Bio-medical scientist and writer, Ifeanyi Amadi, spoke about his writing and influences at the unveiling of two books in Lagos
ON Monday, March 22, UAE-based Nigerian bio-medical scientist, Ifeanyi Amadi, joined the illustrious list of medical scientist-writers which includes Anton Chekhov and Khaled Hosseini, when he unveiled two creative works, ‘Tourist in Wahala Land’ and ‘The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni.’
The presentation, which happened at Win Arc Gallery, Ipaja, was a sober affair. It allowed discussing some of the country’s issues that Amadi addresses in the two works published by Authorhouse, UK.
While ‘Tourist in Wahala Land’ is a three-act play, ‘The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni’ is a collection of poems. The play is about an American tourist, Mr Finecountry and his unsavoury experiences in Wahala Land during a visit. He encounters various people, including public officials, a taxi driver, a prostitute, and armed robbers. Finecountry faces different mishap as he comes up against mismanagement and rots in the country’s systems.
The play essentially spotlights the corrupt goings-on in the dysfunctional systems of most third world states. It also points out the roles developed societies play in contributing to third-world nations’ failures while exposing the hypocrisy of religious adherents who sneak into red-light districts for orgies while feigning chastity.
The poems in ‘The Chemical Poems of Ayatollah Khameni’, on the other hand, are a series of political, satirical, sarcastic, surreal, and adoration rhymes and rebukes to events in contemporary society.
Disclosing what led him into creative writing at the presentation, Amadi, a biomedical technology graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, said he had always nursed the ambition of being a fiction writer.
“I believe by writing fiction, I can express my emotion and contribute my quota to society. I was a student activist at the University of Port Harcourt. In my time, we encountered a lot of political challenges in the country and school. I’m always hungry for positive change in society. I always want our society to be progressive, but I did not see any of these things when I was in school. We encountered difficulties. Schools were going on strike; there was a lot of problem in government.
“I tried to start a school movement, but it failed because most of the students were not willing to join anything that had a print of revolution. I decided that starting a movement will not be the best option. That maybe I can do it individually by channelling my energy into writing, so I started compiling the works. As destiny would have it, when I got to the UAE, I got the opportunity to get a UK publisher.”
On the title choice and thematic pre-occupations of the poetry collection, Amadi explained that “the poems express my opinion and anger towards the ills of the society and the government at that time. So, I tried to use the poems to express my worry, anger and also hope that if we can get ourselves together and put in the right attitude, we can bring about positive change that can uplift our society.”
He added that he included the late Ayatollah’s name in the title “based on his personal history and that of Iran. He was a revolutionary and what they did in 1979 was what their people wanted. When I was in school, I wanted that kind of change in Nigeria. I desire that kind of change where people will come together and resist the ills in the government. Turn our energy into a progressive thought, but when that was not coming, I noticed that we were divided into tribal lines, and it was frustrating for me. So, I channelled that energy towards my fight, which came to birth my work. When I was starting, they tagged me with the name. It became my nickname when I was in university.
“I read a lot also despite loving revolution. I’m also a seeker who reads many books; I like ‘The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz’ among others. I combined my love for Iran, Cuba and the French revolution. I brought everything into the name when I chose ‘Chemical Poems’.
The author, who disclosed that he also performs his works, said he enjoys life as a writer and scientist and prefers not to be pigeon-holed.
“I’m a seeker of truth and knowledge, so I never confine myself to just a discipline. I read widely. There have been many scientists before me who are authors and poets like the first president of Angola, Agostinho Neto. Some people have a hunger for knowledge, and when I was in school, I found out that I was good in both fields. At a point, it was difficult for me to choose which course I was going to do, so I didn’t limit myself. I’m a biomedical technologist in the UAE, but I still use my spare time to write,” Amadi added.
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