We were thrilled to host Kingsley Iweka at our most recent CATHY Reading Programme session. The author of Dappled Things read aloud from Chinwe Agbakoba's Mma and Nkita to students from Ireti and Hope Primary Schools, and spoke to ZODML staff member Lordson Daki about publishing his first book, working with young people, and more [questions and answers have been edited for clarity].
Lordson: At the age of 23, you were able to get your book Dappled Things published by a top publisher – how were you able to achieve this? Kingsley: Dappled Things had been written for about three years before it was finally published in September 2013. I had waited long for a traditional publishing deal and when none yielded I decided to try out Partridge Publishing, a new self-publishing outfit set up by Penguin Books in India. We agreed on a package and as they say, the rest is history. It wasn’t easy, but I knew the time was right for it and I gave it my best. Lordson: What do you think is responsible for your success at such an early stage in life? Kingsley: I am pleased that you think me successful already, but I know that I have much work to do before I can confidently regard myself that way. I am indeed grateful for all that I have achieved so far, and I do look on to greater things ahead, and I will quickly say that much of what has brought me thus far has been my passion for what I do and the dedication that I attached to my work. All of that coupled with the amazing people and opportunities that I have been blessed with have brought me to this point. Lordson: You mentioned during the session that you once worked in an NGO - what was your experience like? Kingsley: I worked as Head of Media and Communications for the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), implementing a program called GrassrootSoccer that uses football as a tool to teach kids about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and life skills. It was a great experience for me: I worked with amazing people and together we were able to impact the lives of nearly fifteen thousand children within Lagos State, as well as help over two hundred and fifty youth in Lagos build employability and entrepreneurship skills. Lordson: Why did you choose to work at an NGO? Was there something you were trying to get across to the society? Kingsley: I didn’t quite choose to work in an NGO, but I do think that the third-sector is a very important aspect of our development agenda in Nigeria, and I continue to support as many causes as I am able to undertake. Lordson: Many children want to write good stories but do not know how to go about it. What advice do you have for them? Kingsley: First things first, they have understand that good readers make good writers, and there is no greater advice to give them than to ask them to read as much as possible, and write as much as possible. You can only keep getting better at something if you practice regularly. Lordson: How would you inspire children to achieve what you have achieved?Kingsley: Actually, I would ask them to aim higher. Aim to be the best that they can be, and seek happiness above all things. I urge them to know that nothing is impossible to them who believe; all they require is a powerful will, an incredible resolve, precise focus, and unwavering determination, and they will live out their dreams.
See more pictures from Kingsley's CATHY session below:
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