Abimbola Dare, has just been announced as the winner of this year’s Bath Novel Award. It is an international award for emerging novelists writing for adults or young adults. Having her story selected as the winning one out of 1,201 entries worldwide is a huge accomplishment! The winning prize for this award is £2,500.
Abimbole (Abi) Dare was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in the UK for the last 18 years. She has a Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton and an MSc in Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. Keen to improve her writing, Abi applied for the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University of London. The Girl with The Louding Voice formed part of her thesis and was also selected as a finalist in The Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition in 2018. Abi lives with her husband and children in Essex and works for a leading academic publisher in London.
Having grown up with young, female housemaids most of all her life, Abi had always wanted to write about issues with feminism and modern-day slavery in her home country; particularly in a voice that was true to the character she wanted to create. The character’s voice finally came to her a week before her first MA supervision appointment. Following encouraging feedback from her supervisor to that first submission, Abi wrote furiously and completed the first draft in six months. She finished revising the first draft just in time for the Bath Novel Award 2018 deadline.
See an excerpt of The Girl With the Louding Voice below:
This morning, Papa call me inside the parlour.
He was sitting inside the sofa with no cushion and looking me. Papa have this way of looking me one kind. As if he wants to be flogging me for no reason, as if I am carrying shit inside my cheeks and when I open mouth to talk, the whole place be smelling of it.
“Sah?” I say, kneeling down and putting my hand in my back. “You call me?”
“Come close,” Papa say.
I know he want to tell me something bad. I can see it inside his eyes; his eyesballs have the dull of a brown stone that been sitting inside hot sun for too long. He have the same eyes when he was telling me, three years ago, that I must stop my educations. That time, I was oldest of all in my class and all the childrens was always calling me “Aunty.”
Jimoh, one foolish boy in the class was laughing me one day as I was walking to sit on my table. “Aunty Adunni,” Jimoh was saying, “Why are you still in primary school when all your mates are in secondary school?” I know Jimoh was wanting me to cry and be feeling bad, but I look the devil-child inside his eyes and he look me back. I look his upside- down triangle shape head, and he look me back. Then I sticked my out my tongue and pull my two ears and say, “Why are you not inside bicycle shop when your head is like bicycle seat?”
The class, that day, it was shaking with all the laughters from the childrens, and I was feeling very clever with myself until Teacher Shola slap her ruler on the table three times and say: “Quiet!”
It was when I was getting more better in my Plus, Minus and English that Papa say I must to stop because he didn’t have moneys for school fees.
I tell you true, the day I stop school, and the day my Mama was dead is worst day of my life.
One of her most popular book is christian-fiction, The Accidental Wife, which is available for download on OkadaBooks.
OkadaBooks says a big congratulations, and wishes her many more success.