Saturday, December 31, 2011

iRead

He ran his left hand through his silky brown hair like he would do when his colleagues at the office were responding too slowly on a task. She held a frozen smile. She stuffed her items into her grey hand bag, yet she knew she wanted to be in that house for five years more. With quick steps, she grabbed her panties from the silver hanger in the toilet. She remembered that night when they had dinner at the Chinese food court in Mega Plaza, how he held her hands every minute, how he asked her softly what they were going to order, how he told her to raise her head from his thighs when she was going to take a nap, because she was too tired from work and he didn’t want people to think she was giving him a blow job in public like Oyibos would make Naija girls do. She was going to miss him taking her out, as usual, for a treat; instead of making her cook dinner for them both.


The young French-Djiboutian author Abdourahman A. Waberi is one of the more inventive of a new wave of African writers, and is also unique in the range of his influences. His work manages to reference authors as diverse as Nuruddin Farah, Rimbaud, and Walter Benjamin, which also gives you a sense of how he has continued to confound expectations of both literary genres and African writing.

This girl whose name eluded him. She was skinny and small and probably more than a little high on the miraa bulging in her cheek. She looked very different from her voice, a rough, rousing roar of four in the morning in those dark little hovels by the roadside, the ones run by fat round women called Rhoda and Francisca who serve cheap lethal brews to broken men in oversized jackets. Now she spat suddenly into a polythene bag magically extracted from somewhere in the complicated folds of her clothes. And then she was unwrapping half of a Big G, chewing it, making rude, rhythmic clicks. She seemed to appreciate the sound more than the flavour. She stared at him the whole time, her large liquid eyes shining out of the khanga that covered her head and framed her face; the rest of it disappeared inside a fur-lined jacket, unzipped half-way down to reveal a T-shirt tucked tight into a pair of worn jeans. Limuru, he knew, got very cold. He wondered what she would do with her jacket in the heat of Kampala. But it was the boots with their steel-tipped points that convinced him this was a malaya, going west to seek new flesh markets. There was no money in Kenya. Everybody was leaving, and lying about it.

The world is now privy to the myriad lies and exaggerations of the acclaimed writer, Professor Christopher Abani regarding his imaginary ordeal in Nigeria’s prisons (mostly Kirikiri). The lies are compelling and give Africa a black eye: The death sentence imposed on him because of his involvement in military coups as a teenager and his alleged witness to the execution of at least one 14-year old through death by nailing of his penis to a chair until he bled to death. The shocking revelations of Abani’s “419” activities are detailed here on my blog.


His mother ruffled his hair, which he hated for its darkness, hair that made him feel marked out, different.  Hair as dark as if Mussolini himself had snuck over the Bavarian border into his mother’s bed, the night Otto was conceived.

He wasn’t the only brunette, of course, but as a general rule where most of the children were large, he was small; where they were clean, he was grubby, and where they were amused, he was bored.  Childhood, to Otto, seemed like very hard work and he found himself wishing away the days from a comparatively young age.
The summer of 1926 was hot and to the twelve-year-old Otto’s delight, mosquitoes laid their eggs in places where it was normally too cold.


Have a great 2012 Bookaholics!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Naijastories Christmas Nostalgia Contest

NaijaStories.com is pleased to announce another online writing contest titled “The Christmas Nostalgia Project”. The purpose in running this particular contest is to encourage the writing of Narrative Non-fiction and also celebrate the season. While we love the massive increase in the number of fiction pieces submitted to the site, there is just something heartwarming about reading true to life recollections.

In Nigeria, only politicians and war generals seem to write or need (auto)biographies, but this should not be the case. In order to prevent collective amnesia, a communities memory is painted in by the personal stories of the individuals that make it up. Naijastories therefore, wants to encourage memoirs, diaries, and non-fiction of the personal variety. As a start, we are keying in to the Christmas spirit, and hereby call for entries recounting experiences of Christmas past in Nigeria, either as a child or an adult.

Dates for Contest:

The contest opens December 12 and submissions end on January 5th 2012.

First round Polls – January 6th – 12th

Judging – January 6th – January 12th

Final Judging – January 13th to January 19th 2012

The winner will be announced by January 20th 2012.


Prizes :

There will be one (3) overall winners in this contest.

First Prize – 100,000 points ($100)

Second Prize – 70,000 points ($70)

Third Prize – 30,000 points ($30)


There will also be 7 consolation prizes of 1000 points each


Contest Guidelines:

1. You must be a registered member of Naijastories.com.

2. Submit your entry as a post with a title that defines your entry.

3. In the body of the post, provide the following;

a, the year and location in which the incident you’re recounting happened,

b, since we cannot determine your reality or fiction, the only rule is that the entry must be written in the first person, “I”,

c, stories should be set in or around the month of December or the 25th specifically,

d, we encourage happy or funny recollections but this is not mandatory .

4. Your entry should be between 500 and 1000 words.

5. Put the entry in the category of “Christmas Nostalgia” and press the button, “Submit for Review”.

Contest Procedure:

There will have 3 stages for determining the winner;

Stage 1. – All the entries that meet the contest rules will be put to the public poll.

Stage 2. – At the same time, the Naija Stories team will score all the accepted entries. This will be added to votes polled on NaijaStories.com to select the top 10 entries. These will proceed to the last round.

Stage 3. – Ikhide Ikheloa will select the winners. (Read about Ikhide HERE)


Judging Criteria:
- The initial site editor will make sure that entries stick to the criteria of non-fiction and the use of first person.

- Second round judges will be checking for clean use of the English language, so polish your grammar and keep typos to a minimum please! We will also be looking for creativity, so go on and give it your all.

- The final judge will be looking for great writing. Be genuine! Be unique! Be original! Use this as an opportunity to pay tribute to the best/worst/funniest Christmas of your life.

If you have any questions, please send a mail to info@naijastories.com.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Bookaholics! Enjoy!

Christmas Season



by Roger W Hancock


Church Bells ringing, carolers singing,

this the time of Christmas season.

Jesus Christ our celebration,

of His birth to a virgin, Mary.



Forest tree cutting, bows decorating,

this the time of season cheering.

Gifts of wise men start tradition,

gifts between us, friends and family.



Turkey trimming, great pie fillings,

this the time of Christmas feasting.

Christ’s last supper, our convention,

remembering Christ at Calvary.



Church Bells ringing, Carolers singing,

this the time of Baby Jesus.

Born to die for our redemption,

within our spirits, souls be merry.



(c) December 9, 2008 Roger W Hancock PoetPatiot.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Introducing Book Republic by Emotion Press

Book Republic is a Nigerian literary blog established by Emotion Press. It is basically dedicated towards promoting the reading culture in Nigeria.


In our creative way, as usual, we plan to write on both old and new books and other things that matter in the Nigerian literary scene.

Every forth night, from January 2012, we will be hosting a Guest writer. The Guest writer series will feature essays and interviews by the writer.

The Book Republic blog is http://www.progresspublishing.wordpress.com/

As Emotion Press' two releases - The Man In The Moon and The Grasshopper Race - will be out in December, the first ten followers of the blog will be given the electronic copy of those books free of charge! They will be the first ten people to read the books.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book N Gauge VII: Poetry Party

Just like yesterday, the year began; just like this morning, we started Book N Gauge. We have been here for seven months, reading books, asking questions and entering the worlds of imagination. We think this calls for celebration.  We have the Saraba Mag team with us on this; they would be giving out awards for the PEN/Saraba Poetry Prize.

What are we waiting for? We have an interesting line-up of poets and activities; let’s dive in even as we hope that you RSVP the event, share the event on your blogs, Facebook profiles, invite your friends and get more people interested in reading. That’s the small request we have? And yes, the poetry party is our Christmas gift to all booklovers 

Benson Eluma: Poet and Academic
Born in Abeokuta, grew up in Lagos. Eluma has a degree in Communication, Language Arts and Classics, from the University of Ibadan. A confirmed Academic and poet, his interests range from caricatures and rhetorical analysis, psephology, ethnography of conflicts, art criticism, sexualities, the politics of language and virtual society. We guess he will tell us more about these big big words on Saturday. He is currently a PhD Student at the Institute of African Studies while he works as a Research Fellow at the Institut Fran├žais de Recherche en Afrique (IFRA), Ibadan.

When Benson is not thinking of Tolulope Odebunmi, he is drinking beer with a riotous conclave of friends while doing stuff online or battling with words in the early hours of the morning or coming to terms with the absurd. Go figure!

Akeem Lasisi: Journalist, Poet and Academic
Looking for the physical definition of “son of the soil’? We present to you, Akeem Lasisi. Born in Ibadan in 1967; attended Ibadan District Council School, Solalu; Iroko  Community Grammar School, Iroko; Oyo (now Osun),  Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and the University of Lagos for his Masters and is at present a doctoral candidate in the English Department.

Lasisi is the Features/Arts Editor of PUNCH by day and poet by night. He is a two-time winner of the ANA/Cadbury Prize for Poetry.  He has three albums of music poetry, ‘Post Mortem’, (1999), ‘Ori Agbe’ (2004), ‘Wonderland/ Eleleture’ (2011). Traditional poetic forms like  Ijala, Esa Egungun, Iremoje, Ekun Iyawo, Ege Egba and Oku Pipe are a great source of inspiration to Lasisi, who is renowned for toeing the steps of Yoruba oral poets.  He is also the author of works ‘Ekun Iyawo: The Bride’s Chant’, ‘Right Option English: Lexis and Structure for Secondary School Students’ and ‘Goodness and Messi: A Collection of Jokes.’

He has performed at events organised by the Ford Foundation, British Council, French Cultural Centre, the USIS, Goethe Institut, GTBank and MTN.  He performed at POETRY Africa in Durban, South Africa in (2003) and Africultures, Berlin, Germany (2009).

Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar: The Writer-as-a-Civil-Servant
Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar has a Master’s degree in Law & Diplomacy. He has a rich working experience with the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) at the state and national levels. He writes poetry, fiction, drama and essays.  His work has been published in Hints, Daily Times, Weekly Trust, Fifty Nigerian Poets, Punch, THESE! Magazine online. He was a Finalist on Poetry.com in 2002 for the poem "Love affair" and subsequently published in anthology "Letters from the Soul.”  He writes with the pen name Mmaasa Masai. Married to Rahmah-Allah and blessed with a daughter, Imani, he is currently a Planning Officer at National Commission for colleges of education, Garki, Abuja. Speaking of the “writer-as-a-civil-servant.”

Ekweremadu Franklin Uchenna: Writer
Ekweremadu Franklin Uchenna resides in Kaduna State of Nigeria. Apart from poetry, he also writes short stories and drama. His works have appeared in Flashquake, Sentinel Nigeria Literary, A&U American AIDS Magazine, Wilderness House Literary, and elsewhere. He is working on his first novel.

We have special appearances of poets Niran Okewole, Jumoke Verissimo and Tade Ipadeola.

Performers

Ijofire: For the first time on Book N Gauge, we will have a dancer and choreographer; well that’s why it’s a poetry party ;) Ijofire, improved his dancing as a student of the Department of Drama, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He has thrilled many crowds with his dancing. Dancefire performed at the Nike Art Gallery, Osogbo; choreographed for Ajantala, for the 50th Anniversary and for the Osun Contingent at the Abuja Carnival last month.

Plumbline studied as a Geo-scientist, rather than digging oil pipes; he “mines” words. Influenced by poets like the late Mamman Vatsa and the late Ken Saro Wiwa, the songwriter and spoken word artist wrote poetry from his secondary school days.  He performs Spoken Word Poetry at most Lagos Events like Wordslam, Anthill, Taruwa and hosts Chill and Relax. His words dash straight through the heart of the audience and leaving them with thoughts, little mementos to take home.

Aduke is a lady of the strings, with a fantastic voice to complement it. She has opened many shows. She is also an active member of Crown Troupe. Aduke is a different person on stage, in a role; different character on stage with a guitar. Watch out for her album next year.

Auction Session: There will be an auction session. What do you get? Latest books that you can only find online. Hot CDs that are yet to be on the streets (loads of them!). A CD of all Saraba Mag editions (I bet that’s a collector’ item!). The lovely purple Pulpfaction Club T-Shirt (A few people have the shirt!). And yes, the big one: a Kindle so you can take your books everywhere you go. What can we say? E fit be you o!

Open Mic: For the first time ever, we will be giving upcoming poets the stage. Do you have a favourite poem, yours, an old Saraba poem or just a classic? Then send us a short profile with the title of the poem you would love to perform: pulpfactioner@gmail.com
Also:                                        

·        A one-on-one interaction between authors, performers and readers.

·        A platform for book enthusiasts to meet, interact and network. (Members of PulpFactionClub on Facebook and followers on Twitter would have a grand opportunity to meet).

·        Freebies, lots of it. Let’s start with this. Invite five friends, ensure they come for the event and win a free book.

·        Live performances by: Jeffrey Plumbline and Aduke

·        Book signing.

DATE:  17th December, 2011

TIME: STRICTLY 2pm – 5pm

VENUE: Debonair Bookstore, 294, Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba.

Remember: Bring five friends and win a free book! Gifts are available for early birds too.

RSVP EVENT here 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Introducing: Lumina Literary Agency

The progress of any nation is inter-twined with the quality of the imagination of the people and Lumina Literary Agency has taken up the mandate to contribute to the sustenance of both the quality and quantity of Nigerian writers. It is this self-imposed cultural agenda that necessitated the birth of Lumina Literary Agency (one of the subsidiaries of the Lumina Foundation) in Nigeria. The new agency is poised to aggressively scout for new and undiscovered talents, edit manuscripts, and provide publishing opportunities and publicity as a means of promoting these writers.

Due to the dearth of publishing in Nigeria, thousands of gifted Nigerians eager to share their stories have limited or no outlets for their writing. Hence, Lumina Literary Agency has arrived to fill the void.

The relationship between creative enterprises and commercial enterprises may not be very obvious in a society such as ours, and in such interesting times we live and produce. What is visible is the amount of creative resources Nigeria as a country is blessed with. These resources as we can perceive need nurturing and careful mentoring. It is on this premise that Lumina Literary Agency has chosen to search, edit, and publish talents as our entry point into the business of imagination and imageries. The Agency will be working in collaboration with Oracle publishers in Lagos, Nigeria. It is interested in adult fiction, collections of short stories, children’s fiction, and Poetry. At least one of each of these genres will be published every year.

Lumina Literary Agency will also provide editing and proof-reading services at the rate of N300 (naira) per page. However, writers selected for publication will not pay for anything. In due course, more information can be obtained at: www.luminafoundationsoyinkaprize.com 

To kick off its activities, Lumina Literary Agency hereby calls for short stories of not more than 2,500 words from Nigerian Writers. Other African writers living anywhere in the world can also submit their stories. Sixty of these short stories will be selected and their authors will be invited for a workshop in Lagos in July 2012. At least one Nobel Laureate will be one of the facilitators of this workshop.

Deadline for submission is January 31, 2012. After the workshop, further selections would be from the work done at the workshop and these will be published in three collections. Royalty will be paid to the authors in the published collections accordingly. Reading sessions and short tours will also be organized to give the authors and their work ample publicity.

For submissions and for further inquiries, contact the coordinators:

ogochukwupromise@yahoo.com and unomaazuah@gmail.com

Ogochukwu Promise and Unoma Azuah
Coordinators.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book N Gauge VI: Pictures







Who says Nigerians are not reading? Next Book N Gauge holds on December 17, 2011 at Debonair Bookstores, Yaba. 2pm. It is always fun with music, readings and question sessions. Where would you rather be?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

IRep Film Show



On Saturday, Irep would be showing Pina at Silverbird Galleria. Pina is a feature length dance movie in 3D featuring th unique and inspiring art of great German Philosopher, Phillipina "Pina" Bausch who died in the summer of 2009. the film was directed by German director, Wim Wenders.

RSVP event here

Saturday, December 3, 2011

iRead


Your dreams hold your days together.
            You spend your time transforming stars into

kitchen implements that you could bake potatoes in. 
            Or coming up with one good reason for crying

over dirty socks or falling asleep each night with all
            the lights on in the house. Waking, you can’t help

remembering the first, but not the only, time
            you took off all your clothes and stood there



"She knows that the blonde does not really want to help her. She can hear her thinking, "Afrikaanse woman, with jeans that look like they come from Wibra and a shirt that is frayed and faded, what can she want in this boutique? What can she afford?"

Oge ignores her and feels a silk dress that looks like a nightie. The woman appears right beside her and without waiting for Oge to ask says, " three hundred euro, mevrouw", her voice comes out sounding like a toothpick being snapped in little pieces. Oge knows that she is making an effort to remain polite and she enjoys it. She wonders for how long she will remain polite.

Oge walks to the opposite end of the air-conditioned shop and runs her hands against a skirt. The woman's bobbed hair brushes the back of her head as she comes and positions herself behind her, offering the price in a weary voice, "three hundred and fifty." Oge wonders if she thinks she cannot read. For Pete's sake, the price is hanging on it in neat dark print.


"I will take that", Oge says, feeling heady, the way her earning power makes her feel.




Baba Luku cleared his throat and spat. ‘We’re all going to join them one day,’ he answered. ‘Nothing to be scared of. But that’s not to say protection is not helpful. You have to be close to God.’ He dipped his hand into his pockets and brought out a plastic rosary with a small wooden crucifix at its end and a Gideon’s Bible. He wound the rosary around the Bible and slapped it on his left palm three times. ‘No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper,’ he said, in English. ‘Lailai.’

He waved the Bible over his head, as though swiping at flies. He switched back to Yoruba. ‘There’s nothing to fear in the daytime. It is at night that you have anything to fear.’ The Bible fell from his hand. He cursed and snatched it up, offering a sign of the cross with his head tilted upwards, as if offering a silent apology to heaven. He dusted the Bible on his sokoto and blew at it endlessly, and then carefully placed it back in his pocket. Bayo watched this ritual patiently. A lone black bird circled overhead. Then another joined it. There was silence. A cough floated in from far off.

"If you are to ask me what are the greatest issues in Africa, I would say it is that people love, people fuck, people kiss, people speak."



You heard there was another bomb blast yesterday? Not in Maiduguri this time, in a new place, Dama-something. Yes, people died. Those mallams are serious o, we can’t stop them again. I saw it coming. After the police did their mago-mago and executed Yusuf in jail, wetin you expect? Trouble, of course! Those abokis are not cows—you can’t control them by cutting off the head, by killing their leaders. I will tell you free of charge, Yusuf’s murder was a big mistake. And the army made matters worse. Too many people died, my friend, just too many. You saw the pictures? Home-made guns and cutlasses against automatic rifles and grenades; bodies scattered everywhere like firewood. But that’s what happens when you recruit stark illiterates into your police and army. Open extortion, rampant brutality, senseless shootings. See Odi, see Apo Six, see Ogoni Nine, and now Boko Haram



These are just excerpts to whet your appetite; follow the links! Have a great day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Drear-Nighted December by John Keats

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
Apollo's summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would 'twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.

John Keats

Happy new month Bookaholics. May the new month usher you into a great 2012.