BY THE BOOK: Philip Etemesi

Wednesday January 24 2018

Philip Etemesi is a blogger who writes about sex and dating. PHOTO| COURTESY

Philip Etemesi is a blogger who writes about sex and dating. PHOTO| COURTESY 

By GLORIA MWANIGA
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Philip Etemesi is a blogger who writes about sex and dating. He is best known for his hard-hitting relationship advice that targets the youth and as the only mainstream erotica writer in Kenya.

His work appears in his blog Tukatiane but he also regularly contributes to Girls Chase, an American website that specialises in providing dating advice to young men from all over the world.

Etemesi has also written for another American blog EliteDaily-a hub for lifestyle articles that target millennial.

In 2015, he was a finalist for Best African Blogger in the Social Media Africa Awards held in Lagos.

He was also nominated for Best Facebook Personality in the 2015 Kenyan SOMA awards. In 2017, his blog Tukatiane was nominated for Best Topical Blog in the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) awards.

Etemesi spoke to Nation.co.ke about his literary favourites.

Tell me the three books that excited you the most in 2017?

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin comes to mind. I found it quite enjoyable mostly because of the way it effortlessly delves into polygamy and chauvinism, two key subjects that have been forgotten in modern African societies.

The second is The Naturalby Richard La Ruina. I related to it on a personal level.

It’s an insightful look into a modern day Cassanova who rises from humble beginnings in Cambridge and creates his own career path out of teaching men out-of-the-box dating tips.

Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God is the third. Very few celebrities tell you how to be as successful as they are, but Charlamagne, one of America’s influential media personalities, does that so effectively in this book.

Which two books do you hold so dear that they can’t possibly be lent out?

If someone ever attempted to borrow the following books from me, I would respond with the mean primary school kid’s classic answer – “Go and buy yours!!”

The Gameby Neil Straus is a book I wouldn’t risk losing.

A few years back when I was a shy geek who was a disaster with women, this book opened my eyes and made me improve my relations with the opposite sex significantly.

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene is another book that’s close to my heart. It not only taught me how to charm people but also how to use flowery language as a writer.

Your favorite childhood books? Why?

I have dozens of favorite books from my childhood days but two of them shine among the crowd.

For Mbatha and Rabeka by David G Maillu, is one of the most fascinating books I read as a kid. I was so impressed by Maillu’s descriptive prowess that I told myself, if I ever become a writer, I would write like that.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is another book that I considered a masterpiece when I was young. I loved it because I was always obsessed with adventure-themed stories, especially those that involved pirates.

If you were to dine with three writers dead or alive, who would they be and why?

I’d love to consume a wine bottle with Maya Banks so I could ask her how she deals with people who judge her for what she writes. I’d also love to have ugali and nyama choma with Meja Mwangi so that I could just tell him “You are a legend, lunch is on me.”

Lastly, it would be an honor to sit in a fast food joint with Roosh Validzeh so he can teach me how to juggle controversy and brilliance. Not to forget, how to grow a good beard.

Which book do you wish you had written and why?

That would be Fifty Shades Darker by EL James. As a direct sequel of Fifty Shades of Grey, I felt like Miss James didn’t do enough justice to it as she did to the first book. There are plenty of plot holes that I would have covered if she enlisted me as a ghost writer. Haha.

If you were sent off to Robben Island for a year, which three books would you take with you?

For a year? I’d probably be too stressed to read. But if I was to choose three books, I’d be very practical about it. First choice would be How To Survive Prison For The First Time Inmate by William Mitchell.

 Second book would be Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela so that I can learn how he survived Robben Island himself and the third book would be Life Is Not Fair And Everything Else They Forget to Teach in School by Bill Bernard.

Do you think book festivals, literary prizes and writing workshops are important to a writer’s growth?

Book festivals and literary prizes are great. Books are life. However, I wish there were blog festivals too and more prizes for outstanding writers in the digital space. I feel like the online space has been neglected by judges, critics and seekers of extraordinary works yet some of the most creative, entertaining and informative writers exist there.

Most unforgettable character from a book? Why?

Sindi in The Elevator Kiss by Amina Thula.

Sindi is a career woman from Cape Town whose fiancé dumps her just before the wedding, causing her to lose trust in men. But then a guy called Edward shows up and it’s all chaos from there. Sindi tries hard to guard herself from getting hurt again but also make sure she doesn’t lose Edward (who has the hallmarks of Prince Charming). The mixture of her vulnerability and toughness makes her my favorite book character.

Tell me about the last book that made you cry?

I have never really cried while reading a book but I have clapped wildly I guess. I once gave a book a one-man standing ovation at 2am in the night. That book was the spy-thriller Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz.

Among your contemporaries, who do you consider the most exciting newcomer in the writing world and why?

Ghana’s Kwadjo Panyin does it for me. His blog ‘MusingsofanAfricanBachelor’ has plenty of gems. He constantly shares his bad dating experiences and offers sound advice from what he learned. Plus, he’s not one of those politically correct people that will tell you what you know already.

What are you currently writing?

I am always writing several things at a go. I am the workaholic kind of writer. For my blog, I have recently been focusing on the theme of cheating. So expect a few more articles about that. I also penning a story about how I unknowingly got involved a girl who happened to be the girlfriend of a huge, scary KDF guy. Watch out for that.

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BY THE BOOK is a literary series that covers authors, bloggers, actors, academics and poets of note in the African continent. For comments or inquiries, e-mail: [email protected]