Friday, May 29, 2009
Residencies are held each October and last from two weeks to one month. Each resident is given a private room with a bath in an historic inn in Edgartown, Massachusetts, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Eight writers at a time are invited to form an intimate community of peers. The colorful gardens, covered porch and ample common rooms provide several venues in which to work, gather, contemplate or simply to relax.
To apply please fill out the online application form and submit, via email, a short statement of purpose specifying the project you plan to work on, a brief bio including publication history, the dates you’d like to stay and other residencies you have attended, if any, along with up to 20 pages of prose or non-fiction, one act from a play, or six poems to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to attach manuscript in Word.doc format. If you can’t email, you send manuscripts to Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency PO Box 1041 West Tisbury, MA 02575. Applications and manuscripts are reviewed each spring from March 1st to May 31st.
Look here for more information.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Ahmed Yerima: 52nd birthday presentation of Yerima's new book Discourse on Tragedy & Command Performance of his play, Mojagbe. Cinema Hall 2, National Theatre, Lagos. 4pm-6pm. May 25.
Rainbow Book Club: Discussions and reviews of The Girl Entrepreneurs by Ibukun Awosika. Le Meridian, Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt. 10am-11.30am. May 28.
9 Writers in Warri: Nationwide writers' tour; featuring: Eghosa Imasuen, Toni Kan, Abimbola Adunni Adelakun and others. Flomat Books, Airport Road, Warri. 12 noon-5pm. May 30.
Wole Soyinka's The Trials of Brother Jero, performed in a tripartite production. Cinema Hall 2, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. 5pm. May 29-31.
AWF Creative Writing Workshop: Unoma Azuah leads a workshop organised by the Abuja Writers Forum. AMAC Plaza, Abuja. 9.30am. May 30.
Mirrors and Images: An exhibition of new works by the visual artist, Victor Ehikhamenor. Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Till May 29.
Oyerinde Olotu's exhibition: Opening of Oyerinde Olotu's third solo exhibition of drawings and paintings titled; ‘Nigeria and Beyond'. Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. 4pm. May 30.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Farafina, Lagos (308 pages)
Zahrah the Windseeker is not only an eponymous story of Zahrah Tsami, the protagonist of the story; it is a book of adventures, possibilities, and unknown realities. The novel beckons us all: young and old into a world where all things are possible, a world without borders, free from the restrictions that our reality places on us. Zahrah was born a ‘dada’ a child with dreadlocks with green vines woven into it. This implies that she has supernatural powers that she did not get to know until she was thirteen, after her first menstruation. Initially her uniqueness was a burden that separated her and made her the clown of the class.
The world of Zahrah is a world with a magical stint. A world of CPU seeds, digibooks, netevisions, talking compasses, hydrogen and flora-powered cars, leaf-clipping and mending beetles, to mention a few. It is a world that connects the present with the distant past and the unknown future; a world of in-betweenness’.
Now to the story: Zahrah and Dari are friends; Dari continues to search for knowledge, he believes that there is more to the world than Ooni kingdom. This passion for the unknown fuels his drive for adventure as he visits the Dark Market (a mythical world of evil) which is not entirely true.The Dark Market is the beginning of their exploration into the world of the unknown. They meet Nsibidi, another windseeker there. Their thirst for knowledge leads them into the Forbidden Green Jungle. A jungle on the outskirts of the village, an entirely different civilization shrouded by myths of evil, intended to stop people from discovering it. On one of their journeys to the jungle, Dari is bitten by a war snake; the effect: a coma; the cure: an unfertilized elgort egg. What is an elgort? According to the Forbidden Greeny Jungle Guide: it is a nasty beast, the most deadly in the Greeny Jungle, the Ultimate killing machine.
Zahrah takes a noble decision, to save her friend and get an unfertilized elgort egg. This is the crux of the story. She encounters beasts: the whip scorpion, a giant tortoise, a talking frog, bush cows, gorillas, with great civilization, the carnigourd, talking panther and finally the elgort.
This book has been tagged different names: magical realism, science fiction, mythical story. For me, it is the story of a girl on a noble course to find a cure for her friend’s sickness, and while on that journey she discovers her real self, situations bring out her real self. She finds out that contentment with the present reality is not sufficient, only when you explore will you discover the real you.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Who says reading can't come with winning? In an earlier post, we told you to watch the space. Here are the questions that may make you win a free copy of Joy Isi-Bewaji's Eko Dialogue:
- What is the name of troupe (and its director) that performed Eko Dialogue recently?
- Mention two major characters in any two of the stories?
- What is the name of Joy Bewaji's new magazine and what magazine was she working with before?
So let's see who makes the first successful shot...results with runners-up will be put here.
What are you waiting for? Start reading, searching or making your comments!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Are there some days you wake up and you're lost for words? Not that something extremely good or bad has happened...then you'd probably be crying and understandably words would refuse to form in your mouth?
No that's not what I mean...Can you imagine a Bookaholic lost for words despite being constantly surrounded by words. Well today I've hit a 'blogger's block' (wish my other half Bookaholic was here) but I'll persevere as the writers advise.
On Bookaholic with Bella this week, I reviewed Toni Kan's Songs of Absence and Despair and despite receiving numerous 'missed calls' only one person 'texted' in the answer. So I have to 'text' the person details on collection of the autographed copy of the book.
Seems like I'm not doing bad...
As for the Bookaholic Club
-There will be 1 book featured every month.
-The book of the month will be offered at a discount to all members
-There will be several fora to discuss and comment on the book including cyberspace
-Most importnatly, registration is free and joining the Bookaholic Blog is strongly advised
We hope to start the Bookaholic Club this July, so keep sending in your comments...watch this space!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
CUT OFF MY TONGUE By Sitawa Namwalie (A Storymoja Production)
Cut Off My Tongue rants, sweats, breaks into song and dance as it explores the truths that shape us as Africans: our beliefs, the way we behave and why. The dramatised poetry of Sitawa Namwalie, woven with music and dance, and infused with humour and satire, engages critical issues such as corruption and the post-election violence, and is a spirited invocation to Africans to colonise their own history. It is about land, about tribe, about politics, about personal discovery, about identity and relationships It is politics - and love - that is personal and palatable, rich in imagery, evoking the contradictions of life.
Storymoja has been invited to perform in this year’s Hay Festival following sold out shows in East Africa. This will be their first UK performance. Storymoja is a Kenyan publishing venture formed by a collective of writers committed to publishing contemporary East African writing.
Venue: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London (NW3 3EU)
Date: Saturday 23 May, 2009
Cast: Sitawa Namwalie, Muthoni Garland, Alice Karunditu, Amimo Olembo, Chichi Seii, Shan Bartley, Joshua Ogutu Muraya, Grand Masese and Henry Anyanga.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
From a Poem to its Creator
By Odoh Diego Okenyodo
54pp; Hybun Publications
Poetry is a sojourn into the world of creative imagination-an adventure into the realm beyond the beyond. Odoh Diego's ‘From a Poem to its Creator,' a collection of captivating poems raises its head high in the world of real poetry. Diego shows that the desire to write is like an ulcer that keeps spreading till it gets attention.
According to Niyi Osundare ‘the remarkable writer is one who is able to bend, if not break the precept rules of language-the linguistic outlaw, who has flouted the hallowed ‘Thou-shalt-not' of language.' Okenyodo plays on words (pun, assonance and alliteration) and coins new words (neologism/coinage)...
It is one thing for the mind to take a creative stroll; it is another for the poet to be able to capture the journey in words; and greatest is the ability of a poet to take readers along on a poetic tour; Okenyodo succeeds at this to a great extent.
Read full review by Oyindamola Olofinlua here.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friendly, hardworking and approachable.
Your house is on fire; what will you take with you?
All my important documents – certificates, ID’s and my many scribble notebooks
What would a story about your life be called?
If it's an autobiography, it will be called Writing my own Stories.
Who are your favourite writers?
Chimamanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, Arundhati Roy, Buchi Emecheta, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Stephen King and V. C Andrews are a couple of them.
How do you relax?
I listen to music, watch TV shows and movies that make me laugh. Laughter always helps me relax.
When book are you reading now?
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Why do you blog/write?
Writing comes naturally. There’s always a story I want to tell, it’s that simple.
I began blogging because I wanted to get feedback from a much larger and diverse audience. Every writer likes to get peoples reaction to his/her work. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to show the world what you can do as a writer. It’s easy to set up, all you need is money to spend in the café updating (laugh).
To be a successful, internationally recognized author. Is that too much to wish for?
Solution to a better reading culture in Nigeria
I’ve wondered how we can do that. I don’t have a solution but I have suggestions. I suggest we make books more available and try as much as we can to work on people's attitude. We need to build large libraries and stock them well. At least if people can’t afford to buy books, they should be able to borrow. Knowledge is power. Books provide knowledge. If we’re a nation deprived of books, we are a nation deprived of knowledge and the power it brings.
Let’s face it; reading a book is less attractive when compared to watching TV or playing video games. Even the “aje-butter” children who have huge collections of books in their houses still prefer to play video games and watch television for hours on end, rather than pick up Enid Blyton to read. Anything else but books. There has to be a way of attacking the mindset that books are for academic purposes alone, not for entertainment and people who read novels are 'un-cool.' We can’t force people to read, but we can encourage them to give it a shot.
Why do you read?
Because I enjoy it. It’s been my favourite form of entertainment. Every time you read a novel, you don’t come away from the pages the same. Usually I remember parts of the dialogues from the books I read, the good ones.
What is your most treasured possession?
For now, it’s the book I scribble in. If it gets lost a second time…
What is the book that changed your life?
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Before I read it, my stories were set outside Nigeria – not that that’s bad in itself. But after reading it, I realized there’s so much more I can do with my prose if I bring them home. I also realized that my dreams are not so far-fetched. I had been saving clippings of Nigerian authors published home and abroad before I read her book (I’ve got old newspaper pages of her and Helen Oyeyemi somewhere). She came to me as a girl next door, who did “it”. Nothing’s impossible.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to possess the ability to affect people with words. Written and spoken.
Who are your literary heroes?JK Rowlings and Chimamanda Adichie
J.K Rowlings' book was rejected many times. She was poor and on the dole (a government program where the unemployed are given money for upkeep). She couldn’t buy toys for her daughter as a struggling single parent but she kept her protagonist alive, rejection after rejection. It was her first big book, she could have decided to abandon Harry Potter, perhaps start another novel or abandon writing entirely to focus on more conventional ways of earning a living, like people usually suggest to those who struggle to make it in the arts. She’s a hero because she did not relent. Her books have got millions of children, young adults and adults reading avidly again. Look where she is today – richer than the Queen, meeting Michelle Obama in the company of the Queen… Not everyone will be that successful, but it’s a real life Cinderella tale that can inspire those searching for encouragement.
Chimamanda left Nigeria for America and found huge success on foreign shores. What I find interesting however is the fact that she doesn’t hop into the country, publicize her book, do book signings then fly out. She divides her time between the U.S and Nigeria. Most importantly, she returns to conduct workshops, to help the fledgling writers in her country who are stuck in an uninspiring and unsupportive environment, hone their skills. Most of the time, our best and brightest leave our shores and don’t return to “give back” in any way. They don’t try to help their fatherland develop. I know it’s difficult to make a change under the conditions present, but it’s still sad when that happens. What she does is praiseworthy, more power to her elbows.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The lowest depth is when you begin to consider taking your life. I don’t think misery can get any lower than wanting to end it all…yourself.
What book are you longing to lay your hands on?
Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger, winner of 2008’s Man Booker Prize for fiction. I’ve been longing for it for a while now. It’s on its way to me, I’m sure.
What is the last thing you read that made you laugh?
Buchi Emecheta’s Second-class Citizen. Buchi is hilarious. The hilarity in her narration comes off as effortless and unintended. Or maybe it’s my sense of humour… The Joys of Motherhood has lots of funny bits in the narrative too.
What will your next blog post be about?
It will most probably be a book review. I’m expecting two novels from the library and I have two books on my desk waiting to be touched. Three are by Indian authors.
Best blog post ever?
I like my short story, “An Uneventful Bus Ride" very much, but I like “New Neighbours” because I got the most comments ever on it.
Philosophy of life
These words of Stephen King – “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” I dwell on it a lot. It’s something everyone should bear in mind too. If you like be bustling with talent in an area of life, if you do not take the necessary steps and do the hard work needed to hone it, to show the world what you’ve got, if you do not struggle to rise up from the mass of people in your field, someone else – perhaps less talented, but a hundred times more determined to rise above the odds, will succeed.
Nnamdi Osondu Awaraka blogs here
In our bid to bring you voices of people from all over (in the arts of course), we begin the Bookaholic Blogger of the Month series; every month we will feature an interview with a blogger.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
My name is Micah Ibe and I am seven years old. I know that you know that, my mummy and daddy say you know everything and you can see everything. Mummy and Daddy say I should pray to you and I have but I want to write a letter to you. I don’t know how I will send it to you but I’ll ask Mummy, she will know. My purpose of writing this letter is to greet you and thank you for everything you have done for me.
I’m okay; Chibuzo and Rose are fine too. Daddy says Cousin James has gone to heaven to meet you. Please tell him that I miss him very very very much and I will not forget that time we went to the bar beach together. Please tell him his parents miss him too and I saw his mummy crying even though she pretended she was not crying when I entered the parlour. Please make our dog Bingo find his way home and don’t let any motor jam him.
God, I have a question. Mummy said I should ask my teacher, Mr. Afolabi, but I want to ask you first. How does water enter the sky? What makes the sound of thunder? How did you make breeze? How is it that every body’s face looks different even though everybody has the same thing on their face (I mean eyes, ear, nose and mouth)? How do babies come? I asked mummy that one and looked at me somehow. Rose says my questions are stupid, but I really want to know the answer. Please help me to stop peeing on the bed, I can’t do it alone. Rose laughs at me every time. Please help me to stop being afraid of rats too. Please protect my family so nobody dies again. Please help daddy get promoted at work, he talks about it every time and prays about it in the morning during devotion. I really hope this gets to you. How will you reply? I'll ask mummy.
Selected from 122 entries from 12 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine Prize’s pan-African reach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.
The 2009 shortlist comprises:
- Mamle Kabu (Ghana) ‘The End of Skill’ from ‘Dreams, Miracles and Jazz’, published by Picador Africa, Johannesburg 2008
- Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) ‘You Wreck Her’ from the St Petersburg Review, NY 2008
- Alistair Morgan (South Africa) ‘Icebergs’ from The Paris Review no. 183, NY 2008
- EC Osondu (Nigeria) ‘Waiting' from Guernicamag.com, October 2008
- Mukoma wa Ngugi (Kenya) ‘How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile’ from ‘Wasafiri’ No54, Summer 2008, London
For more information and to read the shortlisted stories click here.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The poems in Heart Songs are personal, yet they take a look at issues that are general - whether social, political, economic, existential, contemporary or traditional.
Adimora-Ezeigbo experiments with pidgin in ‘Njakiri: Songs in Pidgin'. Since Pidgin English already has a musical rhythm, the beauty of these poems is hidden in performance. The poet however tries rather hard to be poetic and musical, as evident in some poems, notably ‘Sex Machine.' She also takes a look at the subject of love in the ‘Love Songs' section: sexual love (‘Coupling', ‘Passion'), romantic love (‘Under the Oilbean Tree'), mother-child love (‘Baby Mine'), absence and longing (‘A Lover Waiting') are examples of this.
The beauty of poetry is hidden in the concentration of words which is transferred to the reader through the creative use of language. This collection brings Akachi out of her cave of fiction; they also show that her poetry needs more work to captivate the reader.
Read more here.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Crown Troupe always takes the creative route in the execution of their plays, whether foreign or local, original or adapted. Crown Troupe’s April performance focused on Noel Greig’s Whispers in the Dark, however, yet they gave a bumper package: with Footprint’s performance of Window Talk; Qudus Onikeku’s dances and Nefertiti’s songs. The performance opened with an ‘ewi’ recital by Adisa; he made use of pun (‘ase oro’) in his description of love which thrilled the audience as they cheered. But I had a question on my mind: why wear a native cap on a pair of jeans and shirt? Maybe that’s his own brand, I mutterred to myself.
Talking about brands, I’d always known Footprints as an energetic children dance group. They told the audience that they were more than dance as they took on the stage with Window Talk, a play written by Segun Adefila and directed by Seun Awobajo. Window Talk is an existential, almost absurdist philosophical play that asks questions about opposites: heaven and hell, peace and war, politics and power, wisdom and folly, religion and belief, God and man, among others. What do you think of this?
Neighbour: What is a body without a head?
Player: No manager without a messenger. One makes one. The equation of bribery is not complete without a giver and a taker. Asewo needs a customer to be asewo. Sellers need buyers. The head needs the body and the body, the head. Tango needs two to be tango.
Crown Troupe did justice to Noel Greig’s Whispers in the Dark. A fable with other stories embedded in it, more like a tree with many branches stretching out. The thematic thrust being the survival of the arts despite opposition in the society. Crown Troupe adds its spice to the story not only by using Nigerian artistes but by double casting, songs, remixing well known songs (‘Ero-Oja’ Yoruba folk song), flashbacks, riddles, etc. Here’s a riddle from the play: You cannot wear it but it will bring warmth to your heart on the coldest day. You cannot eat it, but it is the most nourishing food in the world. You cannot hear it, but it possesses the voices of the whole world. What is it? You may have a clue after reading this.
NB: Crown Troupe performances hold every first Sunday of every Month. For the month of May, it was an adaptation of Joy Bewaji's Eko Dialogue, a rib-cracking and thought-provoking novella about Lagos. Coming soon on The Bookaholic Blog with a quiz with a prize: a copy of the book. So watch this SPOT.