It’s 2118 and you’ve arrived in Lagos for a book festival. When you step out of the airport, what is the first thing you see?
I see beautiful tree-lined streets, on which solar-paneled shuttles ply, picking up and dropping off passengers. Under the shade of the trees, market women and men display their wares [on] floating tables as customers come and go. It is as vibrant as Lagos has always been.
You’ve been selected for a mission to the moon. Which African author are you taking and why?
I am taking Bessie Head. I love the way she creates complex yet accessible characters. And because there’s so much of her work I still haven’t read.
What invention do you think would change the lives of Africans today?
A sun-powered machine that converts plastic and metal into useful items, one that everyone will [have] in their homes. A plastic comb is old and tired? Pop it into the machine and convert it into something else the family needs.
Two things you’re doing when not reading or writing?
Playing with my toddler and making ice cream.
To what extent has African literature envisioned an African future?
I think most African writers are searching for answers to a brighter future for the continent. And whether they write about the past, present, or future, the eye is always on the future.
What book do you think best captures Afrofuturism?
Imraan Coovadia’s ‘A Spy in Time.’
You wake up one morning to find that you’ve grown a pair of wings. What do you do?
I’ll spend the first day reading up cases of human flight, rereading Toni Morrison’s ‘Song of Solomon.’ The next day, I’ll wake up before the first cock’s crow, find a tall tree to climb up, then I’ll take to the skies, go as far as I can go.
Name one book that made you think differently about the world.
Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities.’
What is the most difficult part of your creative process?
Turning off the voice that wonders if anyone will be interested in my work.
What is your African dream?
A continent erased of all borders