Friends, family members and colleagues gathered in Abuja on Saturday to celebrate with Nigerian blogger, Japheth Prosper as he presented his new book, The Wilderness Experience, an encapsulation of his life experiences.
Mr Prosper is widely known for over a hundred fiction and nonfiction short stories which he regularly circulates on social media which has garnered attention over the years. The stories which have been archived, deal with diverse issues that concern human existence and challenges.
The Wilderness Experience will be the first non-fiction novel written by the writer. It tells the milestone events the writer passed through in his life path especially how he was saved from certain death including depression cum suicide.
The author has published other books which include Mysterious Love, The Ultimate Price, Dangerous Game, Kiss of Jezebel and Ngunan, all fiction novels.
The current book is an eloquent tale of grinding lack, tears, depression, failure, romance with suicide, grit, laughter, success, power of the human will, the triumph of the human spirit and hope.
“The life of Jasper, the central character in this autobiography is full of adventures. It reads like a fairytale. Whether from dangling precariously from a bus on a journey he must embark on but has no money to pay for, manhandling a doctor who demands a deposit before he can treat a child in an emergency case, travelling to a new city with only hope, and his ‘one away fare’, and taking his wife confidently to eat in a restaurant with nothing in his pocket except hope in a debtor’s promise to pay him within the hour…the experience of the writer is often, often harrowing, sometimes funny but always gripping. It is difficult to imagine that one so young has gone through so much,” an excerpt from the 273-page book reads.
Colleagues and friends at the Abuja presentation took time to give anecdotes including their personal views about the author, whose humorous, at times, hard-hitting pieces often evoke laughter, nostalgia and passion from readers.
A 13-year-old, Chinedu Obi-Obasi, who first ‘reviewed’ the book at the event, said she read the book within 24 hours as she was spell-bound from the first page. She also x-rayed the main messages embedded in the book.
“The book outlines many problems human face in the journey of life. It also has numerous solutions embedded in it,” she said. “It particularly urges people to be hard-working, honest and exercise faith in God.”
The official reviewer of the book, Abanka J Musa, ex-operations controller for the Dangote Group, said the book is an emblem of the toughness of the human will and the ability of the human spirit to surmount sundry challenges of life.
“The book tells us about his relationship with his father, mother and relatives. It also tells us how he was privileged to meet people who impacted his life journey negatively or positively, people he called angels on the way,” he said. “The book also tells us that irrespective of ethnic, religious or social background, we are all bound to face basically, the same challenges in life, although our approaches (to these issues) may differ.”
Emman Shehu, Director, International Institute of Journalism, (IIJ), speaking on the book, said the pages contain nuggets that can aid anyone who is confronted with challenges which have pushed them to the brinks of despair.
Mr Shehu, who is also the founder of the Abuja Writers Forum, shared his perspectives on the writer and the book.
“Japheth has stayed the course of writing and making a living out of writing,” Mr Shehu said. “Making a living out of writing is one of the most difficult things to do even in developed countries. It’s tough…but the most important thing is that we should use Japheth as a source of inspiration. He has not won the Nobel Prize. He has not won the NLNG prize. But he has won the ‘public prize’ which is the most important thing. And he has started a movement.”
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Meanwhile, Mr Prosper said the book, which is one in an expected three-part series of nonfiction pieces is his own contribution to humanity. He also enumerated the challenges he faced while navigating his writing career.
He equally paid homage to his late writer-friend, Robert Gold, whose life, he said, inspired him.
“It was when he (Gold) died that I began to put together the Wilderness Experience,” he explained. “The book captures my entire life journey vis a vis writing experience: the good, the bad and the ugly sides. The essence of the book is simply to share with humanity. When I was passing through all these, God always told me that he wanted me to share these (experiences) through writing. So instead of feeling bad about it, I told myself people must hear about it hence the book you have in your hands today.”
The event also witnessed the first anniversary of the Life’s Table, a group of writers, artistes and literary enthusiasts formed on Facebook by the author, who were meeting themselves for the first time after a year of sharing literary contributions and camaradie on social media.
The group had earlier paid a visit to the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Karmajiji, Abuja where they donated relief materials to the IDPs.
See pictures of the event: