Monday, August 30, 2010

An Apology to Wole Soyinka by Okey Ndibe

Witty, critical piece...and more critical. Find it here.

"In the 1960s, the political parties still understood the meaning of party manifestoes and programs. On the stump, candidates for political offices could be expected to speak not about their programs but also to articulate the nature of ideological differences between themselves and their opponents. Today, any ignoramus can run for office. Manifesto is a word now used exclusively by mugus who don’t understand that the import of political office is to cart away millions in security votes, fraudulent contracts, constituency allowances, and sundry bribes.

Nigeria’s political rhetoric has been distilled – dumbed down – to two or three facile phrases, easily digested by even the most ignorant candidates. The standard, pat answer to the question, “Why are you running for office?” is: “To move the nation (or state, or local government) forward,” or “To deliver the dividends of democracy,” or “My people asked me to run.”

Saturday, August 28, 2010

20 Seconds Read: Wisdom from Paulo Coehlo

Okay, I visit Paulo Coehlo's website a lot...although I am yet to lay my hands on any of his works, I find most of the posts very interesting. Here's one that moved me a lot...20 Seconds Read by Paulo Coehlo. Enjoy!


A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked: ‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’ His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson: I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action. 

As I make this post and read the story again, I discover newer things. This would definitely be printed and stay on my "notes wall" for a long time. Read more Coehlo here

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aesthetica Creative Works Contest

Now in its third year, the Creative Works Competition is dedicated to celebrating and championing creative talent across three disciplines: 'Artwork & Photography', 'Poetry' and 'Fiction'.

Three winners, one from each category, will each receive £500 prize money and the winners and finalists will be published in the Creative Works Annual. Other prizes will also be available.

More info here.

Deadline: August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Literature Training Resources

As writers, one way of getting better is learning from other people. Literature Training is one website that has loads of literature resources you would never get tired of learning from.

Check out their resources here.

Happy learning!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Culture of Enterprise Essay Contest

Questions: “Can Character and Communities Survive in an Age of Globalization?”
The Culture of Enterprise Project annually sponsors an international student essay contest on the topic "Can Character and Communities Survive in an Age of Globalization?" The contest is designed to encourage students to reflect on the relationship between free enterprise and the institutions and mores that define a particular culture.

First Place $10,000
Second Place $5,000
Third Place $2,000
Fourth Place $1,500
Fifth Place $1,000

Deadline: December 31, 2010

More information here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One Poem for you...

Here's a Maya Angelou poem for men and women who read this blog. It's a lesson from life...a lesson to keep living; to maybe keep writing too ;) Enjoy!


Lesson

I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping Children.
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sentinel Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2010

First of a planned annual competition as part of the celebration of creativity at the Sentinel Literature Festival to be held at Pearson Lecture Theatre, University College London between October 28th and 31st. Winners of the competition will be invited to read on the last day of the festival - The Awards and Recognitions Day, where their cheques and certificates of achievement will be presented to them. This competition is judged by the legendary Roger Elkin, former editor of Envoi magazine, who has himself won over 100 literary prizes and awards.


Prizes: £250, £130, £70
Entry fees: £5 per poem, £13 for 3 poems, £20 for 5 poems
Judge: Roger Elkin

More info here

All the best!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bookaholic e-Reading List...

As a new week begins, we hope that you have a great week...even as you read these interesting posts online. Enjoy!


Olufemi Terry's Caine Prize Winning Story, "Stickfighting Days"



"Thwack, Thwack, the two of them go at it like madmen, but the boys around them barely stir
with excitement. They both use one stick and we find this swordy kind of stickfighting a bitcrappy. Much better two on one or two on two – lots more skill involved and more likelihood ofblood.

I turn to Lapy. “Let’s go off and practise somewhere. This is weak.” Lapy likes any stickfight, but almost always does what I say. "



Ben Okri Interview in the Guardian UK


"I'd be walking along and suddenly I'd be unable to stand straight and I'd hold on to a lamppost and find the lamppost wasn't solid either. That was a turning point for me. It began a great journey. I don't feel I need to lean on lampposts any more. You need internal lampposts – and a few good friends."

Articles on The Pilgrimages website. Here's an excerpt from Uzodinma Iweala's post!


"I’ve been telling everybody that I’m going to Timbuktu, “No really Timbuktu.”



“Is that even a real place?” I’ve been asked a bunch of times. Wikipedia says its real and full of at least 30,000 people, accessible by road, boat and flight, full of many wonders, so it must be true. How embarrassing it is, how exciting it is to be on the verge of a place that you as recently as two months ago really knew nothing about except for the fact it exists and that a backpack company headquartered in New York makes bags with same name

I should know more. Really and truly I should know more. I should have logged my hours in the library researching, pulling books and scholarly articles, looking at pictures, reading the myriad travel narratives already written about Timbuktu. Sadly I haven’t had the time to do so. Medical school has this way of getting in the way of the really important things."




Nnedi Okorafor's story in Clarkesworld Magazine :


"They will never die. No information dies once gathered, once collected.

The creatures' field guide is thorough but incomplete.

I am the greatest explorer.

I am griot and I will soon join the others.


The Newest Issue of Open Wide Magazine


The Latest issue of ITCH.

The sixth issue of ITCH online is live, and full of fascinating insights into almost 70 private mental worlds, organised around a rather self-centred theme:

i

What is i? Is it you or me? Is it imagination or information? Is it intellect or introspection?

As always, ITCH is crammed full of poetry, short stories, book reviews, experimental writing, photo essays, videos and miscellaneous visual splendour for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Explore!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Get Published by Penguin+Unclear Call for a Writers Workshop!

Do you have a complete manuscript (s)? This may be your opportunity to get published. Grab it! More info on the Penguin Website.
"People frequently ask us how to go about getting published. Our company policy is to not accept unsolicited manuscripts or synopses and we cannot enter into correspondence about unpublished work. However, for a limited three-month period from the beginning of August until the end of October 2010, we will be inviting submissions to be sent in electronically to the following address: submissions@uk.penguingroup.com.
We ask that email submissions comprise a brief covering note and synopsis and not a full manuscripts. Please do not send attachments, please write out your cover note and synopsis in the body of the email. We remain unable to accept hard copy submissions and will not return or be responsible for the safety of any that we do receive, so please do not send any original or hard copy manuscripts to us. We will not contact you with feedback on your submission and will only enter into email correspondence with you if an editor within Penguin is keen to progress your idea."
This Call for Writers is Unclear. We got this call sometime in the week; it got us wondering. Reasons for this are in RED.

An International Development Organization is seeking entries from young creative writers to participate in a residential writing work shop in Abuja ; to enhance participant’s skills in development creative writing. The objective of the Workshop is to identify highly talented but not yet established writers who will be able to write for any of the organization’s outputs. 

Eligibility
Interested applicants must be are able to attend the 5 days residential retreat without the encumbrances of their day-jobs. The applicant must be self motivated and willing to learn new skills. Applicant must show proof of writing. 

Selection Criteria: 
The major factors in selection will be literary achievement and strength of application pack and also the perceived ability to fit into our organization’s writing style (We do not know your organisation neither are we aware of your style!)

How to Apply;
All applicants should send:

1. A one page suitability statement (what does this mean?).
2. A brief bio.
3. alongside a ten page Sample Script (A script? By this, what do you mean: A TV script, a play script, a short story or 10poems, one per page?)+ To think that this is to be generated for a company I am unaware of their writing style. Ten pages, seriously? 

Send application pack to: newwriting2010@yahoo.com 
Application pack should get to the email address on or before close of business 20/08/2010.

Okay everyone, we are just asking questions. You may apply for it if you think that you have the powers to read into the writing style of this organisation...whatever your choice, all the best!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2010 Arvon International Poetry Competition

The 2010 Arvon International Poetry Competition is now open for entries. This prestigious biennial poetry competition was founded by Ted Hughes in 1980 and is one of the UK’s most important open poetry competitions. This year the first prize has increased to £7,500 – the highest ever offered in the competition and one of the most generous prizes available for a single poem. There’s also a special prize of £500, offered in association with The Wenlock Poetry Festival, for the best poem on the theme ‘The Pity of War...’

The competition will be judged by Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, with Elaine Feinstein and Sudeep Sen. It’s open to anyone aged 16 or over, from any country. Poems must be written in English, on any subject, and can be a maximum of 42 lines in length. Previous winners include former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, Don Paterson and Si├ón Hughes.

Deadline: August 16, 2010

More info here

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Book: On A Lot Of Things...

We support new writers in several ways. Here's the newest book on the writing block in Nigeria, On a Lot of Things


"On a lot of things" was written by Ife Osundolire, an architect with a deep passion for stories.

The Book
The book is  a pot-pourri of stories: allegorical stories with undertones of serious national and social issues- examples of which are 'National Greed' and 'Primal instinct'; to stories that capture the everyday lives of urban dwellers and the challenges they face as experienced in "Zone B".

An Excerpt: Dupe's Killers


Prologue
Dupe's killers were not ordinary men. They were fiends - fiends with fiery arms and stale breaths that smelled of charred flesh. I had seen them- they were fiends whose ages ranged from a thousand years to a few millennia. They had been here forever, silent, until Dupe chose to ruffle their nest and let them loose and I would not have been able to discover all of this had I not realized shortly after an accident I had on the factory floor, that I had psychic abilities.

The end
They had found her body at the site of the onslaught, unmoving but with facial features that spoke of determination- not fear. Her face was set and even with closed eyes, were brave; her fists were curled into a ball seeming to hold something and no matter how hard the technicians tried, no one could prise her fingers open to reveal their contents- yet her finger tips were darkened from holding on too long to the fiery robes of the fiends. It was a rather strange phenomenon because the dead were not supposed to retain the power of muscular control and I could tell she was dead simply by looking at her now. Notwithstanding the unusual circumstance, the item in Dupe's clasp remained a mystery. Second, was the scar on her forehead that looked like an ancient symbol long born before words were breathed to life. To the other 'techs' it would look like just a scar but up close I trembled at the mystery such a scar held. None of the bystanders could tell as I could surmise from their crying and fidgeting and obvious confusion as they simply stood in a cluster waiting, while one of them who had tried unsuccessfully to discover what Dupe held on to, lingered on, kneeling, wondering what to do. I knew they were waiting for answers- answers that would make mockery of mystery by revealing its deepest secrets. Most puzzling to me was the total absence of blood at the site of the struggle. Though there were numerous evidences of a serious scuffle- scattered hair, finger imprints and torn clothing, there was no blood as Dupe lay still, very much alive only that she was not breathing.

It had not been so for me.

In my own case, I had also been in that same position, lying still, not moving and not being able to feel my back but there had been a lot of blood. It was many years ago and I had been working on the crane above the boiler when the winch cable cut and I fell thirty feet to the hard grease stained floor. For minutes I just stood there staring at the ceiling, listening to the voices of the other technicians as they called out over my head which was pounding from the fall and the thudding of their footfalls. I could feel blood seeping from my head, warm and wet at first, then turning sticky as it drenched the collar of my overalls. It was a miracle I survived that fall because I was back on my feet not long after I closed my eyes and I never worked the winches again.


What you can do--Buy the Book or join the Online campaign through the following ways: 

  • Change your profile pictures to the cover page of the book for as long as you deem fit.
  • Join the facebook group and invite ALL your friends to do so too
  • Broadcast the website "www.onalotofthings.com" on as many web channels as accessible to you (fb status, twitter, blogs, etc)
  • Upload occasional teaser status updates as sent by me. 
Myne Whitman interviews Ifelanwa Osundolire here. Expect a Bookaholic Interview soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some Writing Notes...

Sometime in May, 2010, we were part of the Lagos 2060 writing workshop. Here are some notes that should help all writers become better. Enjoy. Learn. Practise. Write. And then write some more...


Note 1: Outline your plot and number each sequence, then tackle the sequences one at a time, it will help you tackle the complex themes you might be juggling in a sci-fi story better. It also helps you see any holes in your story structure that need to be plugged even before you write the story.

Note 2: Pay attention to the human angle. No matter what level of science you're dealing with, work on the emotional side of the characters, let's feel we are dealing with real people even if in weird situations.

Note 3: Remember it's LAGOS: 2060 (Let's find your setting in your work!). Let us feel the city, and let us feel it's in the future, but remember it's only 50 years from now, so dont go too overboard....did I add...let it be fun? Yes, that my motive again! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Seven and CIFA Essay Contest

The S.E.VEN Fund (SEVEN) is pleased to announce its 2010-11 Essay Competition in partnership with the Washington DC-based Center For Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA). We are seeking essays on enterprise solutions to poverty from around the globe that are faith-based, faith-inspired, or interfaith efforts. The competition will award two (2) prizes of US $5,000. The submission deadline is October 15, 2010 at midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST). Winners will be announced on December 15, 2010.

Essay Question
Writers are asked to submit a first-person narrative describing enterprise solutions to poverty that are faith-based, faith-inspired, or interfaith efforts. Illustrations may come from any domain, including healthcare, education, consumer products, human rights, and others; examples must represent innovative private solutions to public problems.

Background
We are interested in exploring the relationship of business to faith. Is business, when guided by faith, more effective at creating prosperity around the world? Does a faith perspective change a business’ relationship to its key stakeholders (customers, owners, workers, future generations) in a positive way? Are faith-based and faith-inspired enterprise solutions to poverty more effective than conventional methods? Can interfaith efforts bridge gaps that secular efforts cannot? Does a faith-based understanding of entrepreneurship and profit-making infuse business with a profound moral purpose? Does the combination of sound business principles and concern for others result in sustainable, long-term solutions?

While we often hear of secular efforts to fight poverty and its related issues, we rarely hear profound stories describing the experiences of people who integrate a spiritual perspective. We aim to change that, and are interested in hearing stories exemplifying enterprise solutions to poverty that are faith-based, faith-inspired, or grounded in interfaith collaborations/partnerships.

More information here

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Writers on Writing...

Welcome to the month of August...now this is with all the love from Bookaholic Blog :-) More stories...more smiles...more laughter...more dances. Have a great month...one filled with many August visitors with blessings :-)

Here's a compilation of some writers' words on writing.

"...every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great and original must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished; he must teach the art by which he is to be seen; this, in a certain degree even to all persons, however wise and pure may be their lives, and however unvitiated their taste"
                                                    William Wordsworth

"Every successful novelist must be more or less a poet, eventhough he may not have written a line of verse. The quality of imagination is absolutely indispensable t o him; his accurate power of examining and embodifying human character and human passion as well as the external face of nature, is not less essential; and the talent of describing what he feels with acuteness, added to the above requisites, goes far to complete the poetic character." 
Sir Walter Scott, Lives of the Novelists

"I see but one rule: to be clear. If I am not cleat, all my world crumbles to nothing." 
Stendhal to Balzac

"You don't know what it is to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word. Ideas come very easily to you, incessantly, like a stream. With me, it is a tiny thread of water. Hard labour at art is necessary for me before obtaining a waterfall. Ah I certainly know the agonies of style." 
Gustave Flaubert

"The most important thing in a work of art is that it should have a focus, i.e. there should be some place where all the rays meet or from which they issue. And this focus must not be completely explainable in words. This indeed is one of the significant facts about a true work of art--that its content in its entirety can be expressed." only by itself. "
Leo Tolstoi

Selected from Writers on Writing, compiled and edited by Walter Allen. Buy the book here