It can be unfair to quote a line from a writer's work out of context. But the words 'Truths are unpopular. Lies are famous' capture the weird maelstrom of social media posturing, fake news, politicians who'll promise whatever it takes to get elected, and over-friendly corporate messaging we're bombarded by today.
The lines come from Akeem Balogun's 'Nothing too Serious,' published at Written Gallery, and written in a different context. But imaginative fiction can show us future possibilities as well as risks. Akeem's debut short story collection, The Storm, won the Somerset Maugham Award and "shows us the often questionable ways that people deal with extreme crisis and how ordinary human relationships can become distorted in severe conditions."
I met Akeem three years ago at the Hallam Enterprise Awards where his reading of a piece from The Storm met with a standing ovation, and the small press he co-founded, Okapi Books, secured a £1000 award for 'best pitch' voted by the audience.
So I was delighted to interview him and hear about an exciting event he's curated as part of Sheffield's Off The Shelf Festival – Words, Vision and Sound – on 22 October at Event Central, Fargate, Sheffield.
"Delight" and the joy of immersion in words, music and visuals will underpin the event, Akeem explains in this interview, which also covers the near-future imaginative writing he specialises in, two new, recently published stories about social care and some of Akeem's thoughts on Sheffield as a writing hub.
Enjoy the interview and get yourself tickets for Words, Vision and Sound.
Find Akeem at https://www.writtengallery.com/stories/ and get tickets for Words, Vision and Sound here https://offtheshelf.org.uk/event/words-vision-sound/ This show was broadcast on 14 October 2022 on Sheffield Live FM radio https://web.sheffieldlive.org