Book Review: The Girl with the Louding Voice with Abi Daré.
I heartily recommend The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré; easy to read and written in local language, it is a page turner that provides insight into life for many young girls in rural Nigeria destined to become maids in the more affluent households of Lagos, yet aspire to be educated.
I listened to Abi as part of Lambeth Library’s BHM events. Abi’s words of wisdom included how writers are not made but can be honed; storytellers, however, are born. In her talk, Abi recognised the value of creative writing courses but suggested that YouTube (free!) and Masterclass deserved equal attention – meaning you don’t have to pay out vast sum of money to become a writer, although her novel, The Girl with the Louding Voice, came about as part of her Masters’ Degree course at Birkbeck College.
Abi shared that she tries not to let criticism of her writing throw her off balance - she is not here to please other people but to tell a story that resonates with her, and she hopes that the story of Adunni (her protagonist) will lead to social change for girls living in Nigeria. Abi herself was born in Nigeria but now lives in London; she has 2 daughters and the idea for her story came when she asked one of them to unload the dishwasher and her daughter questioned why she had to do it.
Abi wanted to show the complexity and diversity of Nigeria (and of Africa as a continent) by peppering facts about Nigeria as her character, Adunni, learns more about her own homeland; for example, Nigeria has the largest Christian population in Africa, and a single church service can record a congregation of over 200,000 people.
She had plenty of advice for budding writers who want to be published – namely, to keep writing! Read different genres of books and don’t give up. Write what you know about and what interests you; and do not ignore the power of research when you need to do so. Wise words indeed.
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare, Sceptre £8.99