It really is weird that this month has really proved unequivocally that as a whole, the literary community needs to kill its darlings. We might not be as rabid as music stans, but Nigerian lit does have a thriving stan culture and our admiration of successful writers can and usually blinds us to the fallibility of their perspectives when it comes to gender and sexuality. First it was Chimamanda and Trans women and now Olubunmi Familoni, author of Smithereens of Death (a Nigerianese book title if I ever saw one) and his raging, unbridled misogynoir.
In an article written for Happenings.ng (whose editor needs a stern warning by the way for letting this trash happen) he calls Literary Groupies: of Artsy Chics and Threaded Body Counts, our dear Familoni, with the kind of bile you’d normally find on white supremacist forums in the dark parts of the internet, spends near 2000 words pontificating about women who ‘sleep’ with every writer with a pulse but him. He is furious, apparently that the literary industry has been overtaken by women who arent writers but readers, who in his opinion fill the halls of literary events and glom on to writers, rubbing on these male writers hoping that their ‘writerly skills’ rub off on them.
He is even angrier that after these women supposedly imbibe writing skills from these accomplished writers (except for Teju Cole, according to Familoni, Teju is too busy writing to sleep with anyone) through sexual osmosis, they then have the temerity to open blogs, write poetry and fiction, apply for and win writing prizes and residencies and gain followings of their own, followings that according to Familoni belong to writers on Facebook who are apparently looked down on by everyone else in spite of all the writing they do.
He goes on and on, for several more paragraphs, castigating the women who singlehandedly support writers by buying their books, writing reviews and taking time to physically attend their book readings and events, because apparently, all they are interested in is fucking ‘superstar’ male writers. It is all so very creepy and whiny.
And of course after castigating women for supporting writers by calling them ‘groupies’, he backtracks by victim blaming these same women for being sexually assaulted by writers, suggesting that if they didnt suppport these writer so hard, perhaps, they wouldnt make these writers feel entitled to rape them.
I am generally averse to the idea of cancelling people but Olubunmi Familoni is cancelled. I will never read his work, and I will never support him. He apparently doesnt need the support because when we do, we just might push him into being a rapist. Consider it my charitable deed for humanity.
Nigerian writers are still at their core, Nigerian men. And Nigerian men revel in their misogynoir. Do not let their ability to wield words confuse you. They only love you when you can support their dreams, once you want a seat at the table, they start to write bitter, salty op-eds like this one. Stay woke.
Again, Familoni; cancelled.