Renowned Nigerian writer, literary editor, publisher, promoter of the arts and businessman, Nnorom Azuonye has given his preliminary response to claims that Nigerian film maker, Obi Emelonye’s award-winning film, ‘The Mirror Boy’ may have been shaped by the 2009 bestseller, ‘The Abyssinian Boy’ written by Onyeka Nwelue.
Azuonye says that Onyeka Nwelue’s claims are unfounded. He explains: “I have evidence that Obi Emelonye’s ‘The Mirror Boy’ was completed in 2006. The reason I have this evidence is that Obi had sent me the manuscript of the novel to edit for him. I intend to write, in the next week or two a rebuttal article to demonstrate that Onyeka Nwelue is perhaps simply trying to draw attention to his book and ride on the current international success of ‘The Mirror Boy’.”
He continues: “That there is a dwarf in both stories and that the children in question return to Africa from India and the United Kingdom respectively are not enough to accuse Emelonye of plagiarism. The plots of the two stories are completely different. The resolutions of the two stories are completely different. The relationship between the boys and their spirit friends are also completely different. But the most important fact is that ‘The Mirror Boy’ existed as far back as 2006 as a film script and as a novel script. I hereby throw a challenge to Onyeka Nwelue to try and establish his case through the law courts.”
Azuonye, a leader of literary activism on the continent, also commented that he would fully cooperate with and encourage the courts to subpaena his e-mails between 2006 and 2011 regarding ‘The Mirror Boy’.
“Yahoo, the mail carrier with my permission will independently verify the authenticity of the e-mails – content and dates – to show that Emelonye had his story before Nwelue. It took Emelonye 5 years to have all the circumstances and means in place to realise the motion picture. The luck Emelonye has is that he had mailed the manuscript to me via a provable means, and he had also been in talks with Harper Collins about the book.”