Writer’s Interview: Meet Tolu, the Essayist with many interests.

It almost feels like we have a celebrity on this week’s writer’s interview. Before we get to the matter of your newfound fame, tell us more about you.
I’m Toluwani Badejo, a part 4 medical student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. I’m a sucker for soul music and fantasy novels, and I’m a Christian.

What has your writing journey been like?

Writing, for me, was one of those things that I initially just found I was good at. I guess you could say my writing journey began in university when I decided to join MediVoice and discover where my natural gifts could take me. It’s a journey I’m still getting acquainted with, and so far, the ride has been eye-opening and soul-rending at times. But it excites me, so I’m all for it.

What does writing mean to you?

Writing to me is so many things. It’s everything from the best experience to the most annoying inconvenience. Sometimes I find that I want to write all I feel down in a poem, but then it suddenly becomes a job I detest, even if it’s not a commercial venture for me. Its unpredictability is one of the reasons I love it so much.

What do you like to write?

Mostly poems, research pieces, and history write-ups. I’m hoping this year is when I really ramp up my storytelling skills. It’d be nice to be a weaver of worlds.

I‘ll bet readers of the writer’s interview column will be excited to read your stories. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I like to think of myself as a thief of inspiration. Most times, I hear things down the grapevine, then twist them to suit a theme separate from what the original tone meant. I’m also a history fiend, so I craft pieces based on those as well.

What are your other interests apart from writing?

For other interests, I like to sing, bake, and hold long conversations with people. I also listen to podcasts now, which is one of my new addictions.

What’s your favorite book?

I don’t have a favorite book at the moment. I read too many to peg it down to one.

Hehe. So relatable. What’s your favorite writing piece among the ones you’ve written?

I guess “An Ode to Lost Kin” would be my best because of what it meant. It’s not my best, but the sentiment behind it is everything to me.

How do you combine writing with medical school?

Balancing it all is relatively easy for me. I tend to write in bits so it doesn’t consume all my time. I then combine my ideas and edit them according to taste.

Back to the matter about your newfound fame. You got shortlisted for an essay competition recently. Can you tell us about it?

The JAME Asido essay competition is organized by the Asido foundation, a non-profit mental health organization, in memory of one of their patrons, Mrs. Jemila Abubakar. Its topic was Mental Health and the Barriers and Solutions to its Inclusion in Nigerian Healthcare. It was one of those pieces where I addressed the writing in a single sitting because of how inspired I was at the time. I wrote the piece in November 2022 and sent it to their organization email with the other participants. The Editor-in-chief of MediVoice, Miss Eshemokai Okhesomi, actually brought the essay competition to my attention. I didn’t know what to expect of the results at the end of the day. I’m glad I participated in it and was shortlisted for their honor roll. I hope to have more involvement in essay competitions from now on.

Thank you for being our guest on this week’s writer’s interview. Any parting words for writers and aspiring writers?

Click these links to read Badejo Toluwani’s Ode to lost kin and his last historical write-up, the history of the great Roman fire.

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