Yemi Sanusi: medical doctor and writer
Writing has always been a part of Yemi Sanusi, a medical doctor and writer. She cultivated the habit early in life when she wrote essays in secondary school and continued in medical school where her short story, “Dawn to Dusk", was among the 10 shortlisted works for the maiden Kuburat O. Okoya Annual Universities Short Story Competition in 1997.
Sanusi’s passion for writing arose from her desire to share knowledge with people. "Writing makes me explore, it makes me think and I’m so in love with imagination. I can do and undo and put it on paper. The whole essence is just to make sure somebody gains something," she explains.
‘Heads and Tales’, her debut novel published earlier this year, is an easy to read medical fiction for children. It centres on malaria. "The aim is to educate the children and also make them aware of what goes on in their bodies when they have malaria and how to prevent such diseases. It also gives a tour of the human body. It tells a bit of the anatomy of the human body." The novel, she adds, is an expanded version of "Dawn to Dusk". It is the foundation for the novel because it has a similar concept but a different ending.
Sanusi, who also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Lagos Business School, hopes to impact the literary community with her writing and intends to write more novels. She is currently working on adapting ‘Heads and Tales’ into a series and discloses that she will explore issues other than medicine in her writings. She says the ‘Heads and Tales’ series will also touch on the oil and gas and finance sectors.
Sanusi’s world revolves around writing. When she is not writing prose, she is either writing plays or poems. "Most of my books are full of conversations because of my knack for plays," she says, admitting that she loves writing plays the most.
Though publishing ‘Heads and Tales’ is the career highpoint of the writer from Oyo State at the moment, it is a stepping stone because she intends to write more novels. Since she enjoys writing, the participant at the 2010 Farafina Creative Writing workshop spends most of her time on it. She is content with just a pen and paper and doesn’t really need a computer to write. She can also write anywhere as long as it is conducive.
Writing and reading
The writer lists exposure, knowledge and passion as being important in her writing career and believes it should be the same for aspiring writers who want to succeed. "A writer should have exposure and explore everything. Even if it is not your field of interest, just have knowledge of it. Have passion for what you do."
Apart from writing, Sanusi says that buying books has become her hobby. "Without other books to read, I really can’t develop an idea," she discloses. Reading is one source of her inspiration and motivates her to keep writing. Cartoons also inspire the writer, who says her novel was inspired by a cartoon.
Unlike others who have no support, members of Sanusi’s family have been supportive. "They have been very supportive. My mother is my greatest fan. She reads everything I write and offers good criticism. Nothing ever goes past her. She is like my first editor." The appeal that writing holds for her also motivates her to keep at it. "The flow of words, the finished product and the ability to communicate are what I love most. I think it’s also the fact that it is so versatile, you could put a concept in different ways and still reach different audiences with the same message."
Sanusi’s challenges as a writer are lack of inspiration and time. "A lot of times, I have no inspiration. I’m just waiting and hoping for inspiration. And because I do so many things, sometimes I don’t have time." Nonetheless, she is not deterred and is prepared to work hard at it.
Sanusi’s plan for the future is "to write more stories so that people will know how to prevent and care for diseases."