Michelle M. T. Dajur
Michelle Misel Tabitha Dajur is a wife, a mother, a teacher and an educationist. She finds time to write, writing for children. She laces all of these with her active church activities. In this interview, she talks more on her ideal way of nuturing children’s thought process.
What challenges do you have writing children’s books?
One of the challenges of writing children’s books is that one must really consider their age, level of understanding and exposure in life which includes coming down to their level in order to reach out to them. Another challenge is getting the right illustrators to capture these moments in pictures in order to drive home your points.
When did you start writing for children?
I started writing scripts for children since 2014. At that point, I was teaching children within the age group of nursery and primary schools thus my interest.
Have you read Mabel Segun, one of the earliest children writers?
No I have not read Mabel Segun before. However, with the mention of her name, I will search out her books to see some of her works.
Who happens to be your mentor in writing?
I have read and learned from a handful of writers’ styles like Jerry Jenkins, Tim Lahaye and some of our local writers and publishers. The few amongst them I’ve had contact with are Amaka Oguejiofor and Felicia Oduntan.
Which genre do you prefer – drama, prose, short stories; Why?
Among the genres, I prefer short stories especially for children. This is because I think that’s the best way I can relate to them.
What good feedback have you received from your writings?
I have received a lot of commendations from those who have read my books and said they were areas that they felt needed to be addressed because I cover practical, contemporary, moral and social issues among others.
Which of your books do you consider a bestseller?
I think the most recommendation has come from Hamal’s Bride The book Amelia read
Although among the books, it is not for children. It is an adult allegorical story that would soon have the second part to it, which is the story of Amelia.
Have you ever received a grant for writing?
No. I have never received any grant for writing.
What would you recommend for students to return to novel reading, whether for academics or leisure?
Students, being that they have post primary exposure, they can read Hamal’s Bride they can also learn a lot from Participating in Community Service and Learning Simple Etiquettes. These two are simple hand books that list out areas that can lead to further discussions with children and students.
How do you think Nigeria can remodel itself and curb gross exam malpractices?
It has to start from the educational system as a whole. The educational system is grossly lagging behind in terms of teaching methods which need to be reassessed. Instead of training children to be visionaries and problem-solvers, they are only taught to give out what they have been taught. Even the method of assessment can also be reassessed because the method of examination may not be the best test of knowledge. Education and intelligence are not only theoretical but also practical.
Have you attended any writers conferences like the annual international conference for literature held at the University of Calabar, Cross River State?
I have not attended any International writers’ conference but I belong to small groups that encourage writers, publishers and the like. I am looking forward to participating in more platforms that will widen my scope in this aspect and give the added edge needed to grow in this field.
Could you tell us about two of your books that dwelt on the adult population?
Hamal’s Bride is a book that re-tells the christian story of Christ’s love for mankind allegorically. The characters in the story represent personalities in the love story of Christ and His Church.
Hamal being a young Prince set out from his kingdom in search of a bride whom he finds, but has to pay for her bride price at a very high cost.
As the story plays out it shows the deep and unconditional commitment and love Hamal has for his betrothed bride, in spite of her imperfections. And reveals the great plans he makes for her and the entire people of her Kingdom.