By Jide Taiwo
Toni Kan is a writer, journalist, publisher and public relations expert. He shared his thoughts about the 33 Export Lager initiative, Pendown for Friendship.
How did you feel when you got to know that you have been chosen as one of the jurists I the year 33 Export Pendown for Friendship competition?
I felt great about it as I’m always for anything that supports writing. Book reviews, publishing- whatever it is as long as it positively affects the art, I would make sure I’m a part of it. More importantly, writing is a passion so when the invitation to be a member of the jury arrived, I accepted instantly.
Can you still remember the first book you published?
‘Forever In a Day’ was my first book, then I did Diana, I did Bill Clinton… I have done quite a lot, but the important thing here: is all the money I have made in life, I made it through writing. I write essays, I write reviews; I have written for many companies’ managing directors. So that’s another avenue money comes from not through only books. But the books give you a pedigree to make money from other areas.
So why did you choose writing as a profession?
I can say writing chose me because I wanted to be a doctor when I was young. That was my plan for many years but JAMB didn’t give me admission to study medicine, instead, I was given Chemistry which I was not comfortable with. Then the school asked me what I could apart from Chemistry, I said English. The Head of the English department did not believe I could successfully make that switch from Chemistry to the arts and warned me sternly that failure of even one test would result in my expulsion. Incidentally, my father studied English as well and as a child, I read widely. It turned out that I was far ahead of the class and in my second year, I won an award and was sent to Scotland to meet with real writers.
So why is it important to express one’s view in writing?
You know everything we do whether you build a house, road or anything whatever, the only thing you do that remains is a book. Look at bible: if it wasn’t written, it wouldn’t have lasted until today. A writer will live forever. Take Shakespeare for example: he’s been dead for several cenutries but his books are still being read today. Even in Malaysia where his books are banned, there was a riot where people protested against it.
Please can you tell us what led to the International Friendship Day? It worth to be celebrated?
Nothing in this world beats friendship, even Bible said it that friendship is important. I think it was a guy in Brazil that wrote to United Nations that there is need to pick a day to be celebrate friendships each year.
For me, there’s no need to make a case for it because without frienship, this world would be the lonliest place ever.Friendship is not something you can decree; it makes its own way. If your car breaks down on the road and only one motorist out of fifty stops to help you, that person has become a friend. So a friendship is something that speaks to your mind the way that words cannot.
So what are you looking out for in the contestants?
I want to see how some people became friends and what friendship has done to them. I also want to see them celebrating that friendship while drinking 33 Export.
I’m not asking that the writer be given 40 or 50 million naira, but the idea of honouring them is a big deal.
So how do we write creatively?
You have to put your mind together for your creative juices to flow. Writing about friendship to win 500 million naira is different from ordinary writing; you need to do extra work to win that money.
That is why we have to look for the best write up. I know at the end we shall have so many good write up to pick from.
What can you say to Nigeria Breweries for coming up with this writing competition?
Nigeria Breweries is one of the companies that promote writing and reward journalists. They have Golden pen awards that have been there for long, I am really impressed that they have extended to 33 export.
The post ‘The Only Thing That Remains Forever Is Writing’- Tony Kan appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.