Ayo Sogunro is a Nigerian social critic, human rights activist and writer. He is notable as an essayist and satirist with right-wing libertarian tendencies. He is also the author of two books The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales and Everything in Nigeria is going to kill you. Both books are a favourite of Nigerian social media circles.
In 2012, a playlet he had written while in university, Death in the Dawn was published. The play, which was inspired by a Wole Soyinka poem of the same title, satirised Nigerian society and the interactions between members of the society. The play was given an average rating by reviewers, but was also praised for its message. In 2013, Ayo Sogunro’s first full length work, The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Taleswas published. The book was an instant favourite on Nigerian social media circles, generating the hashtag #SorryTales. Following the success of Sorry Tales, Ayo Sogunro in December 2014 released Everything in Nigeria is going to kill you. The book which generated the hashtag #ENGY is a paradoxical account of the lifestyle of the average Nigerian.
Sogunro is known for tackling critical issues in Nigeria through essays, poetry and stories. A right-wing libertarian, he is a frequent commentator on socio-political issues in both Nigerian and international media. A number of his works are directly accessible on his personal blog, AyoSogunro.com and pontificalpapers.com
In this interview, wea sked Ayo Sogunro about his writing history, overcoming writers block and where he plans to go from here.
Hahaha. That’s an impossible task. But I can tell you a bit about what I do: I’m a writer, a lawyer and a social critic/educator. This means a lot of people consider me as some sort of troublemaker.
When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
If you can call random lines “writing— then I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, probably younger. But my first attempt at full length prose was a “novelette” scribbled in a 40-leaf exercise book when I was 15 or so. Thankfully, that cringe-worthy attempt at thriller fiction has been lost to time. I published my first book in 2004 at the age of 19. This was a collection of short stories co-written with my friend, Goke Gbadamosi. Since then, I’ve had three other books published.
What books have influenced you the most?
Different books have influenced me at different stages in life. For example, I read Encyclopaedias and classic English and Yoruba literature during childhood, while my teenage was spent on an odd mix of philosophical/religious treatises and best-selling paperback fiction. I’ve always been an eclectic reader, and almost everything I’ve read has had an influence either directly or otherwise.
Tough question. I have yearly favourites—and a growing hard disk archive of almost 200 of these.