Wilmot, Patrick 1942- (Patrick F.G. Wilmot)
Wilmot, Patrick 1942- (Patrick F.G. Wilmot)
Born October, 1942, in Kingston, Jamaica; married. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1966; Vanderbilt University, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1972.
Academic. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, lecturer, c. 1970-88; Heinemann, London, England, manuscript reviewer.
African Centre (London, England), Transparency International.
(Editor) Sociology in Africa: A Book of Readings, two volumes, Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria, Nigeria), 1973.
In Search of Nationhood: The Theory and Practice of Nationalism in Africa, Lantern Books (Ibadan, Nigeria), 1979.
Apartheid and African Liberation: The Grief and the Hope, University of Ife Press (Ile-Ife, Nigeria), 1980.
Ideology and National Consciousness, Lantern Books (Lagos, Nigeria), 1980.
The Spirit of Africa and Other Poems: Poems for the Liberation of Africa, NNPC (Zaria, Nigeria), 1983.
The Future of Africa: Revolution, Retrogression, or Inertia? Four Essays on Africa's Geopolitical Position and Grand Strategy, Youth Solidarity on Southern Africa (Zaria, Nigeria), 1984.
The Right to Rebel: The Phenomenology of Student Revolutionary Consciousness, Zim Pan-African Publishers (Oguta, Nigeria), 1986.
Nigeria's Southern Africa Policy, 1960-1988, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies (Uppsala, Sweden), 1989.
Seeing Double (novel), Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2005, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Patrick Wilmot is an academic and political scientist. Born in Jamaica, Wilmot lectured in sociology at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988 he was abducted by Nigerian soldiers and expelled from the country for his criticism of Nigeria's government. He settled in London where he reviews African and Caribbean manuscripts.
Wilmot published his first novel, Seeing Double, in 2005. After decades of scholarly studies on Nigeria, Wilmot takes a satirical approach with this novel, clearly aimed at the country and its blind business relations with the United States. Wilmot creates the sovereign nation of Niagra, which is bordered by the Sea of Oil, Neverland, and Texas. The ruler of the country, General Abdu-Salaam bin-Sallah-ud-Deen bin Sani-Ibrahim al-Daudu, otherwise known as "The Life President of Niagra and Unique Miracle of the Twentieth Century," is struggling against ideological revolutionaries who are fighting for democracy in the nation. The general is fond of the United States, and tries to recreate scenes from Graceland and Las Vegas in his nation. His regime is supported by a U.S. company called the Burton Holly Corporation, which cares for nothing more than oil. Citizens are massacred who stand up to the general or Burton Holly's oil interests. When the revolutionaries succeed in overthrowing the general, they are met with international pressure, led by the United States, before they are even able to establish a democracy. Ultimately, the United States is able to destroy the democratic revolutionaries and prop up the general again to ensure stability for their business relations.
Writing in the London Independent, Margaret Busby contended that "Wilmot is well placed to know that truth is no less strange than fiction." Of the novel, Busby stated: "Often hilarious, often disturbing, often chaotic, this is a provocative, challenging read." She warned however, that if readers "blink at the wrong moment, … you risk missing a sly allusion or joke." Amy Ford, writing in Library Journal, found the story "rather dull and chaotic" at first, adding that many of the cultural and political references were "pretentious." Although Ford did find many of the satirical attacks aimed at the United States to be "hilarious," she concluded: "Unfortunately, few people will read past the slow beginning." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews described the story as "overstuffed" and "digressive." The contributor remarked that "the messiness doesn't wreck the book entirely … but both the humor and the tragedy could cut more cleanly." The critic concluded: "A long, bumpy ride, though Wilmot's rage and passion are palpable." A contributor to Publishers Weekly called the novel both "exhausting" and "rewarding." The contributor mentioned that "Wilmot's disparate cultural references … don't always click, but the energy he brings to this endeavor is inspiring."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of Seeing Double, p. 33.
Independent (London, England), June 24, 2005, Margaret Busby, review of Seeing Double.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of Seeing Double, p. 545.
Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Amy Ford, review of Seeing Double, p. 75.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 2006, review of Seeing Double, p. 45.
Times Literary Supplement, July 1, 2005, review of Seeing Double, p. 25.
Ahmadu Bello University Web site,http://www.abu.edu.ng/ (January 30, 2008), author profile.
News Africa,http://www.newsafrica.net/ (January 30, 2008), author profile.