SDG Book Club Interview with Ada Uduku
Madam Delight by Ada Uduku, deals with a major concern of SDG 8 - child trafficking and child labour.
- Why do you write children/young adult books? Tell us about the attraction of this genre.
Children and Young Adults literature is a passion and a result of many years of working as the coordinator of the National Readership Promotion Campaign of my establishment. We have set up young readers’ clubs in schools and we work with publishers, authors, and illustrators of children’s books. My attraction to the genre is a result of many years of interaction with children as a Sunday School teacher in my local church.
- Talk to us about your book in the context of the relevant SDG(s). How does it address SDG concerns?
If the economy of a nation is bad, the gap between the poor and the rich widens. When there is no decent work to do and there is a high rate of unemployment among the youth, they will want to do any work just to survive. That is what Madam Delight tries to address. Let the youth have access to quality education, good jobs, and a good environment for their chosen career. When these needs are met, we will not only reduce crime in our society, but we will also improve our economy and be better represented beyond our continent.
- Tell us about the research process for your books in general, and for Madam Delight in particular?
Generally, my books are written from findings regarding social vices and other topical issues in both print and electronic media. Events in schools and within families are also components of the research towards writing my books. Human and child trafficking which is a rampant as well as a topical issue in this country, was the basis for writing Madam Delight.
- How do you work with your illustrator? Walk us through the process.
When I submitted the Madam Delight manuscript to the publisher for assessment, I only included the illustration briefs. The publishers worked on the illustrations so I must give credit for the good quality of illustrations to my publishers, CSS Bookshops Limited.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages in modelling characters after people you know?
The advantage of modelling stories after people I know is that as it is embedded in reality it makes the story true to life. The disadvantage is that a lot of effort is made to ensure that the source character is not obvious as we need to convince potential readers that the work is actually creative.
- What in your opinion are the most important elements of good writing?
Important elements in good writing are plot, characterization, conflicts, location and themes. These elements complement each other. When one of them is missing, the story will not be convincing. It will be fall flat.
- If you could meet any one your characters, from any one of your books, which would it be? What kind of conversation do you envisage having?
If I could meet any of the characters in any of my books, I would like to meet Ihuoma in Madam Delight. Conversation with her would centre on the positive attitude she exhibits towards the obstacles that confront her in my book of fiction. I would encourage her to exhibit that same character in real life.
- What kind o impact do you want your book to have?
As a result of reading this book, I would like our young ones to inculcate the habit of honesty, hardwork diligence, and friendship like Ihuoma. I would also like to see a change of attitude in my readers. They need to know that not all that glitters is gold. They should not be deceived by the likes of Madam Delight with her deceptive cheerful disposition. I would like parents and guardians to have the mindset that they should not without proper investigation release their children or wards to anybody who promises to take them to the city for greener pastures. In terms of spread, I would like the book to have a wider spread reaching children, young adults, and adults all over the world beyond the shores of Africa.
- Finally, what words of wisdom do you have for today’s children, growing up in our social media and screen dominated world?
I would enjoin them to inculcate a good reading habit to support their education and development. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and one acquires knowledge through reading good books. Social media can never be a substitute for good books.
Ada Uduku Profile:
I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education (BSc Ed) and a Master's Degree in Communication Arts (MCA). As an employee of Federal Ministry of Education, I worked in various capacities in the education sector namely education officer, assistant director, and deputy director. I also functioned as a research officer, Book Development Unit of the Nigerian Educational and Development Council, a parastatal of the Ministry of Education. Before my retirement from the Federal Ministry of Education as a Deputy Director, I was the Coordinator, National Readership Promotion Campaign.
In addition, I hold membership of some professional organizations namely Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN), Nigerian Institute of Management, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
As an author, some of my works include Ijeoma in Kano, Prize Giving Day and others.