Bio: Oyedokun Ibukun Stephen, with the pseudonym PENAWD, is a Nigerian ‘vocal-ink’ poet, broadcaster, voice-over artist, content creator, and English Education graduate of the University of Ibadan.
His passion for poetry is ineffable, as he travels far and wide–as an artist or audience–to work towards art’s fulfilment in his environs and beyond.
His works on stage and page have bagged several awards and prizes including Shuzia Poetry Challenge (2020 Winner), Winner, PIN Storytelling Contest (2020), Winner, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) February Edition (2019), Runner-up, BPPC March Edition (2019), Winner, PIN Spoken Call Contest (2018), Silver Award Winner, Tony Tokunbo Fernandez Online International Poetry Award (2018), First Runner-up, PIN Naija Languej Contest (2018), Category 3 Winner, Ballspedia Talent Hunt (2017), Winner, SRAF Poetry Slam (2017), to mention but a few.
His writing features in ‘84 Bottles of Wine’ (An anthology to celebrate Professor Wole Soyinka @ 84), Black Pride Magazine, ‘Vortices of Verses’, alongside some online literary magazines, blogs, and websites.
He currently writes from Oyo State, Nigeria, where he lives and thrives.
TNR: Congratulations on your joint second place finish in the “Prisoner of Love” poetry contest. How do you feel about this?
I feel honoured. Thank you so much for the privilege.
TNR: When did you start writing poetry and who were your early writing influences?
I can’t really fathom that. But I think I became serious about poetry in 2015. I’m more of an audio-visual learner than a page learner. So, I was influenced by poetry videos. And a couple of poems on social media and collections.
TNR: What does poetry mean to you?
Normally, I’m a shy type. So, I see poetry as an escape route where I relay my feelings.
TNR: What has been the literary highlight of the year for you?
The fact that poets and literary promoters are back from their shells; following the advent of COVID-19 in 2019-2020.
TNR: What book(s) did you read this year that left you wowed?
I really can’t say. Just like I said that I don’t read books like that. But if I must pinpoint, I guess it will be ‘Why you act the way you do’ A recommended text which I’m yet to finish..
TNR: What’s your view of the Nigerian Literary Scene?
There are several potentials. All we need is a join effort to promote the community and grow to becoming an industry. The responsibility is upon every creative. That way, the literary scene gets the attention it deserves; just like other forms of art.
TNR: Apart from poetry, what other genres do you write?
I write prose and plays.
TNR: What excites you about a poem?
The ability to convey so much messages within a few lines is so overwhelming.
TNR: Any advice for budding writers?
The literary scene is still finding the means to find its feet. So, be part of the process! Don’t allow your flaws and rejections to determine your proficiency. Keep at it! And be the best version of yourself.
TNR: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I see myself being one of the prominent literary promoters in Nigeria. I see myself as a channel of opportunity for as many creatives as possible.