CANADA IMMIGRATION SERIES: Immigrant experiences deserve to be published

Nigerian-born author Yahaya Baruwa talks about success and struggle and his experience as an immigrant.

EVERY night before Yahaya Baruwa fell asleep, he prayed. “What did I write today that will inspire 100 million people tomorrow?” According to his numbers, he’s halfway there.

Since he began selling his first self-published novel, “The Struggles of a Dreamer,” in 2011, Baruwa has sold more than 50,000 copies. He estimates that he has held over 1,000 in-store events, over 10,000 hours of promoting his book, and knocking on over 27,000 doors to sell his novels over the past decade.

“I hit the whole area of ​​Guildwood, Morningside and Lawrence, and Bloor-West Village,” the now 34-year-old writer said, referring to neighborhoods in suburban Scarborough and downtown Toronto.

Sitting in the chapters of Kennedy Commons, just yards from his first in-store sales event, Baruwa recalled his first sale to his next-door neighbor in the suburbs half an hour east of the GTA, near by Keele & Finch.

Inspiration at home

Baruwa’s family moved to Canada from the northern city of Kano in Nigeria when he was 12, in 2001. The third child of eight and a member of the Yoruba tribe, the author recalls the sacrifices his parents made in their career, selling their family home and bidding goodbye to their peers before moving on.

“It was a lot – leaving my home behind,” Baruwa said. “I even put my parents’ house on the cover of the third book to honor my parents for the sacrifice they made.”

He started writing his first book in 2009 at the age of 21 during his second year at York University. The author was appalled by his father’s disapproval of his dream of writing a novel. So he would wake up in the middle of the night, when everyone else was sleeping in his Scarborough home, and write at his family’s dining table until dawn.

“The Struggles of a Dreamer” is the story of a young man who struggles to decide between obeying his father’s wishes or following his dreams.

“He [the protagonist, Tunde] had to fulfill his dream so he could come home to find his father was just trying to protect him,” Baruwa explained. “I started writing with all this anger and resentment towards who I thought my father was.”

The millennial author finished his first novel in less than a year, and the second in less than a month. He wrote all three of his books by hand, later transcribing and editing for publication, and also continued to write in secret.

“He doesn’t like anyone knowing when he’s writing,” said Eniola Akinsara, Baruwa’s wife. “He doesn’t want anyone influencing his writing style.”

Conclusion of the series

The entrepreneur’s second novel is written from a woman’s perspective on the immigrant experience, influenced by the story of her own mother who was a very experienced nurse in Nigeria.

Baruwa saw her mother start her career as soon as she arrived in Canada. Although the author understood how the country regulates professionals, “it takes away the experience that people bring from another country,” he said.

The third and final novel in Baruwa’s trilogy explores the author’s own immigration story and honors his parents for the sacrifices they made. It should be out this winter.

“I’ve seen him inspire people in so many ways,” Baruwa’s wife Akinsara said. A first generation also from Nigeria, Akinsara grew up in Windsor, Ontario. — away from the diversity of Toronto, where she moved to study at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Married in June earlier this year, she helped edit and transcribe her husband’s latest book and regularly witnesses the positive feedback Baruwa receives.

From young to old, people come up to him and say, “You inspired me to dream again,” she said. NCM saw this happen during his interview. Fans hailed Baruwa for his influence, calling for a photo or some juicy details about their favorite characters. One person even coyly exclaimed their own newly inspired approach to writing.

“A book I wrote when I was 21 and struggling to believe in myself is the same book people look to for inspiration,” Baruwa said.

Frances Ann can attest to Baruwa’s inspiration to dream. Originally from Northern Ireland, Ann moved to Canada in her early 20s to escape the civil war of the late 1970s. Her son went to high school with Baruwa in suburban Toronto and reconnected with him when the author knocked on his door. She regularly writes reviews for Baruwa’s novels and shares them with her family and friends abroad.

“I still can’t believe he asked me, of all people, to review his books,” said the Port Hope, Ont. said resident and retiree. “There is a lesson [in his books] others to keep trying and not give up on their dreams, whatever they may be.


Keitlyn (she/they) is a multimedia journalist living in Scarborough, Ontario. They are interested in long-form journalism that enhances the visibility of BIPOC expression. True to millennial form, they are small business owners, carpenters and freelance photographers. They were interested in NCM because it understands the “big picture”. Journalists are dedicated to truth and democracy. Our communities have not always had access to these privileges. NCM fills a big gap that the North American media has long overlooked.

Credit: This inspiring new story is possesses and with compassion share by New canadian Media, MR. Visit to place.

Angela C. Hale