Monday, June 5, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Podcast with Dele Olojede: Pulitzer, Pinot Noir and Everything In Between: Aguntasolo Unaccented: A Conversation with Dele Olojede

Podcast with Dele Olojede: Pulitzer, Pinot Noir and Everything In Between:

After one year of thinking about it, I've finally done my first podcast.

Podcast Intro

I met Dele Olojede online in 2015 or so. We finally got to meet in 2016 in London. If you listen to the podcast aand find yourself wishing I should have asked harder questions, you must forgive me — I really (really)like the man. He's a proper charmer and we've gotten along quite well since then.

Earlier this year, he asked me to join him on a project and we ended up working together on a somewhat intense project and speaking and chatting very regularly. One day a friend of mine mentioned on twitter that he'd like to interview Dele Olojede to talk about media and Next Newspapers. And then the light bulbs went off in my head — Dele is only a whatsapp chat away so if anyone was going to do it, it had better be me.

I thought we would spend an hour talking mostly about Next and what went wrong. But we ended up talking for almost 2 hours. We covered his Pulitzer Prize, seeing the dismembered body of his friend Dele Giwa after he had been killed, moving to America, heading back to Nigeria to start Next and all the various mistakes he and the organisation made.

The story of why Next Newspapers died is very important and needs telling. I am sure there will be a case study on it soon but we went into some detail in our conversation. How Nigeria simply crushed them and what he actually set out to achieve.

We then talked about Nigeria and finished it off talking about wine (you don't want to miss this part especially if you are an aspiring Philistine like me) and books.

Here it is. I must warn you — it ends up at 1 hour 45 minutes. Probably 45 minutes of that is me saying 'you know' — sorry I cant help that yet.

Will update with an iTunes link once it's been approved.


This was done over Skype (me in London, he in South Africa). The sound quality is pretty good but there is a small section early on where it disappears. You might also hear some birds in the background and maybe a truck. But the clarity is good.

I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed doing it. Maybe I'll do more of this stuff if you guys like it. Or maybe not. We'll see.

Further Reading

We talked about some books and reading material for wine. I'm including a list here for easy reference.

Dele's Books

1. The Sellout, by Paul Beatty. Only just getting around to this devilishly funny book, a deft dissection of America's original sin.

2. Border of A Dream: Selected Poems by Antonio Machado, the Spanish master, on love and other insanities.

3. The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov, as darkly illuminating as any of the great Russians.

4. After The Prophet, by Leslie Hazelton, on how modern Islam is the product of a bitter power struggle to succeed the founding prophet.

5. The World Is What It Is, a biography of VS Naipaul by Patrick French, warts and all life story of a genius and a vile human being.

On the deck (and this keeps changing:)

1. A Map of Betrayal, the Ha Jin, the Chinese exile whose spare phrasing reminds me of Julian Barnes, especially in 'The Sense of An Ending.'

2. The Golden Girl, by Donna Leon, another in his immensely enjoyable detective series. People tell me I will enjoy Ferrante more, so I will give her a try soon.

3. Silent House, by Orhan Pamuk. What to say about the Turk? You try to read everything he's written, from 'N name Is Red's to 'The Museum of Innocence'

4. Known and Strange Things, by Teju Cole, his first collection of essays and criticism. Teju to my sensibility is the finest of this generation of African writers of literary fiction. But his essays are if anything even more powerful. I am drawn to them because he nudges me away from creeping conservatism in my old age. A treasure.

5. Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine (1988–1962) by Yang Jisheng. You thought Mao was great, huh?


The New York Times wine critic we discussed is Eric Asimov.

If I've left anything out, do let me know and I will add it to the references. Thank you for listening.


Funmi Tofowomo Okelola

-In the absence of greatness, mediocrity thrives.

On Twitter: @Bookwormlit
Instagram: Aramada_Obirin

Culture, Art History, Film/Cinema, Photography, World Literature, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Child Welfare, Lifestyle & Community. 

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