Sarah Ozo-Irabor, founder of the Instagram page and podcast Books & Rhymes, is Brittle Paper’s Social Media Influencer of the Year for her use of social media to redefine literature as more than just a reading experience.
Ozo-Irabor is well-known in the African literary scene and much beloved by the bookstagrammer community. She began sharing her thoughts about books on @booksandrhymes sometime in June 2017. From the get-go, her posts stood out for their distinctive look: books were frequently held up against visually-striking architecture, as if to ask readers to think of books as monuments in and of themselves, or to recognize that literature is part and parcel of the landscapes that we inhabit.
This visual method of making readers draw connections between books and other realms of aesthetic experience expanded into the exploration of music and literature with the launch of the Books and Rhymes podcast in May 2019. Each podcast episode asks guests to pair a given book with songs or albums that are on the same emotional wavelengths as the book in question. The podcast debuted with Namwali Serpell as a guest, followed by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, and Ayesha Harruna Attah, among others.
No one could have imagined how difficult this year would be, with pandemic conditions crippling most cultural activities. Ozo-Irabor helped alleviate feelings of isolation by launching an Instagram live video series where she explored various topics centered on books and the reading experience.
With each each photographed book, each podcast episode, and each live video session, Ozo-Irabor takes readers on a delightful journey through the heart of literature.
Ozo-Irabor, thank you for all you do. We see you!
See Full List of the 2020 Brittle Paper Person of the Year