#BMInterviews For Creetiq Africa – Oluwadeaduramilade Tawak

Oluwadeaduramilade is a psycholgist in training, UX (user experience) researcher and critic. She has been published in Arts & Africa, The Naked Convos, Athena Talks and Brittle Paper. She emerged second runner-up at the inaugural edition of the Creetiq Challenge. We caught up with her, and she was willing to share her thoughts on her love for the arts, and a few opinions on the creative process. Enjoy.

BM: Congratulations on emerging finalist at the inaugural edition of the Creetiq Critic Challenge held earlier this year.

Thank you.

BM: You have built Book Barter from the ground up, being involved with Grill and Read at its inaugural Speed Dating with Books event, and only just became a Psychology graduate from the University of Lagos. Who is Olori Tawak?

My name is Oluwadeaduramilade (best conversation starter ever). I work as a user experience researcher. I started BookBarterCo because of my love of books. I love food although I hate cooking. I am curious about a lot of things which is why I read almost everything, my favourite genres being humour, horror, and chick lit. I really enjoy reading nonfiction.

I like to write and I’m starting to become more comfortable with calling myself a writer. I’m not very good with stories – nonfiction is my cup of tea, and I write the occasional okay poem.

One of the reasons I chose to study Psychology was because humans are fascinating and I wanted to understand why people behave the way they do. Somewhere in my life, I fell in love with research. I’ve found a way to bridge a number of my favourite things (psychology, research, meeting people, and tech) as a user experience researcher.

Adjectives I would use to describe myself include: Christian, feminist, beautiful, smart, ambitious, resourceful, inquisitive. I’m passionate about women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, education and mental health, and I like to talk about internships and employability with other young people. I am also a volunteer with a couple of NGOs including Stand To End Rape Initiative.

BM: What do you look out for when reading a review? Why?

I’m not sure if this what I look out for when I’m reading a book to review it or what I look out for when reading a review. If it’s the former, I don’t think I look out for any specific thing. I like to make notes when I’m reading a book to review, usually on the page where I find something interesting. It could be a sentence, or something about how it reminds me of some other book or author,  or a question it raises for me.

For the latter, I want to know what the book/movie is about and what the reviewer thinks about the book/movie. Why the reviewer thinks I should or should not read/watch this book/movie. Are there any issues in the book that can be related to what’s currently going on in the world? That sort of thing.

BM: What do you think about ‘clique’ writers? Do you think this affect the objectivity of reviews for their books?

I think it’s great for writers to have writer friends so you can discuss your work with people who can relate. I don’t think that people should write reviews of their friends’ works, especially if it’s not a glowing review. It’s difficult to write honestly if you’re scared of hurting someone’s feelings. I also don’t think that reviews are objective because you’re talking about what you like. But if you’re reviewing a friend’s work, there might be a tendency to be want to be more lenient to avoid personal drama. Is a bad review worth losing a friend over? It might be difficult to avoid reviewing something written by your friend especially in our small literary space, but I think it’s something reviewers should try to avoid doing.

BM: In retrospect, going by your review of And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile, if you could only save one character from the book in the event of a disaster, which one would it be and why?

Ajie, easily.

BM: How was your Creetiq experience? Would you have done anything differently?

It was nerve wracking and exhilarating. First, waiting for the announcement of the top 10 selected by the judges – seeing my name in the email of the shortlisted entries – then the voting process. Trying to get everyone I knew to vote, constantly sharing links, reading comments, seeing a few dislikes, worrying that people weren’t scoring my review high enough, watching my name go from the bottom to the top – fourth, first, second, and finally third. Trying to maintain that spot or go up. It was quite stressful. But I’m happy I went through with it. I waited till the last minute to send in my reviews because I kept debating with myself as to whether my entries would be good enough. I was encouraged by one of my friends who said something along the lines of “don’t disqualify yourself. Let them disqualify you.” It took me 5 days to read the 2 books I chose (I chose them because I already had print copies) and review them.

BM: Thank you for granting us this interview on such short notice.

Thank you for interviewing me.

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