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‘Hardship a canvass for hope, big dreams’

By Anote Ajeluorou
24 July 2016   |   4:39 am
Rather than cringe and be overwhelmed by despair during hard times, there is need to keep hope alive, dream big dreams and be prepared to seize every available opportunity for self-advancement ...
South Africa’s Dr. Matthews Phosa (Excellence in Leadership and Lifetime Achievement Awards); Mrs. Titi Horsfall (African Literature Award) and Chairman, Platform Petroleum, Chief Dumo Lulu (Humanitarian Award) at the African Achievers Awards 2016 held recently… in Abuja

South Africa’s Dr. Matthews Phosa (Excellence in Leadership and Lifetime Achievement Awards); Mrs. Titi Horsfall (African Literature Award) and Chairman, Platform Petroleum, Chief Dumo Lulu (Humanitarian Award) at the African Achievers Awards 2016 held recently… in Abuja

Rather than cringe and be overwhelmed by despair during hard times, there is need to keep hope alive, dream big dreams and be prepared to seize every available opportunity for self-advancement for a better future. This was the view of the author of historical fiction, Mrs. Titi Horsfall, when she read recently from her new novel, Influence of a King, at a session in Bookville World, Port Harcourt.

The author of Bible-based historical piece, From an Orphan to a Queen; Esther, her first, another novel set during the hard times the Jews faced in a foreign land, said, “Influence of a King gives hope, that one can still have big, big dreams in spite of all that is happening around you because the novel is set in such a time of worldwide distress – the great depression in 1930s America and World War II.”

On her penchant for historical fiction and why the past holds so much fascination for her, Horsfall stated that her upbringing ensured she absorbed a lot of historical materials, especially as gleaned from the encyclopaedia; the internet of her growing up days.

As she put it, “History is where I have my creative strength; that is what attracts me. I grew up when there wasn’t the internet; it was the encyclopaedia that we used. 
The setting of the novel cuts across Africa, U.S. and England. In developing the African setting, I gathered the memory of my village community, and the virgin beauty of my childhood place. Thank God for the grace and wisdom in getting this book done.”

Horsfall also recalled her participation at the London Book Fair (LBF) where she showcased her new book that has Liverpool and London as part of the setting. As she recalled, “London Book Fair is the capital, and biggest market for books. If you want to reach the largest market, that is it.”

Horsfall wasn’t keen on doing the reading rounds and engagements expected of writers, but her publisher persuaded her otherwise.  I’m 100 per cent for literature, having worked with Mrs. Koko Kalango at the UNESCO Port Harcourt World Book Capital project.”

She also has words of advice for aspiring writers who wish to make their characters believable and real. According to her, “Aspiring writers should take time to work out their characters properly. Make the characters so exact, so precise, as this makes them so alive. It’s good to create a profile of characters and setting realistically to enhance the readers’ enjoyment of your work.”

First to read from Influence of a King was Mr. Gideon Etianra. He noted that the novel was the first he had read in a long while, “It held me spellbound all through, and my wife and children kept wondering what the book was about. The book is addictive; do find time to read it.”

Mrs. Awele Anthony, said she’d read the novel twice, adding, “My daughter has also read it. Reading it makes me wonder how our communities were and still are. Both old and young can relate with the lead character, Kanyam, because of her strong character and firm resolve to please God.”

Also, Daniel Akibor praised the book’s packaging just as he said the novel dredges up “culture, history and values; reading it makes you part of her (Kanyam) story.”

Manager of Bookville World bookstore, Mrs. Nkem Asoka, commended Horsfall “for giving us a book that is error-free; errors in a book put me off”.

Also, Mrs. Etokakpan Elsa said she loves Chad, particularly the Jews and Chad’s grandfather, for allowing his daughter marry a black man without fuss.
 Henrietta Okoya found the book fascinating, particularly the author’s fluent delivery of world history.

Following the session at Bookville World in Nigeria, Horsfall signed copies of Influence of a King at the 2016 International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. Also recently, Horsfall received the award for African Literature Prize from African Achievers Awards 2016 held at International Conference Centre, Abuja.