Munir Bello – Do you Remember a Childhood Nightmare?

Munir Bello,A.K.Andrew,,a writer's notebookDo you remember a childhood nightmare? Yes, we all do. Snakes under the bed, dragons, a burglar, Dracula. Most people’s childhood nightmares are based on fearful fantasies. But in Munir Bello’s case the nightmare was real life. And something which contributes driving him in his work today.

I’m very happy to welcome back Munir Bello who featured in this interview about his book The Break Up Recipe a few months ago. It was an interesting interview, and as his responses were honest and open, I wanted to find out a little more about the author. You might be surprised by what he told me.  

Hi Munir, Good to have you back on  A Writer’s Notebook

Thanks. Good speaking to you again.

What have you been up to since we last spoke?

I have been running around like mad. I’ve released, The Break Up Recipe as a paperback due to heavy demand, done a few more interviews and I am in the middle of shooting my dating show, it’s been awesome and I’m really enjoying myself at the moment. The team I work with have been fantastic and the singletons are brilliant. Had our first kiss recently (off camera) which was exciting. I’m also writing the second book as we speak which I’m hoping to release later this year.

Fantastic. Congratulations on the paperback, when can we expect to see the show?

Very shortly, I promise to keep everybody informed closer to the time. We’re shooting through the summer and aiming to start airing in Mid Summer.

Since we’ve last spoken I’ve noticed that you have done a few more interviews and it looks like you’re featured in different parts of the world.

Yes I have, it’s been brilliant. There have been pieces in The US, The UK, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria and there are some due out in South Africa and other parts of Europe. I will soon be writing regularly for a huge international blog. They read the first chapter of my book, took a liking to it and approached me about being a columnist. We’re still in the middle of the discussions.

Congratulations! I hope being a columnist works out for you. You definitely don’t stand still for long. You mentioned in your previous interviews your book was written after a painful break up but you never expand on the subject. As the incident inspired your book I’m sure your fans are keen to find out just how much of an influential role it played.

Good question. You’re very correct that I’ve never expanded on it and I don’t really plan to. Yes it’s true that I wrote the book after a break up but that event was never the influence of the book. The parallels between me, Mark Mutton (The main character in the book) and my previous relationship are contained in a small amount of the book and not all over it. I’m aware that there is a belief that this book is an autobiographical book written about my break up and that the reason I’ve been working so hard is to prove something to my ex, which is not the case. That chapter is closed and I don’t look back on it at all.

That’s great you are able to looking forward  which is always positive. I wanted to discuss your work ethic in more detail. I know about the intense routine you had when writing (living on 3 hours of sleep) as well as the amount of things you did to try to get your work to the general public (5000 emails and 10000 flyers). Tells us what really drives you?

I think it goes back to certain incidents that took place in my past, which made me realise that you should never get comfortable or take anything for granted.

What specifically are you referring to?

One day when I came home from school, I overheard my mother telling one of her friends that my father had been arrested and wouldn’t be coming home that night. This was at a time when Nigeria was ruled by a ruthless dictator named Sani Abacha. He had locked up various people who posed a threat to his power and some of them later died while in custody under very suspicious circumstances or were executed (Most notable names being MKO Abiola, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and the author Ken Saro- Wiwa). This was a period when I thought that I would become the man of the house and it was particularly difficult because it was just before I came to England to start schooling.

How long was your father incarcerated for and what was it like to go through that when you were so young?

My father was incarcerated for a period of over 3 years if I’m not mistaken and it was tough. Whenever I’d go home from England during the school holidays, I’d see what my mother was going through. There would be threatening phone calls coming through to the house, which sometimes I would pick up. The underlying message of those calls were people telling me that I wouldn’t see my father again or people just generally mocking us. It was nuts to say the least. Although I was young and my mother tried to protect the children by putting on a brave face, I was fully aware of what was happening.

I don’t know how you coped. It truly does sounds like a nightmare for anybody to go through.  What effect has it had on you, and in particular your work?

Lots. As the oldest son, I naturally felt a responsibility towards the family. I’m just happy that I never had to become the man of the house. The uncertainty of not knowing what would happen to my dad was frightening of course. I commend both my parents for never feeling sorry for themselves and just carrying on after that. When you have people like that for role models, you have to step up to the plate. In answer to your earlier question, I work as hard as I do because there is a psychological scar left on me from that period. I felt underprepared to be the man of the house at that age and I guess the drive comes from me wanting to make sure that if called upon to fulfil that role in future that I am ready.

Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m sure your fans will  have gained new insight into you as a person.

I’m guessing they will.

I wanted to get a little more background as to what has made you the author you are today. And of course I’m thrilled to hear the book is now in paperback.

And all you got was this lousy sob story hahahahahahaha. I was just hoping to plug the paperback release and the dating show. All the same, it’s been a pleasure talking to you as always.

 Thanks Munir


Munir’s book, The Break Up Recipe, is now available on paperback at Amazon.

Keep up to date with him either on or on twitter, @munirbello1983.

How do you think you might have coped with circumstances Munir talks about? 

Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. 

Many Thanks!

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  1. I have no idea how I would have coped. That’s an awful thing for anyone to endure. But kudos to you, Munir, for stepping up to the plate and being a man, even when you were not yet ready to!
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  2. Munir Bello says

    Thanks Lorraine 🙂

  3. Just read a similar book about what happened in South Africa during the end of apartheid. It’s called “The inside story about the Delmas Four” by Peter Harris.

    If you haven’t read it I’m sure you will like it. What the regime was doing to ANC members was horrendous. Also loved the fact that a few people I know were mentioned in the book.
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  4. After reading another interview with you I bought the Kindle version of your book and it’s next up in my queue! I happen to be traveling tomorrow so this interview (terrific) comes at a great time….I can’t wait to get into it. But I love hearing an authors background before reading their work…it gives a reader a little insight yes? You have a very interesting history…wish you all the best:)
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  5. Maybe one day Munir will try his hand at memoir as well 🙂 It’s great to see him back here on your blog again. I’ve been watching the progress of his dating show, etc. via Facebook and would encourage everyone to follow him there as well.
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  6. I do remember a scary childhood nightmare. A recurring one, in fact. It always centered around a scary man being in my bedroom.
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  7. Thanks Munir and A.K for sharing this childhood nightmare. It is difficult to imagine the stress of a young man having his father arrested in these circumstances and not knowing if he would ever be seen again. Very glad the reception has been so good and look forward to your future endeavours
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  8. Being able to overcome something that haunts you for years is commendable. I have to say I can’t remember any nightmares, except that I had to go to school.
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  9. It is always amazing the things some people have to endure but it certainly makes us, or should make us, appreciate just how fortunate we are. One of my first trips around the world I visited 14 countries that were in some kind of conflict. It is hard to wrap your head around such a thing. I have a lot of admiration and empathy for his situation and the way in which he deals with it.
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  10. I can’t imagine growing up without knowing the safety of your father like that. Puts the squabbles of youth into a different perspective.
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  11. Hi A.K.
    I think Munir’s experience is unique, not that others haven’t had similar situations, but their perceptions, interpretations and meaning they assign to such horrific events will be different.
    I think Munir is wise and brave to share his childhood nightmare. Many people need to learn to be more humane. I had many violent and traumatic experiences in childhood. They have taught me a deep level of compassion.
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  12. I can’t imagine being thousands of miles away at school, with my father a political prisoner and my mother struggling to keep herself and her children together emotionally and otherwise. Indeed, we should never take anything for granted. Our freedoms are fragile and need to be safeguarded and cherished. Thank you for posting this blog on Munir Bello, and for “reminding” me.
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  13. Munir congratulations on your having some columnists opportunities come up for you! It’s always so inspiring when good things happen from people some how communicating – their nightmares.

    AK, great guest interview.
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  14. I think it’s so interesting and inspiring that Munir says his drive came from wanting to be able to be the man of the house if need be, and from his parents ability to move on without hatred. Such a terrible thing to go through and yet it’s made him the man he is today. I don’t know how I would have gotten through that.
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  15. Wow Munir Bello had a lot to cope with in his youth. Glad to see that he has used the negative influence in his life to his advantage by writing about his life. I hope that writing the book helped him move on.
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  16. I think knowing your father is a political prisoner must turn your whole world upside down. I have great admiration for Munir and his mother in how they handled the situation – him by being prepared to step up to the plate if need be and her by doing what she could to protect the family which must have been extremely difficult under the circumstances.
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  17. Its always refreshing for me to hear stories of pain being translated into stories of success. It takes a different approach to life, to transform what’s thrown at you to something the enemy wished never resulted. He did great and is finishing strong.

  18. Munir really has an interesting story to tell and I feel that more of it still is left to be shared. I really enjoyed reading this interview.
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  19. Thanks for the additional insight into what makes Munir the person he is today. What a traumatic experience to live through so young, well at any age really. Glad you are doing so well now.
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  20. What a frightening experience that would be, the stress would be incredible. Although they say that children are resilient, I think that kind of stress would have a lasting and haunting impact on a child. I’m not surprised that the influence is still being felt.
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