Mobola Rahman has entered the ranks of the new literary artists of Canada with her first book Finding Home. Released by the Nigerian-born Calgary resident, Finding Home helps mend the severs of African stereotypes by covering Eddy, a young Nigerian girl that defies her circumstances. Rahman provides an archetype to combat the African stereotype by providing a well-rounded character who takes readers through a journey of self-discovery. Ultimately, Rahman’s voice is so important to our society. The voices we listen to are the ones that shape our communities and our world. Historically, BIPOC voices are especially important since people of colour haven’t always been allowed to tell their stories. The views and stereotypes that have affected BIPOC that date back hundreds of years, still have ramifications to this day. Rahman, who also founded the Lagos Christmas Drive, will be donating 100 per cent of the proceed from the book toward’s this year’s Lagos Christmas Drive. 10 at 10 sat down with Rahman to talk more about her new book.
I simply love stories, I always have. I wanted to be as cool as the authors of the books that I enjoyed reading as a child (yes, writers are the coolest people in the room).
What inspired you to write Finding Home?
I was inspired by the culture in Nigeria where families have maids; a “houseboy” or “housegirl” who is often similar in age to the children of the household. I wanted to write a story that reflected and questioned, why this child labour is normalized in our culture.
What did you learn while writing Finding Home?
In doing the research for the book, I learned a lot about different Nigerian cultures and experiences. I also learned a lot about myself, as a woman and as a writer. I realized that with storytelling and with this book, I had a space to use my voice.
What surprised you the most when writing Finding Home?
I say this a lot as a joke but honestly, finishing the book. I started this as a short story and just kept writing and enjoyed the story so much, I didn’t want it to end as a short blog post. Even when I read it now, I pinch myself. I can’t believe I wrote this — it’s a stupendously fun and interesting read.
Was the main character Eddy inspired by a real person?
No, Eddy is her own person. She is strong, dynamic, stubborn, witty and outspoken. She was a lot of fun to write and I hope to one day be able to see her play out in a movie or tv series.
What do you want Finding Home to do as far as impact?
The overarching theme in the book is self-awareness, self-love, growth and forgiveness. My heart’s desire is that as people read this book, they’ll find a bit of themselves mirrored in Eddy; but more they find a sense of self and belonging.
What does literary success look like to you?
Ha ha ha, that’s an amazing question. I wrote this book to be shared. I would love it to be shared with book clubs and reading communities. I would love to visit book clubs and chat about it and meet readers. Above all, success to me is the fact that the book is out there — (Look at me mama, I did it!)
How does it feel to enter the next generation of Canadian authors?
Absolutely amazing and terrifying. It feels like a full-circle moment. I am now one of the cool authors, hopefully, someone is out there reading my book and it inspires them to want to write as well.
As a Black-Canadian artist, do you feel a shift happening when it comes to Black Canada’s art and literature?
I think that artists are growing and allowing their voices to be heard and heard out loud; that’s exciting. I am excited for where we are now and look forward to seeing what the future holds.
What’s your best advice for up-and-coming BIPOC authors?
Please continue to create and write. Read and write things that challenge you and nudge you to grow as a creative person. Writing and creativity is a journey, enjoy every part of the ride. Your voice is important and valid and the world deserves to hear it.
It’s fulfilling to see a shift in Black Canada’s arts and literature. 10 at 10 will continue to document this gradual movement in the years to come. Grab a copy of Finding Home here, and take a read today.