Nigerian author Dr Tony Marinho made a return visit to ZODML on November 9, 2013 to talk with students at our most recent Senior Secondary Reading Programme. Marinho, who was a guest author at a CATHY session in April 2004, discussed his new book The Laterite Road: A Poetic African Journey with students from Wahab Folawiyo Senior Secondary School and Akande Dahunsi Memorial Senior High. The session began with Dr Marinho discussing the inspiration behind The Laterite Road.Calling the collection of poems celebrating Africa’s history his “life’s goal,” he shared that he looked to epic Greek poems (which he read as a schoolboy at St Gregory’s College) and the oral ‘ewe’ in Yoruba tradition as a lens through which to tell stories about our culture, traditions and events in a modern and contemporary setting. He was motivated by a desire to renew things in African societies, and expressed his concerns about the lack of political will which he believes is responsible for much of the continent’s suffering. He also told the students that the book took almost a decade to complete.
Asked about his writing process, Marinho told the group that he got most of his great ideas during his morning shower, which he rushes to jot down. He later gathers these notes together to create scenarios for his work. A practising obstetrician and gynaecologist based in Ibadan, he acknowledged that the demands of his medical career – from carrying out over 3000 C-sections to operating by torchlight – have meant that writing has remained his hobby, rather than his profession. However, the unique experiences and patients he has met over the years have influenced the stories he writes. For example, The Victim, his first novel, was inspired by a strange incident which took place while he was working in as a young doctor in 1964. A dead white man covered in machete cuts was brought in by a very senior government official, who asked Dr Marinho to certify if the man was really dead. He did so, and then the official then left with the body. He also advised students interested in pursuing a writing career to find a good editor before publishing anything, and encouraged them all to think carefully about their futures, and to remember that working hard to make an honest living is the best legacy one can leave behind. Dr Marinho also runs an NGO called Educare Trust. Launched in 1994, Educare Trust focuses on “quaternary” education: the provision of co-curricular, out-of-class and holiday experiences such posters, opportunities, talks and exhibitions to complement traditional academic studies and focus on self-development, a passion central to ZODML’s mission. He presented each of the students attending the SSRP session with a copy of Her/His Book, a publication for students which is the product of Educare Trust’s years of experience in running educational programmes. Dr Marinho and some of the students then took turns in reading passages from The Laterite Road, with Dr Marinho explaining each one in turn. The students were then taken on a tour of the library, while he studied the six shortlisted pieces from the writing competition which traditionally ends ZODML’s reading programme sessions. Afterward, the winners were presented with prizes in recognition of their hard work. Dr Marinho also generously donated multiple copies of his books Hope’s Wristwatch, Tell It to Mr President, The Laterite Road and Her/His Book to the ZODML Community Library. [slideshow_deploy id='2550'] Past SSRP sessions have played host to Kaine Agary, Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo, and Ifeoma Okoye. Help us connect our young people with books and authors - donate to ZODML today.