The Future Awards Africa Nomination

  • 4 mins read

It was day 6 of self-isolation at JB2. I was struggling to get out of bed and get my day started. Then I got a call from Otosirieze. Shortly after, Olive Emodi. I couldn’t pick either of the calls because of the cost of the international call tariff. I told myself I’d call them both back later on Whatsapp when I feel up to it.

However, Oto wouldn’t stop calling. So I ended his call and sent him “What’s up?” on Whatsapp. No response. I followed up with a call this time. Next thing I heard from the other end of the call was “Congratulations!” Confused, I responded in my usual demeanour “For what?” “You have just be nominated for The Future Awards Prize for Literature.” Wawu! How can this be? Me? Who knows me? I have never thought too highly of my deeds and mostly believe my work goes unnoticed. Still dazed, I responded with a reluctant Thank you as the import of the news haven’t sinked yet.

After my brief chat with Oto, I went straight to Instagram and Twitter. Alas! the news was there. The post was up and my photo was in the midst of amazing young writers that I have mostly only stumbled on or met in my capacity as a bookseller. The next question on my mind was this “I am not even a published writer. Why was I nominated?” My sharp cousin who I had joyfully shared the news and my doubts with then dropped a link to the official website of the award where a brief profile of all 2020 nominees was posted. Here is what they had to say about me:

“It is almost inconceivable that one of Nigeria’s most enduring startup stories would be a little book store that could. But this is exactly what Tobi Eyinade has done with her startup Roving Heights, arguably the country’s most progressive book store. Tobi Eyinade implemented a vision for the commercialization of literature in a country where various policies and the inherent reading culture make it difficult. She has leveraged the power of the internet, selling books via Instagram and Facebook and building a community around Roving Heights by supporting Book Clubs around the country, stocking books and having what is arguably one of the best customer service journeys in the country.

But Tobi sees that there is more that can be done in the Nigerian literary industry, especially for publishing houses and authors who are clueless on how to market their books to an audience that many have dismissed as disinterested in reading. To that end, she started the first of its kind P.R. agency for books named ‘The Book Lady NG’, which funnels the experience and data she has gathered from running Roving Heights into building marketability plans for authors and publishers. Tobi Eyinade is impressive, no matter how you slice it.“

I did a post on my Instagram, Twitter and later account in the heat of the moment. My IG caption mostly depicted my shock more than excitement. Thankful for the many congratulatory messages, love, kind wishes and mentions that followed suit.

On 28th of November, the winner of the award was announced. I didn’t win. But I had mastered the art of handling moments like that well. I was genuinely happy for Logan February, who is a fantastic Poet, by the way. I was at peace. Maybe because I had known I wasn’t going to win that category.

Official Nominees Flier (Prize for Literature)

I, however, wouldn’t pass on an opportunity to share my “would have been 45 seconds winner’s speech.”

I am certainly grateful for this nomination. It is a big deal in itself. It is however a bigger deal to live every day happy knowing that I am where God wants me to be. And that I was born to do greater things in life, with or without accolades.

Leave a Reply