Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, February 9

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Feature Mon Sep 27 2010

Answers and Questions: Bayo Ojikutu

Answers and Questions is a biweekly column that asks Chicago writers to remember the funniest or strangest things they've been asked in a question-and-answer session, during a talk, or in an interview.

Bayo Ojikutu writes fiction that takes place on Chicago's South Side, where he and his two sisters were raised. His two novels, 47th Street Black (2003) and Free Burning (2006), examine the black experience in the city, exploring issues of poverty and violence in the communities. Here, Ojikutu recalls three questions from book readings that, upon recollection, gave him a "bout of the shivers" (understandably so):

1) "Given your success, what powerful person do you know who's looking out for you? Must be somebody."

2) "So why did you choose to read that here?"

3) "Do you intend to continue writing as a black male?" (posed at my very first reading, back in 2003)

Ojikutu, who teaches at DePaul, is currently working on his third novel, "after spending some time working within the short fiction realm," he says. In 2009 his short story "Yayi and Those Who Walk on Water: A Fable" earned a Special Mention designation from the national Pushcart Prize.

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