Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lighting Lamps through Writing...

The interview series with the minds behind the 'In My Dreams, It was Simpler' book project continues. Meet Light Her Lamp

Why and how did you become a part of the “In My Dreams it was Simpler” project?

Tolu Popoola (‘Favoured Girl’) thought about this wonderful idea of writers coming together to do the series, and she invited me to be on the team. I was really excited about the opportunity to be creative and I said “yes.”


Which of the characters did you voice/write? Dolapo

What did you hope to achieve with the character? My vision was to write in such a way that when people read about her they would see a strong woman intensely passionate about God. I hope readers see from Dolapo’s story, no matter who we choose to be in life, difficulties will readily come and decisions will have to be made. What matters most are the final decisions we make and the prices we must pay for them.

How did you connect that character to the whole plot of the story? I didn't have any difficulties in connecting Dolapo to the bigger story because it began with 6 friends who already had a very rare unbreakable bond.

Were there any challenges writing from just one perspective? Yes, there were challenges. It is indeed a very tedious task to try to get into the mind of another writer to continue from where they left off. Especially when I feel that the outcome should have been different than what they wrote. Yet, it has been an enjoyable task because it sort of forces us to show our creative juices.

What one lesson did you learn from this ‘group’ experience? I am constantly learning that people see the world in different ways, and form their own very strong opinions, that most times are hard to change.

What books are you currently reading? I am on the second book of Francine Rivers’ Trilogy (The Mark of the Lion Series: An Echo in the Darkness). I also started reading “The Shack” simultaneously.

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh? A cartoon on “Patience” that I found on Seye Kuyinu’s blog a couple of days ago. So this guy is desperately trying to learn about patience, and his friend goes like, “You have to learn to be patient,” and this guy gives this very insane response, “LEARN? I WANT TO BE PATIENT NOW!” I thought that was really funny.

In your view, how has internet changed the face of publishing? With absolutely great interfaces like LULU and Freado, and also with the current popular social media (twitter, facebook, networked blogs, technorati and the rest) which authors can use to integrate their books into the minds of people, I think the internet has totally made publishing easier.

What’s your take on the Nigerian publishing scene? I think it is improving because of the younger generation who are daring to publish their poems (like Chiedu Ifeozo), short stories, novellas and novels (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). Also with a company such as Kachifo Limited, Farafina magazine, and even the Bookaholic blog, the Nigerian publishing scene is getting pretty famous. 

List five of your favorite blogs and why?
I have many favourites but I will list some that stand out to me:
  • “D Unspoken Word” (written by Kafo) - I love this blog because the writer is a down-to-earth person. As much as she loves her faith she tends to write more about her trials, temptations, and how she gets back to knowing that God is true and real and that she cannot escape from His love, even if she tries.
  • “It was so much Easier when I Only had One” (by Solomonsydelle): First of all the name of the blog got me laughing when I first saw it. I already knew she would be funny. I read her blog because I love the way she combines family with humour. Her kids are so notorious they will get you rolling on your floor in pain from laughing too hard.
  • “A Day in God’s Will,” (written by Remi, United Kingdom) - I read Remi’s post simply because they make me want to be a better person. I feel like she could be an actual teacher in a classroom setting because the way she highlights her points is unique. I love her even more because the Word of God is her guide in what she writes
  • As Jaja Was Saying,  a blogger whose diction makes me scratch my head. He never has a fixed theme, but all of his posts are thought-provoking. I actually don’t have access to his blog anymore(I think he still writes but now has restricted viewing) so if he’s reading this, grant me access (lol). More than that anyway, I liked reading his blog because I felt I could learn from the way he used words only a dictionary-reader would use, and it didn’t stop there. He made me want to err...turn the pages.
  • “The Chronicles of the Life of a Stranger Called Me,” she always has some thought-provoking things to say so you have to be ready to learn great things as you crawl on her page. 
  • Verastically Living, she’s a natural at making people laugh. I love her sense of humour and I think she’ll go places with it.

What are you scared of? That all good things must eventually come to an end. It’s a scary thing.

What inspires your writing? God. Him and His constant love for people who keep turning their backs on Him.

What is the worth of a book? The worth of a book lies in each reader. Every reader has a different life experience and will get something different from their counterpart sitting on the next chair reading the same book.

Who are your literary heroes? I read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe as a child and was transported to a world of literary genius that I never knew existed. I think Achebe got me into the habit of reading books, a habit I pray never dies. So I will give credit to him as my literary hero.

What does it mean to be a writer? A writer is someone who can stir emotions by using correct grammatical tools. Now to be a “good writer” transcends that description. I don’t think someone who merely writes words on a page is a good writer, but if those words can make me smile, laugh, cry, and think (very) deeply all at a go, you’ve got a fan in me.

What does the future hold for you, as a writer, blogger or anything else? I hope to keep writing in the future. I have some projects I’m currently working on. I pray that God guides me in the right path as a writer, because I believe He’s the One who ordains our steps in the right direction.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Calls for Submission&Give-away

A Word For Haiti
Blacklondoners Appeal, a London based group are calling on all writers for contribution of short stories, poems and lyrics to a collection of works to be published in May 2010. The book, A Word for Haiti, will be part of BlackLondoners year long appeal to raise funds for Haiti.

BlackLondoners Appeal is about grassroots organizations and communities coming together to help raise funds, raise awareness and help keep the focus on Haiti long after the cameras are gone. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Lambi Fund of Haiti. Writers should send their work to word4haiti@ blacklondonerappeal.com The closing date for all submissions is 20 March 2010

Nigerian Writing Project
Are you tired of the bad press that Nigerians seem to get wherever we go? Do you want to change, influence or dispel the negative perceptions outsiders have about us? And do you want to share some of the passion you have for your country and explain its irresistible draw? And perhaps most importantly – can you write?

We are looking for just 20 brilliant Nigerian writers to take part in a ground-breaking, collaborative publishing project that will entertain, educate and influence readers globally while throwing a positive light on the country of our birth. The Nigerians is a collection of compelling and wittily written pieces that provide insights to help unravel the complex conundrum that is Nigeria. We are looking for unpublished writing between 2000 and 5000 words. The pieces must be upbeat, witty, fictional accounts of a place, an event, a character or a situation that sheds light on Nigeria or its people. We are looking for a range of pieces that are uplifting, real and human, and that give a respectful picture of Nigeria from an insider’s perspective. 

There will be no contributor fees, only the chance to collaborate on this influential initiative, but the selected writers will share equally in the royalties, the copyright and the limelight. Please contact  Moky Makura-moky@mmemedia.co.za if you would like to participate.

The Maple Tree Literary Supplement 
MLTS provides a platform for dialogue or interviews on any topic between and amongst Canadian writers, while featuring their work and, reporting on literary events, landmarks or festivals in Canada and around the world–with an emphasis on their Canadian composition. 

Prospective contributors should browse their site and target submissions at specific sections of the journal. All Contributions and enquiries should be sent to submissions@mtls.ca. 

And the Sentinel Give-Away...
Sentinel Poetry Movement is set to give out a year's subscription to African Writing Magazine worth £21.00. 
For a chance to get this giveaway, submit a book review - any book of poetry, fiction or drama, or other Essays on any aspect of literature to Sentinel Literary Quarterly before midnight March 31st 2010. 

Every author that submits material will be eligible to win. A winner will be picked at random. Submission of a review does not mean we will publish it. You may still win, even if your review is not published. No correspondence will be entered into. If there are enough quality submissions to make the SLQ editor feel like dancing, he might just throw in a second subscription. All reviews should be submitted to sentinel@sentinelpoetry.org.uk 

Oya start writing; get published and win something. Have a fab weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mark Your Calendar...

There are many reasons why I love Lagos. One of the reasons just has to be literary events...Lagos has it. Name it plays, poetry performances, readings, book tours; sometimes there's a clash you have to decide which one to attend. 

Now, here's another clash between BookJam@Silverbird and Poetry Potter. Well, you decide which works for you!


BookJam@Silverbird
The objective of the BookJam is to provide literary entertainment for the public by creating opportunities for book lovers to meet and discuss with writers and other artists.

The first edition of “The BookJam @ Silverbird” will hold between 3 to 5 pm on Saturday 27 February 2010, at Silverbird Lifestyle store, Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way, VI, Lagos. 

The Guest Writers

Kaine Agary, author of Yellow Yellow and winner of the 2008 NLNG-sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature

Eghosa Imasuen, author of To Saint Patrick

Jude Dibia, author of Walking with Shadows and Unbridled and winner of the 2007 NDDC/ANA-sponsored Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Prose.

Michela Wrong, British writer and the author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kutz which won a PEN Prize for nonfiction], I Didn’t do it For You and It’s Our Turn to Eat which was selected as one of the top ten books of 2009 by The Economist magazine.

A. Igoni Barrett, award-winning author of From the Caves of the Rotten Teeth.  

The hip-hop singer MI is also expected to attend the event as a special guest. 

Each of the guest writers will be interviewed on the Silverbird TV morning show “Today on STV”, and immediately afterwards on Rhythm 93.7 FM, on the following dates:Jude Dibia—19 February; Kaine Agary—23rd February; Eghosa Imasuen—26th of February. So, listen up!

Poetry Potter

Poetry Potter is the hub for poetry performers, writers and spoken word addicts. It usually happens every month. The next edition is slated for Saturday, 27 February 2010

Time:    03:00 - 07:00pm                           Venue: Rotunda Hall Alagomeji Lagos

And Lola Shoneyin Launches her Collection of Poems.
Lola Shoneyin launches her new collection of poetry, "For the love of flight". The poems in this volume range from the politically strident, the fiercely feminist, the soft and sensual to the satirically stringent. Shoneyin refines the style that has kept her audience eagerly awaiting this new collection.


Thursday, 25 February 2010
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: JB's Grill, Maitama Amusement Park



This is for all our Kenyan readers.
Cut Off My Tongue will leave you speechless! It rants, sweats, and breaks into song and dance as it explores the truths that shape us Modern Africans: Our beliefs, the way we behave and why.

Woven into music and dance, Sitawa Namwalie’s dramatised poetry is moving and frighteningly honest. It is politics – and love – that bites as it teases!

See it at USIU Auditorium, 2nd March 2010, 6pm.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

'Writers are Professional Eavesdroppers'--Favoured Girl























Three adjectives that describe you: Passionate, Dreamer, Loyal

Why and how did you become part of the “In My Dreams it was Simpler” project? The series grew out of a story I wrote in 2008. It all started when I came across a wedding album on Facebook and I thought the groom looked like a cousin of mine who was already married to someone else. Then, I wrote a short story titled My Dilemma. I put it on my short story blog and also pasted it as a note on Facebook. I got good feedback from people who read it, and lots of people asked for a Part 2 to the story. Initially I didn’t think about it until someone left a comment saying that the story could be turned into a series. That caught my attention and it sounded like a neat idea, so I decided to expand it. Then, I invited some bloggers and asked if they were interested in writing a group story. Thankfully, they agreed to come on board and the series began on our blog, which we updated every Friday. The other writers are: Latifat Ayoola, Tade Thompson, Ayodele Alofe, Diamond Hawk, Jaycee, Rayo, Flourishing Florida and Writefreak. Each of us writes from a different character’s point of view.

What’s your blog address? I have three blogs: my general musings blog; my fiction blog; my personal take on relationships.

Which of the characters do you write? I write for Lola in the series. She is the troublemaker in the group. She’s feisty and blunt, but she has a vulnerable side.

What did you hope to achieve with the character? I want people to be able to relate to Lola as a person. She has her flaws, but she knows what she wants and she stands for what she believes. She often sees things in black and white, and she is not afraid to speak her mind or take risks.

How did you connect that character to the whole plot of the story?  When I wrote the short story, Lola was the narrator, and the story focused on her and Titi, another character. So she is quite central to the entire plot.

Were there any challenges writing from just one perspective? No, it was fun. Lola has enough drama for one person. Writing from one person’s point of view was good because that is how we are in real life. We know our own point of view, but we can only guess at others.

What one lesson did you learn from this ‘group’ experience? I’ve learnt that collaboration works! When we first decided to start the series, we had no idea how it would turn out but it has worked very well. The series has brought different styles and ideas together to create something that I could not have thought of on my own. And of course, the actual writing for Lola has helped me improve my writing in subtle ways.

What books are currently reading? I’m currently reading “Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman” by Ogo Akubue-Ogbata” and I’ve got two non-fiction books on my desk to read next.

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh? I’ve just been reading the comments on the second instalment of Season 2. I love how our readers are very involved in the lives of the characters.

In your view, how has internet changed the face of publishing? The internet has opened up so many possibilities in publishing. Previously, writing and publishing was only a paper and ink affair, but that is no longer the case. We now have blogs, online magazines, e-books that can be uploaded and downloaded at the click of a button, video blogs, and much more. Content is also widely available whereas before the publishers were the gatekeepers that decided what consumers read, now we have opportunities for writers to access their target audience directly. Self-publishing is also on the rise because writers can now take their work to a much wider audience than they could before the internet came along. It’s all very exciting. 

What’s your take on the Nigerian publishing scene? Good things are happening, thank God. I’m very glad that there are now more publishers willing to take our writing to an audience. A few years ago, the publishing landscape was bare, but now we are seeing progress, slowly but surely.

List five of your favorite blogs and why?  Just five? Okay let me try:
  • Good Naija Girl – I like GNG because she comes across as very real and humble. Her posts always bring a smile to my face. 
  • Vera – I admire Vera, she has been one of blogville’s most consistent bloggers. She is a good writer and she is very funny too. 
  • Solomonsydelle – She is very dedicated, she runs her household, but she still finds time to update her blogs frequently and she talks about real issues that she is passionate about.
  • BGLH – I read this blog for all things on hair, particularly natural hair. It’s been an invaluable site for me in my transition and learning process. 
  • Bagucci - I like his writing style and the random, entertaining tit-bits he talks about on his blog 

What are you scared of? The only thing I’m scared of is having regrets, wishing I could turn back the clock.

What inspires your writing? I’m fascinated by people and their experiences. The things they say, their hopes, fears and dreams. I usually get inspiration from conversations, songs, personal stories, events, everyday life, characters in books or on TV, people I meet in the local post office and so on. Inspiration can take many forms, and sometimes it comes right out of the blue.

What is the worth of a book? A book is worth far more than the ink and paper it is printed on. From a writer’s point of view, a book is the culmination of months of imagination, research, brainstorming, and countless hours spent typing, editing, rewriting and reading. From a reader’s point of view, it is an experience that takes me away from my present space and time, into another world. It is information and inspiration, knowledge, entertainment and education. One should feel enriched and empowered after reading a good book.

Who are your literary heroes? I have so many, going back to Louisa May Alcott, Mabel Segun, Enid Blyton, Buchi Emecheta and more recently, Rose Tremain, Sadie Jones, Sefi Atta and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’ve learnt different things from each of them. In particular, I am very grateful for the friendship and support of Abidemi Sanusi. She’s taken me under her wing since I began my writing journey. She has and continues to be a source of inspiration, encouragement and motivation

What does it mean to be a writer? Being a writer comes naturally to me. Words fascinate me, and that’s the way I express myself. I have memories of scribbling made-up stories when I was in primary school. When I was growing up I always kept a journal, and writing was my therapy when I was going through the angst-filled teenage years. It’s how I interpret the world around me. I think for every fiction writer, an active imagination plays a huge part in your life. You observe things and you are inspired to talk about them. I’ve learnt how to take inspiration from real life and turn it into fiction. Creating made-up stories and characters requires observing and imagination. I’ve heard someone say – writers are professional eavesdroppers.

What does the future hold for you, as a writer, blogger or anything else? We will continue writing the series, so there will be a sequel to the first book before the end of this year. I’m working on a novel and a collection of short stories at the moment. In the near future I would like to pursue a degree in Creative Writing or Literature. Long term, I would like to create opportunities for other aspiring writers to develop their voice, improve their craft and market their work. I’ll carry on writing all my blogs too, for the foreseeable future at least. I also want to develop some of my other passions in art and photography, amongst other things.

That's Favoured Girl; watch out for the next dreamer.
Well, if you missed our first post about this wonderful Blogger project, here's another opportunity. 

This fiction series follows the adventures of six intelligent and vivacious ladies - Lola, Funmi, Titi, Dolapo, Temmy and Maureen. They constantly have to deal with the measures of success - striking the perfect balance in all aspects of their lives - their careers, relationships, cultural expectations, friendships, moral dilemmas and the demands of "having it all". The second session of stories just started!

In coming days, we will post excerpts from the book and interviews with the writers. All for your reading pleasure, so watch out!

 It doesn't end there...you should buy the book; here and here too. Own it and read it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Advice for the Young Writer by Alex Keegan

Here's an excerpt from an interesting article from the Internet Writing Journal. Please read every word and take seriously. That's if you are really serious about your craft. I love IWJ, you should go there for more on writing; even add it to your list of fave websites. 

Advice for the Young Writer by Alex Keegan
Becoming a good writer of fiction takes a mass of work. You have to read and read and read: the good, the bad, the ugly and the eye-bleeding atrocious, then some more of the OK, and some more of the good, some more of the very good, the classics, the stuff you don't get first pass, (so read it again) and then you can go back and you'll see that the OK is pretty bad too.

Foothills of Mt. Everest
It takes a minimum of three years' full time study, or 7-10 years of part-time study to get a university degree. Becoming a writer is harder! I think it was Ray Bradbury who said we need to write at least a million words just to make it to the foothills. Seems like a lot? Not really. 3,000 words a day for a year or 1,000 words a day for three years and you're home free. What d'you mean it sounds tough? It IS tough!

A writer is someone who on waking, always thinks, "Now how will I find the time today to write?" If you start writing every day and it becomes a habit, something which gets into your blood. If thirty days down the line the habit is set, then you're a writer, and you'll get there twice as fast as the six-day-a-week writer, ten times as fast as the weekdays only one. Exercise the writing muscles, exercise the soul, become pixel dependent.

Write about things that energise you, that make you buzz, get angry, get sad, emote over. Write about things with weight, meaning, a point. Don't be glib or trite, or clich├ęd, don't re-write Asimov or Chandler, write yourself, be brave, and while you're writing your million words, don't think you have to write LIKE anyone. You are a true original. Think originally.

And when you want me to believe you, paint me pictures, let me see the pain without having it explained. Understand what the pundits mean by show not tell, or better, understand my own term, seduction not instruction. And if you don't understand it, work until you do.

Think about language, style, flow and lyricism. There are great writers with ordinary styles and there are "stylists" who bore the pants off us. Nevertheless, mastering how words work musically and phonetically as well as semantically can give you an extra level of power and set you apart.

Learn about good dialogue, how it is NOT like real speech but artificially creates the illusion of everyday speech. Learn to hone dialogue and read great writers of dialogue -- I love Elmore Leonard for this.

I've said already, read, read, read, read, read, and we know we must write, write, write; but don't forget submissions! Submitting our work after it's had time to settle and then has been seriously reworked is one of the most overlooked essentials to becoming a writer. You write to be read. If you aren't writing to be read stop now and go do something else. To be read means getting published, and to get published you have to get rejected, and rejected and rejected, tens, hundreds even thousands of time. (Take that!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

AAF Writers Workshop

The African Artists' Foundation presents a series of workshops focusing solely on Features Writing. The first workshop in this series is scheduled to hold on the 22nd of February, and is facilitated by Diane Lemieux.

Diane Lemieux is a freelance author of books and a journalist. She specialised in writing feature articles by taking a diploma on Feature Writing from the London School of Journalism. Most of her articles for websites, magazines and newspapers are features.

Interested participants should please send samples of their work to features@africanartists.org on or before the 20th of February 2010.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Online Reading list

Never mind that we've been away for almost a week. You know now, the way companies go on some certain kinds of retreat after a year or more to re-strategise, is it not what it's called? Yes, we were in that mode for almost a week brainstorming on the different attractions to make Bookaholic Blog as sweet as ever. It's all for you our teeming readers :) :)

We were also reading while this was on...so here's a list of our favourite online reading list.

Sentinel Nigeria  Magazine is finally out. Yay! And you can read the best of Nigerian writing only with a click. You can also consider submitting for their next issueSentinel Magazine UK too is out here. 

Guernica Mag--fabulous magazine of contemporary or arts and politics. And yes, they featured Chimamanda's latest short story Quality Street and Simpatico from Sefi Atta

The New Black Magazine--contemporary arts, politics, news, a beautiful pot-pourri of some sorts. 

Helon Habila reviews Chinua Achebe's latest offeringThe Education of a British-Protected Child.

Wordsbody, an arts and culture blog with a huge following (Bookaholic Blog inclusive) was away for almost a year but is back, with a bang. 

Per Contra, international journal of arts, literature and ideas is out with their latest issue. 

All ye writers looking for a publisher, well Mosuro Publisher have a blog here

We wish we could actually do mini-reviews of these websites but we leave you to enjoy your reading trip. Now you have enough to keep you busy till next week. No, we will be back before then :)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Bookaholic Blog is 1

I know we are told not to blow our own trumpet...but who best to blow your tune but you?

Pararararara Pararara Pararara

Ok we'll stick to books...we are really excited about how far we have come with your support and about the journey still ahead.

So as part of our celebrations, we will be giving three books out (1 for Africa, 1 for Europe and 1 for America).

All you have to is come with the best catch phrase that sums up your bookaholic experience.

Send it along with your name and address to bookaholicblog@gmail.com.

Good Luck!

Btw feel free to let us know what you like so far, what you don't like and what you want to be seeing in the new year for us here at TBB.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wale Okediran Reads in Abuja

Fellow Bookaholics living in Abuja should be interested in attending this reading organised by Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). 


The Book
Wale Okediran's latest offering, Tenants of the House is a fictional account of Okediran's tenure as Member of House of Representatives[2004-2007]. It's described severally a masterpiece and represents an important literary milestone in Nigeria's sociopolitical landscape. 

The Event
Date: February 9, 2010 
Venue: Auditorium of the Cyprian Ekwensi Cultural Centre [Garki, Area 10, Abuja] 
Time: 4.00pm prompt. 

There will be readings from the work by the author himself, as well as other distinguished writers, including Eugenia Abu. House Leader, Hon Tunde Akogun will also read excerpts from the work. A further highlight of the event is a short playlet depicting a scene from the work, to be coordinated by the Theatrist - Denja Abdullahi (former Secretary-General of ANA).

The Writer
Wale Okediran, physician, poet, technocrat and politician was until late 2009, President of Association of Nigerian Authors.

For more information, call: 
Dr. Seyi Adigun, Chair, ANA Abuja.: 08030794827 
Jerry Adesewo, PRO, ANA Abuja: 08052771123

Wyvern Publications Short Story Competition

Prizes: 1st £100, plus two runners-up of £25 each.

Entry fee: £3 per entry. Cheques should be made payable to Wyvern Publications.

Stories must be between 1,200 and 1,600 words in length. A separate entry form should be attached to each entry.

Address: Wyvern Publications, Holly Stacey, 29 Nash Close, Lawford, Essex CO11 2LE.

Closing Date 1st March 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Writers and Wars...

Okay here we go again, just stumbling on interesting issues on our website trips. We came across Mantle Thought and that's thanks to Tolu Ogunlesi's Facebook status. The objective of The Mantle is "to provide a forum for the next generation of leaders to be heard—to provide a space for opinions that are different from those found in traditional, established outlets." You may also be interested in contributing to Mantle Thought

The latest 'roundtable' discussion is about writers and wars. Really what's the role of a writer in conflict? Maybe as a writer you've never thought about it--things look so great and a war just isn't on your mind; or you are one of the good optimists that wave off conflict. The thing is whether we accept it or not, there are conflicts in the society, no matter how small they are. Read the thought-provoking contributions here--Tolu Ogunlesi's Art is A Debt We Owe;Vicente Garcia Groyon's We Must Bear Witness and Sehba Sarwar's For Choice. 

Remember that a huge part of Nigerian literature is dedicated to the Biafran Civil War. But that's not all the conflict we've had to deal with. And yes, war, like bad news sells! But how do you stay true to the issues at hand--who is the hero? Who is the villain? How do you portray humans during wars--as there's more to it than the guns? What's writing without 'conflict' anyway? Writers are supposed to be witnesses, aint they? Should a writer sit on the fence? Jump into the war like Christopher Okigbo or fight with words till they are jailed like Wole Soyinka? What say you--what's the role of a writer in conflict? 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Competitions and Fellowships

There are loads of competitions, residencies and calls for submissions flying around. We happenned on the Poets and Writers Submissions Calendar. It's very detailed. Check it here

There's also the Pulitzer Centre and YouTube Project for Reporting. It actually looks like fun--the contest invites non-professional, aspiring reporters to share their stories with the world. More info here

The UN-Habitat Essay Contest is also on."While the urban population in developed countries will remain unchanged in the next two decades, the urban populations in the developing world will more than double. The majority of city inhabitants in the developing world are overwhelmingly young people, and are the most affected by issues of poverty, exclusion, and unemployment, access to housing, water and sanitation." 
Deadline: February 21, 2010. More information here

There's also the World Bank Essay Competition. This time around, they are looking for a great piece on green entrepreneurship ideas. Check here

Bucknell's Emerging Writer Fellowship program offers poets who have recently completed their graduate work the chance to contribute to a thriving poetry center while providing time for the completion of a first book of poems. The Emerging Writer serves as an instructor and staff member in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets in June. The stipend is $20,000. Check here  to see if the cap fits your head. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Write--An Excerpt

"If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever it is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You are a human being with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, so many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by stories. Yours enlarges the circle."

Those are the opening words of 'How To Write' a book by Pulitzer winning writer, Richard Rhodes. I got it as a gift and I've been reading it carefully since then. I don't gulp it down. I sip, slowly. I let each lesson go down my throat touching every part of it before sitting in my belly. As much as I run away from 'how-to' books, this is a good one. Let's jump to another part I like:

"Your thought may not flow like Gertrude Stein's. You. May. Want. To. Write. Like. This. At. First. Feel free. Don't think about how you're writing:write. Everyone knows how to do something: describe a process. How do you untie your shoe? How do you brush your teeth?...Everyone has feelings: how do you feel about something or someone? Set a mirror before you and describe your face. Describe your hands. Are they different or the same? What do your hands have to say to each other? Describe what you taste, hear or see. What parts of you touch the world. Where does the world touch you? How does it feel? What are you thinking? Write it down. What do you think about what you were thinking? Write that down. Write until your time is up." 

You can buy a copy of the book here. It's our way of saying thank you for writing such a good book, BTW, we didn't get any permission before publishing this excerpt. Let's just hope the blog won't go down in a moment. We couldn't help but share :)