We’re delighted to announce an exciting new joiner at Curtis Brown Creative: Emmanuel Omodeinde, joins us as Team Assistant this week having recently completed a four-month internship at 4th Estate and William Collins.
Read on to find out more about Emmanuel, his love of books and what he’s looking forward to most about joining the CBC team.
You’re joining us after recently completing a four-month internship at 4th Estate and William Collins. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your passion for books?
I know it’s a bit of a cliché but I’ve loved books ever since I was a kid. I think my passion for books started around the time I moved to the UK from Nigeria when I was 9. I was finding it difficult to fit in so I poured myself into books and my imagination. And video-games. Books and video-games made me feel less lonely. My passion developed into an obsession when I studied English Literature at university and during my postgrad. Although I loved the mostly YA and fantasy books I read as a child and as a teenager, it was discovering writing from around the world especially those which featured Black protagonists or characters from my cultural background and cultures I was more familiar with that really ignited my love for books and reading.
Do you remember the first book that made you fall in love with reading?
Another cliché for someone of my generation but I would have to say the Harry Potter series. I think I first started reading them when I was 9 or 10 and it just blew my world open. It helped that I grew up with them, from being a child to being in my mid-teens. But as an adult, the book that made me fall in love with reading again after a slump during my A-levels was Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen which I read during my first year of university. The novel explores the fracturing relationship between four brothers growing up in Akure, Southwest Nigeria after hearing a terrible prophesy from a ‘madman.’ Set in the 1990s amidst the political backdrop of the military dictatorship of Nigeria’s then head of state, Sani Abacha. It was the first fiction book I remember reading set in Nigeria and I related to its depiction of brotherhood as the eldest of four boys. I loved it!
What are your reading tastes and who are some of your favourite authors?
My reading tastes are quite broad. I still mostly read fiction but I make sure to listen to non-fiction audiobooks or podcasts when I can. I’m a huge fan of African-American literary fiction, both classic and contemporary. It’s quite a broad grouping but my favourite authors are Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia E. Butler and Tayari Jones. I also love ‘post-colonial’ (another broad term) African literature especially the works of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀.
I occasionally like to delve into science-fiction and dystopian fiction especially in short story collections.
My recent favourites have been Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black and Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky.
What excites you most about joining the CBC team?
I am really excited to be part of supporting a writing community and helping aspiring authors develop their work and make the whole process of writing simpler. Writing is notoriously difficult and the publishing industry feels quite inaccessible to most, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. Honestly, I would say Black authors bear the brunt of this inaccessibility as they are often pigeonholed or misunderstood. I want to help to support all talented writers and help them grow and support the team at CBC in ensuring the smooth running of our courses. I also want to bring a valuable insight which I think is underrepresented in the wider publishing industry.
If you’re part of our writing community you’ll be hearing a lot more from Emmanuel as he will be the first port of call for student queries. We hope you’ll join us in giving him a warm welcome to the team!