taken a like to travelling around Europe and the United Kingdom.
Where can we find out more about you?
My blog is the best place online: www.outspokentundunadeyemo@blogspot.com.
Who is your favourite author?
I have so many favourite authors, when I was growing up though I loved John Grisham, Jeffery Archer and Sidney Sheldon.
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry means different things to different people. A poem could be written about a smile, the reasons behind a tear, the early sunrise or a de ja vu moment. I use a lot of poetic license to express my feelings and my thoughts. I find poetry a way to release emotions. There are times when your partner does not understand you and you feel misunderstoood or unable to express what is going through your mind. Poetry helps me walk through some of my most difficult emotions and experiences. Sometimes, it is easier to write poem than to talk to someone. Sometimes, I say it best with a poem.
Where can we find your book?
My book is on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smash words and on most major online retailers.
To see the original article Black British Interview.
p.s: A big thank you to Tolu Popoola, Publisher, Accomplish Press and to our friends at Black British for making this happen.