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Friday 9 January 2009

Tayo Akiwumi writes his first novel Carlene: A Love Story - the fictional heroine is Malaysian-Chinese!

January 9, 2009

by Suzan Abrams

Caption: Photo of Tayo Akiwumi & his family was supplied to Gulf News.

Dubai: Thank you, Anupa Kurian, Readers Editor for Gulf News, for your lovely, tender story on writer Tayo Akiwumi, a Dubai-based Nigerian engineer and his first romantic work of fiction.

In Carlene: A Love Story which is actually semi-autobiographical, Akiwumi describes his passionate first love while still straddled as a lovestruck 19; with an attractive West Indian woman who sadly, leaves him to pursue a dream in America. It is the Seventies and they part after just nine months. Akiwumi is stricken with grief. He never forgets her and years later, tries to track her down. He is restless for closure and feels the need to explain to his beloved the reason for the break-up and any derived hostility on his part. He succeeds in finding her while on a business trip only to realise that she has now married and moved on.

Akiwumi tells Kurian that his first love was so liberal that its loss felt like a sharp drop off a cliff. The 52-year old traveller who was raised in London- he has been up to 30 countries to-date but with a penchant for the Far East - hints that the first five chapters are true with the exception that the heroine's name is spelt differently.

The 100-page quality paperback describes a meeting on a train between Carlene Wong, a Malaysian Chinese beauty and Tobi Vaughan. It is love at first sight but he later, loses her as she leaves for America. The story also traces Tobi's early years in Nigeria and England and the plot later expands into Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai.

Akuwumi who is now happily married to a Japanese airline stewardess - they have a daughter - , also talks to Kurian about his love for writing. He first wrote Carlene: A Love Story years ago with large gap years in between, after sketching a framework and the first essential pages. Now drawn intensely to the craft of writing, Tayo Akiwumi is presently working on two coffee table books.

Read Anne Kurian's story here.
You may purchase Carlene: A Love Story here.

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