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Self-published writer wins book award

Born in London, Sade moved to Nigeria with her family as a child, returning to the UK to go to university. Her novel, Imagine This, is the journal of Lola Ogunwole, who at the age of nine, is uprooted from her home, separated from her father and brother and taken to a tiny village in Africa.

“I keep getting asked if the story is autobiographical,“ said Sade. “The honest answer is 'not really.' But, like many British-born Nigerians, I emigrated to Nigeria with my family and spent my formative years in a village that had no electricity, running water or the basic necessities that I was used to.“

The winners for the regions were announced last week [March 13] at venues around the world, including Goldsmith's College, South London. “To win the regional prize is beyond words,“ Sade commented. “The path I trod to get here wasn't your conventional one. I'm still screaming with delight.“

Sade, of King Street, Hammersmith, West London, began her book 10 years ago after she had been made redundant from her job as a marketing executive for a Telecoms company.

Later, as a full-time business change consultant she spent five years writing Imagine This. “Like most writers who dream of seeing their book in print, I went down the traditional route of sending my manuscript to publishers and agents.

“Needless to say, the responses I received were not positive. There didn't seem to be room in the marketplace for a story of a young girl growing up in rural Nigeria,“ she adds.

Disappointed, she recalls, she put her manuscript under her bed. “After years of trying to repress my dream of becoming a published author, I finally plucked up the courage to do something.

“I realised that if I didn't believe in myself, no-one else would. So I quit my job and decided to walk down the lonely road of self-publishing.“

Sade warns other aspiring writers that self-publishing is “not for the faint-hearted.“ In fact, writing the book “was the easy part,“ she laughs.

One needs financial backing and a business plan, she explains, just as if one were setting up a company. But, she says, she has no regrets and would self-publish her second novel, too, if she had to.

“It is little by little that a bird builds its nest.“