This week’s IP Lawyers Speakers Series guest is Barrister Seun Lari-Williams, a legal practitioner and poet. Seun is popularly known in the creative arts for his collection of poems titled Garri for Breakfast.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your educational background and qualifications?
For primary education, I attended Clavont International School, Satellite Town, Lagos, after which I went to Badagry Grammar School, Badagry Lagos. Between 2006 and 2007, I was at the Peter King College of Music, Badagry. In 2008, I gained admission into University of Lagos to study law and was called to the Nigerian bar in 2014.
Q. How and when did you start writing and how do you combine being a poet with your legal practice?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I was introduced to writing by my father. I grew up helping him with proofreading and developing ideas.
Combining being a poet with legal practice hasn’t been too tasking. Luckily, both activities use a similar tool – words. I mostly write poems at night. I enjoy writing poems.
It’s easy to combine what you enjoy doing with working.
Q. Tell us more about your book Garri for Breakfast, what inspired you to write the book?
Garri for Breakfast is my first poetry collection. The book shares the same name with a poem in the book. And the poem, Garri for Breakfast, was inspired by having garri for breakfast. I was born in Nigeria and I’ve always lived here. I believe the world needs to hear more of our own voice and story and also, reflect the times. The entire book was my attempt at giving expression to the current Nigerian situation. We already do these through our music, our movies, and paintings; but I felt poetry was behind in this area, hence the collection – Garri for Breakfast.
Q. Given the success of Garri for Breakfast, have you face any issues with regards to piracy or other copyright infringement issues?
Thankfully, no. Or perhaps I should say: no case of infringement of Garri for Breakfast has come to my attention yet.
Q. Are you working on another book, and if yes, what can your readers expect?
Yes, I am. My wonderful readers should expect a pleasant surprise. I’ve been working hard on my next project and I believe strongly that it’s going to come out great.
Q. What are your favorite Nigerian books or authors?
I’ve enjoyed reading works from Ben Okri, Wole Soyinka, and also from younger authors like Tolu Akinyemi, and Oyindamola Shoola.
Q. Any advice for students or young writers in Nigeria who may be thinking of writing and publishing their works?
I’ll advise them to take Anne Rice’s advice. She said:
“On writing, my advice is the same to all. If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less. — Ignore critics. Critics are a dime a dozen. Anybody can be a critic. Writers are priceless. —- Go where the pleasure is in your writing. Go where the pain is. Write the book you would like to read. Write the book you have been trying to find but have not found. But write. And remember, there are no rules for our profession. Ignore rules. Ignore what I say here if it doesn’t help you. Do it your own way.— Every writer knows fear and discouragement. Just write. — The world is crying for new writing. It is crying for fresh and original voices and new characters and new stories. If you won’t write the classics of tomorrow, well, we will not have any. Good luck.”
Thank you for taking time to talk to us and we wish you all the best.