Gbemi Sa­sore

There is no doubt mod­erni­sa­tion has af­fected how we read, but read­ing and books have sur­vived the early dis­rup­tion. So read­ing is not go­ing any­where at all. We in Nige­ria still have a great de­sire for knowl­edge and en­ter­tain­ment that read­ing pro­vides

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - GUARDIAN WOMAN -

GBEMI Sha­sore is the Ex­ec­u­tive Pub­lisher of Qu­ramo Pub­lish­ing Limited, an indige­nous me­dia com­pany com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing qual­ity con­tent for its di­verse au­di­ence. She is also the owner of Main­events and Cam­paigns Limited, an event man­age­ment com­pany. Both are based in Vic­to­ria Is­land, La­gos.

She is na­tion­ally noted for her so­cial and vol­un­tary works where she ad­vo­cates in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. She serves on a num­ber of ad­vi­sory boards of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions es­pe­cially the In­ter­na­tional Women’s So­ci­ety (IWS), where she has served in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties in­clud­ing be­ing at a time the so­ci­ety’s 50th Pres­i­dent.

She is the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Ac­cess to Knowl­edge [A2K] a char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to in­creas­ing knowl­edge and ed­u­ca­tion ac­ces­si­bil­ity in Africa, par­tic­u­larly for the girl- child. She founded the Simi John­son Trust for the ad­vance­ment of women and chil­dren in Nige­ria, and has served in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties in the in­ter­na­tional so­ci­ety­commu­nity par­tic­u­larly with Zonta Club In­ter­na­tional. Gbemi is also one of the founders of La­gos Prepara­tory School, Ikoyi one of Africa’s lead­ing Bri­tish cur­ricu­lum prepara­tory schools in La­gos. A long time pa­tron of the arts, she has pro­duced, to wide ac­claim, the stage plays - Apast­came­call­ing and Ajaithe­boy

Slave. In April of this year, she launched The Qu­ramo Writ­ers’ Prize - a one-of-a-kind writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion for undis­cov­ered and un­pub­lished writ­ers. Af­ter months of judg­ing, the award un­veil­ing is slated to take place on Oc­to­ber 2. She is mar­ried with three chil­dren and lives in La­gos. In this in­ter­view, she talks about the up­com­ing lit­er­ary award cer­e­mony and her mo­tive for or­gan­is­ing it.

By Nike So­tade

You’ve al­ways be­longed to ser­vice clubs/or­ga­ni­za­tions. What mo­ti­vates you to al­ways want to ren­der vol­un­tary and so­cial ser­vice?

You’re right, I have taken up sig­nif­i­cant roles in what we call the de­vel­op­ment and vol­un­teer sec­tor in

the form of so­ci­eties and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. The mo­ti­va­tion is ser­vice. Don’t for­get that space is pub­lic ser­vice and, as we say, pub­lic ser­vice is a call­ing, not a job!

As the Ex­ec­u­tive Pub­lisher at Qu­ramo Pub­lish­ing, kindly share with us your aims, goals and achieve­ments.

Per­son­ally, I have al­ways been in­volved in pro­duc­tion, whether it is event pro­duc­tion, stage pro­duc­tion, or con­tent pro­duc­tion through pub­lish­ing; so this is a con­tin­u­a­tion.

As a com­pany, our aim is to pro­vide qual­ity con­tent through our value-added ser­vice, con­tent that can en­rich African lives. We see pub­lish­ing as a so­cial en­ter­prise, one that is mo­ti­vated by high val­ues which in­cludes money of course, but not just and not only cash profit. We will pub­lish a va­ri­ety of con­tent in sev­eral con­sum­able ways. Books are an im­por­tant com­po­nent of that goal.

With re­gards to your project: The Qu­ramo Writ­ers’ Prize Awards that is tak­ing place on Mon­day, what in­formed the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion? We have ob­serv­able ev­i­dence of a de­cline in read­ing cul­ture. Fur­ther­more, Africa is in fact the most un­der­pub­lished con­ti­nent in the world. In Nige­ria, we need to en­cour­age read­ing and im­por­tantly writ­ing. There is tal­ent out there we hope we can ex­pose and pro­mote into the life- chang­ing ac­knowl­edg­ment of be­ing pub­lished, or at least recog­nised as writ­ers. Kindly give us a sneak peek into what is go­ing to hap­pen at the award cer­e­mony

You will see, hear, and read about tal­ented writ­ers be­ing in­tro­duced to the pub­lic. Other awards cel­e­brate pub­lished works. This is im­por­tant be­cause it fo­cuses on a much-ne­glected sec­tor.

Do you think Nige­ri­ans still have the read­ing cul­ture in this dig­i­tal age?

There is no doubt mod­erni­sa­tion has af­fected how we read, but read­ing and books have sur­vived the early dis­rup­tion. So read­ing is not go­ing any­where at all. We in Nige­ria still have a great de­sire for knowl­edge and en­ter­tain­ment that read­ing pro­vides.

How do you in­tend to re­vive it?

The re­vival has be­gun. We are rein­vent­ing our de­volved con­tent to the pub­lic. Be­sides de­liv­er­ing hard copy books, we took the pi­o­neer­ing step of cre­at­ing an app called Qreeda, which you can down­load for free from the Google Store and gain to ac­cess our ti­tles as ebooks. The op­por­tu­ni­ties are end­less.

Why do you think read­ing books is es­sen­tial?

Read­ing ex­pands the mind and builds peo­ple. All great so­ci­eties read, we can­not be an ex­cep­tion.

You also pro­duce stage plays. Why this pas­sion for drama? I’m a se­rial pro­ducer as I said, pro­duc­ing plays ex­presses, en­ter­tains, en­riches and ed­u­cates in art form. Books are the same. We pro­duce books too! Which in­ter­est­ing book have you been read­ing of late?

Se­cret­places by Vi­vian Kay pub­lished by Qlife – yes it is one of our ti­tles.

What are your goals in five years?

My goal is to be re­main a leader in what­ever I do. Adding value to my com­mu­nity, coun­try and mankind.

You are also a very stylish per­son. What’s your def­i­ni­tion of style?

That’s sim­ple- com­fort but out­stand­ing. I’m very com­fort­able with who I am which is unique to me, so my style must be com­fort­able and per­sonal to me.

With your busy sched­ule, how do you jug­gle your time?

It’s a night­mare but I cope, I think be­cause I en­joy what I do so much I am able to cope.

Any word of ad­vice for younger women who look up to you?

Hmmm…. Younger women, younger than me that is, I’m still young!!!... I would say, think about the choices you make in life be­cause every­day and every­day is so con­nected with ev­ery­thing. Be prayer­ful and trust in God al­ways.

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