Thursday, December 31, 2009

From the Bookaholics With Love...

“The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake. The five most important words: You did a good job. The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion? The three most important words: If you please. The two most important words: Thank You. The one most important word: We. The least important word: I.” -Author Unknown

This is a thank you note to all readers of Bookaholic for making 2009 a fabulous 'Bookaholic' year. Since we started in February 2009, we've had over 19,000 hits and 74 followers.Thank you for sticking with us from our very first post to this very post.

Thank you for taking time to read the interviews, despite their length. Thank you for glancing through some pieces that seemed to 'lose you' at some point. Thank you for taking part in our debates, that don't come so often. Thank you for trusting those links enough to visit; and for telling us when they were broken. Thank you for enduring with us when we made promises we couldn't keep. Thank you for showing us every single mistake that we made--it was an opportunity for a better post. Thank you for being there to tell us your opinion, for whom do we write if we don't know what you think? Every single comment on this blog is valued. Thank you for visiting despite all. Most importantly, thank you for allowing us focus on you even as we share our love for books.

As a new year beckons, is there anything you'd like to see on this blog? Do you have any suggestions to make Bookaholic a better haven for book lovers? Feel free to let us know. Happy 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Hot Now...

This holiday is time to get away. Yes, away from work and everything that makes our lives monotonous. Well, before work (and life) resumes. Life is real good lazying around with a cold glass (of anything) and a good book. Or reading stuff online that make you chuckle (now that's away from all the comic relief about dear president and the failed suicide bomber!). That's what the holiday allows us. Here are some online literary magazines you can read even as you plan 2010.

While you enjoy Saraba, you can also read interesting articles the Maple Tree Literary Supplement here. It has an interesting response to Chimamanda's 'Danger of a Single Story' here.  African Writing Issue 8 also has real good pieces to last you this break. Well, that's what's hot right now. Enjoy!!!

NB: You can also check their submissions tab (on the websites) for info if you'd like to be part of these projects!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Here Comes Saraba IV...

Saraba Magazine has suceeded in making a name for itself in literary circles--issue after issue.  Here's Issue IV, please download a free copy of the electronic magazine from the website. You can also download previous issues and the new poetry chapbook (Of Rhythm and Reason with an Introduction by Niran Okewole).

And of course, Saraba Mag is fast becoming the budding writer's hub. You can consider submitting your pieces to them next year. They have their themes and deadlines all spelt out. The first issue would be in March and would focus on The Niger Delta (which we are so looking forward to!). The issue hopes to explore the crossroads between the arts and this much talked about place. Entries for unsolicited fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, creative essays, new journalism, reviews and interviews would close on January 31, 2010. Feel free to visit the website for more information on this.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We'll keep it short today!

Christmas for us at The Bookahlolic Blog is about sharing love which we believe is the reason for the season. God's ultimate expression of His love was sending Jesus to redeem us from sin.

So whether or not you got a new dress or book, we hope that you'll enjoy today by sharing love to everyone you meet. Even during one of the wars, the soldiers put down their guns and enjoyed a game of footie.

Want something bookish today? The story of the birth of Jesus recorded in the Bible.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Books and Christmas

We recently came across an interview with several authors talking about the books and Christmas in O magazine. Here is our take.

Dad-an inspirational or self help book.

Mum-a little compact book on life and love.

Sister-Enid Blyton girls classic.

Brother-adventure book or comic strip.

Grandma-books on cooking, quilting, sewing and all manners of crafts.

Grandad-history, geography and science titles.

Friend-a joke book.

We hope this helps make your Christmas shopping a tad easier!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Books and Movies

Every now and again, don't you watch a great film and then find out it was adapted from a book?

You immediately rush out and get a copy of the book to fill in the gaps, answer niggling questions or find out how much is the Hollywood factor. Sometimes it is the other way round, you read the book and then go and see the movie. Many people become polarised on one side of the Books vs Movies debate, other times you are able to appreciate both for what they are. Here are a few books that have been turned into movies, let us know what you think about them and other titles that might tickle your fancy.

The Color Purple

The Notebook

Imitation of Life


Romeo and Juliet

What better way to enjoy the festive season with a movie and its accompanying book?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Matters Now...

We don't know if you've seen it yet. But here's a lovely e-book. There are so many things about it: creativity at its best, collection of the best of short pieces from different people and hey people, it's free. Enjoy some quotes from the book here:

"Art can’t happen without someone who seeks to make a difference. This is your art, it’s what you do. You touch people or projects and change them for the better." Seth Godin

"Until Fear is gone, (and realize he may never completely leave) make the decision to be courageous. The world needs your story in order to be complete.''Anne Jackson

"Dignity is more important than wealth. It’s going to be a long, long time before we can make everyone on earth wealthy, but we can help people find dignity this year (right now if we choose to)"Jacqueline Novogratz

"If not excellence, what?" Tom Peters

"Education has a ripple effect. One drop can initiate a cascade of possibility, each concentric circle gaining in size and traveling further. If you get education right, you get many things right: escape from poverty, better family health, and improved status of women. Educate a girl, and you educate her children and generations to follow" John Wood

"Storytelling is powerful. It helps us understand, make choices and can inspire us."Alisa Miller

Here's the link to What Matters Now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Myne "Mends Our Hearts"

Myne Whitman takes us into the "tickling" world of romance with her new book A Heart to Mend, which beckons us into Gladys' open future as she meets Edward with a closed past. Now that's too simplistic for a novel that's more than romance as you need to find out what's closed and what's open. Good it takes us away from the stories we are almost tired of reading; those ones that weigh us down with a certain sense of responsibility or pessimism (as the case may be). Not that there's anything wrong with that. What I am saying is that it's necessary fresh air.

Am I generalising? Okay how many love stories written by Nigerians (Africans) have you read this year? Oh you tell me there are more pressing issues peculiar to Africa--poverty, corruption, power play, wars and more pressing ones like President Yar' Adua's health. True, but don't forget that there are still love stories here too. It's good to read something different. Some may say it's ideal to think about love amidst all these but love (romance) still exists against all odds.

Alright away from my rant, take a sneak preview of the novel here.

Also expect an interview with Myne on Bookaholic soon. It's in the works!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Readings this Weekend...

Toni Kan and Teju Cole have published stories (Nights of the Creaking Bed and Every Day is for the Thief) about Lagos, the city that makes people with nine lives. They'll be talking on Saturday. More details:
Date: Saturday, 19th December
Time: 4pm
Venue: Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi

And a Christmas Bookfest...
Trilogy Book Lounge (TBL), mobile bookstore and rentals invites you to the end of year Christmas book fest on Sunday 20 December. TBL hopes to make you read. Laugh. Love. Live.
Venue: 40 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Guest: Jude Dibia

More reasons to be there--autograph signing session, blow-out discount rates, refreshments and of course some gifts (Xmas is in the air!). For more information, email or call/text 08099553924 (to get an invite and confirm participation)

The Writer
Prize winning author, Jude Dibia, reads from his novels and short stories. Jude was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He has a B.A in Modern European Languages (German) and works in the aviation/travel sector. Visit Jude's blog here. Read a Bookaholic interview with him here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Favourite Websites of 2009

One of the advantages of the internet is that you can read and read until you are tired of reading. Overtime, we have developed great love for some websites for different reasons. Do you have any fav literary sites? Any interesting websites we should know about? You can add to the list. There are loads more but here are ten of our favourite websites:

African Writer: This is the budding writer's hub for literature from Africa. There seems to be a preference for Nigerian literature though. One of the websites you should consider submitting you works to. Who knows? You can be published on African Writer.

Postal Poetry: Simple and beautiful website with poetry post cards. A good site to lazy around with good poems.

Language Hat: Read about different essays about impressions and issues about different languages. Here's their favourite rave review: "Evidence that the internet is not as idiotic as it often looks. This site is called Language Hat and it deals with many issues of a linguistic flavor. It's a beacon of attentiveness and crisp thinking, and an excellent substitute for the daily news."

Literature Training:  This is the writer's zone when it comes to submission news, professional development (as a writer), jobs and opportunities, funding of every kind. Not forgetting their e-newsletter. In short, it's a site for every writer-in-training.

Sentinel Poetry: Good poetry, Sentinel Competitions and things just got hotter with the Sentinel Nigeria Online.

StoryMoja: Kenyan and very African website for up-to-date literary gist from that end. They always come up with very interesting ways to make literature accessible--from competition news, to prompt writing contests, events news, advice for writers and of course the free stories. I so love the accessible web layout.

African Cities Reader: I am always thrilled by African cities. This tells us different things at the same time. On the website, it says "In many senses African cities are amongst the most generative and vibrant places on the planet. Yet, we know next to nothing about what goes on in the places. Not that there is any shortage of caricature, hyperbole or opinion about what makes African cities such quintessential spaces of dystopia and atrophy. We believe that a range of interventions that seek to engage the shape-shifting essence of African cities are long overdue and present this modest initiative as one contribution to a larger movement of imagination to redefine the practical workings of the African city."

Chimurenga:  Staying true to their slogan 'Who no Know go Know'. Trust me, you just need to read parts of their issues, past and present online. And of course buy them. Chimurenga boasts of high quality writing. And quite fun to read.

3Quirks Daily: Visit this website for interesting reads from around the web on a daily basis. And this isn't limited to literature but science, design, literature, current affairs, art, and anything fascinating. They stay true to giving you a one-stop intellectual surfing experience!
Poets and Writers: Poets and Writers will take you from inspiration to publication. There are articles to read from various websites; you have a comprehensive guide to getting an MA; and there are tools for writers. This website should be bookmarked on your computer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lagos Meets Abuja

Now all Bookaholics based in Abuja should be excited. You can hang out with Teju Cole, author of Everyday is for the Thief. This is most definitely going to be fun...we were at the reading at CCA with Jumoke Verissimo so we know a lil already. So where would you rather be?

The Writer
Teju Cole is a writer and photographer currently based in Brooklyn. He has worked as a cartoonist, dishwasher, lecturer, gardener and haematology researcher. His writing has appeared in various journals in Nigeria and the US. Every Day is for the Thief is his first novel. He also writes a regular column on Next. And famous for his Letters to a Young Writer (which we think all budding writers should google, read and re-read).

The Book
A young man decides to visit Nigeria after years of absence. Ahead lies the difficult journey back to the family house and all its memories; meetings with childhood friends and above all, facing up to the paradox of Nigeria, whose present is as burdened by the past as it is facing a new future. Along the way, our narrator encounters life in Lagos. He is captivated by a woman reading on a danfo; attempts to check his email are frustrated by Yahoo boys; he is charmingly duped buying fuel. He admires the grace of an aunty, bereaved by armed robbers and is inspired by the new malls and cultural venues. The question is: should he stay or should he leave?

The Reading
Venue: Pen and Pages Bookshop Plot 79, Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, White House, Wuse 11
Date: Monday 14th December (Tomorrow).
Time: 6pm
Pass: FREE entry ( don't have to pay!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Travel Writing Contest

Been anywhere you found so interesting or significant? Writing about your experience can win you something. Read on.And don't ask me for the prize, it seems it's the opportunity to be published.

Homestead Publishing, exclusive publishers of travel literature, will release an Anthology of Travel Writing on Nigeria in 2010.  As such management has instituted a Travel Writing contest open to all Nigerians, home and abroad, who have a travel story to share.


  • All subjects will be considered: destination profiles, sight-seeing and recreation trips, festivals, coronations, recollections of place, vacation spots, historical and architectural landmarks, and so on. 
  • All submissions, however, must be engaging, descriptive and factual, fun-to-read and engaging; the travelogues and narratives must also reflect a sense of place. 
  • Submissions should be at least 1000 words long but must not exceed 2,000 words. Poems are excluded from this contest. 
  • Entrants may submit more than one story. And all such stories may either be already-published pieces or previously unpublished. 
  • A panel of three non-fiction writers will sieve through all submissions and select the best 25 entries for the proposed anthology. 
  • Competition open to all Nigerians who can communicate their thoughts effectively in writing 
  • Entries to be typed (single spacing) on A4-size MS Word page. 
  • Submissions must include a short bio of the author, title of submission, address (physical and email), sex and telephone numbers. 
  • Homestead Publishing retains the right to edit and publish all/ a selection of short listed entries on its website (, magazine and its future publications. Writers will, of course, retain copyrights to their entries. 

Deadline: All entries must reach us on or before 30th January 2010.
Send your submissions to: OR
For enquiries call: +234 803 973 2757

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So you ITCH to be a writer?

Now this is a call for submissions by ITCH Online, an unusual but creative online expression for art of diverse forms. Learn more about how you can be part of their latest call for submissions here. Maybe ITCH Online would temporarily stop that itch to be a writer, who knows? Wait a minute, can the itch to write stop?

Artists working in any medium and writers expressing themselves in any form or genre are invited to submit work for the fifth issue of ITCH Online. The "theme" is: ?

What the ???? Questions are marked by a sign that can furrow the brow and send the mind on a mission for answers. Be they rhetorical, theoretical, existential, practical, emotional, educational or mundane, questions surround our lives and saturate the experience of being human.

Why? When? Where? How? Whom? What?

Sometimes we ask these things and sometimes we do not. When do we ask these things and when do we not? How and why are questions expressed, how and why are they not? What are your big questions and little mysteries? What are the one-word answers, the lengthy diatribes, the evasions and explications that accompany the queries and uncertainties that dog your experiences?

ITCH allows you the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to interpret this 'question' theme in any way that you wish--to speak to or against it, to explore or ignore it, with words, sounds and/or images. And of course, in all forms--Poetry, prose, essays, book reviews, short stories, unclassifiable writing, photography, graphic design, sound art, visual work, animations, short films, drawings, paintings, and more...

Deadline: 15 January 2010.

Full guidelines here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BBC African Performance Playwriting Competition 2010

In 2010, BBC would be celebrating 50 years of African drama. As usual there's the yearly playwriting competition. Guess who will be judging the 2010 African Performance Competition shortlist? Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. And that's more reason to get imagination working and sit down real tight to write that award-winning script.

Winning authors will be paid a rights fee of £1000, £850, £650 or £500 depending on where their play comes in the competition.  They will also have their play produced and aired on the BBC World Service

Click here for more information.

The deadline for entries is midnight on February 15th 2010

Monday, December 7, 2009

African Literature Association Grant

The African Literature Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the establishment of an ALA Travel Grant Award of $3,000 to be awarded to three members of the ALA traveling from Africa to the ALA Conference. This is the fourth year of the award.

Eligible applicants should demonstrate:scholarship, financial need and ability to supplement grant award.

ALA Travel Grant Applications must include the following documents:
  • A 2 page cover letter including title and abstract of conference paper
  • to be presented at ALA conference;
  • A 2 page Curriculum Vitae or résumé (including ALA travel grant awards received within the past three [3] years , teaching and/or research experience and interests, professional meetings/conference s attended, dates, place and titles of papers presented, current university affiliation, if applicable
  • Two letters of recommendation. Each letter should be no more than 2 pages, and should include contact and brief biographical information of recommender. Recommender CV or résumé not needed.
Deadline: December 30, 2009. Go here for more info.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"A writer is a person who writes"--Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah just won the Guardian First Book Award. Congratulations Petina! Here she reveals what she calls the secret to success.This was first published on her blog. Very interesting to read, not forgetting the real helpful advice. If you didn't see it on her blog, I advise that you read, re-read and pick real important lessons.

Do you want to be a writer? Then read this, because here, I reveal the secret to success!

I have been getting a lot of emails and Facebook messages from people who want to write. A lot of people want to know what the magic thing is that you have to do to be a writer or get published. Is it the right agent? Luck? How do you get the right agent? The right publisher? How do you get a publisher? Others ask me to read their work or write introductions to their books. The most recent email I got was from a guy who said he had been working on his novel for years, and wanted to know at what point he should stop.

I cannot always review people's work; when I have time, I am happy to do it because I love editing, I love it when I can help someone make their work better. I used to be very active on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio, and one of the thrills was when I lit upon a story that showed promise, and I helped to make it sing. I am also happy to recommend writers to my agent, she does not take many new people, however, so I will only do this when I feel the writer has a reasonable chance to be taken on. I was delighted earlier this year when she took on someone I consider one of the most talented writers I have read and whom I had recommended to her.

But it is easy to give this sort of guidance to people who have something in the hand, easy to recommend them to an agent, easy to help them make their work better so that it is accepted by an agent. A lot more people just want to know how they can be "real" , and that word keeps coming up, how they can be "real" writers. It is to these aspiring writers that I now reveal the secret to writing success.


That's it.

Just write.

A writer is a person who writes.

Talent is overrated. Luck is overrated. The right agent is overrated. It helps to have all three, but they are all worthless without that thing in your hand, the manuscript, the thing in your hand that may become a book for which trees will die and that will be published and primped and pampered and put on bookshelves and paid for by people.

And this is what is underrated: the sitting down and grinding it out part. Because that is what writing is. You, at your computer or with your notebook, writing, and writing, revising and writing, and revising again.

As Henry Fielding says, examples work more forcibly on the mind than precepts, so let me introduce you to two of my writing friends.

Meet Zoey and Xavier. They live in two different countries, one is tall and fat, the other is short and thin, one is black and blue, the other is yellow and green, one has a low but loud laugh, the other a high but quiet one ... they could not be more different to each other. They have this in common though, they are both outrageously, ridiculously talented at turning out a sentence. Xavier, is, quite frankly, one of the most musical writers you will ever read, his is the kind of writing that flows into itself and then out at you ... like Pachelbel's Canon in D, it wraps itself around your head and enters your blood stream and speeds up your heart rate. If his writing could be patented, it would cure heart disease. Zoey has a brain larger than the Grand Canyon, she can generate ideas faster than your nearest McDonald's churns out Happy Meals, she is brilliant and brain-buzzingly original.

Xavier has written a couple of stories. Zoey has published three stories, including one that was chosen in an internet poll as the best story to be published on the internet in the last 1000 years. It was that good. Both of these writers were headhunted by agents. This was 7 years ago.

They have not written much since then.

What have they been doing in those 7 years? Well, Xavier had a bit of a set back when he applied to the creative writing programme at Iowa and didn't get in. It took him more than three years to recover from the disappointment. In fact, he is still recovering. Zoey fell in love, but not with Xavier, even though they were in love with each other's minds. She got marrried, she had a baby, and then fell out of love and then had a divorce. Then her country collapsed and she spent all her time writing angry, brilliant and brain-buzzlingly original short essays about that. Then she set up a blog and wrote short but brilliant and brain-buzzingly original posts about the chaos of her life. In between, Xavier and Zoey sent each other emails mocking those who had published books. Xavier was inspired by these emails to set up a blog in which he reviewed, usually scathingly, books published by other writers, concentrating his vitriol particularly on writers who had been on the Iowa writing programme.

The clunkiness of the prose, exclaims Xavier!

And talk about passé, says Zoey.

You would be so much more original, Xavier says to Zoey.

And you can write better than that in your sleep, says Zoey.

They could do so much better, they agree.

Well, maybe.


Very likely, in fact.

Except they won't.

They won't do better and they haven't written anything better because they haven't written at all.

A writer is a person who writes.

So, this is the answer in its beautiful and stark simplicity. You can have all the talent in the world, but this is nothing if you do not actually write.

So write. Just write.

The rest can take care of itself, but without that thing in your hand, that manuscript that could be a book, that thing in your hand that comes only after hours of sitting down and doing it, you will never give yourself the chance to be a "real" writer.

Just write.

Because a writer is a person who writes.

That is the beginning of everything

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Must-Attend Events

Venue: Agip Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos

Show Times: Friday, December 4, 2009  3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 | 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: N6,000 General Admission, N7,500 Box Seating, N4,000 Children (age 12 and under) - Must be purchased at the door i.e., at venue at time of the event

Tickets are available at: 
abOriginal productions
Call/Text 07023389642 08023799842 017415688 | |

MUSON Centre - Box Office
Onikan, Lagos

Silverbird Galleria
Occasions Gift Shop
Ahmadu Bello Way,Victoria Island, Lagos

Alliance Francais
01-8911341 01-8911337-8

Ticket Delivery: If you live or work on the Island, we'll deliver to you. Call Emmanuel at 07023389642 or 08023799842 for arrangements

Reclaiming Africa--Gerald Chukwuma's Art Exhibition
Goethe-Institut Nigeria and the African Artists' Foundation present new works of Gerald Chukwuma. The Nsukka-born artist sets himself apart by using new ways of creating his artworks. He is rooted in traditional painting styles but instead of using canvas, he uses wood panels, which give his works a distinct structure.

Date: December 5, 2009. The exhibition runs till December 18; Mon.-Fri.: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Venue: Goethe Institut Gallery

Book Presentation--Art in Public Space
Two art projects with several Nigerian and German artists, conducted by Emeka Udemba, reshaped public spaces in Lagos: “Lagos Open” (2005) transformed an entire street in Ajegunle into an artwork and “In God We Trust” (2008) saw an artistic reinterpretation of two churches in Mushin. These projects dealt with issues like contemporary society, life in the mega city and the role of faith in Lagos. To share these events with an even broader audience, Emeka Udemba and Goethe-Institut Lagos present the comprehensive catalogue “Transforming Public Space. Two Art Interventions in Lagos”. This publication contains in words and pictures a broad and colourful overview about the realization of the projects and the participating artists.

Date: 12/12/2009  Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Goethe-Institut Nigeria, Gallery

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CNN Africa Journalist Award&The Nordic Africa Institute Residency...

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Competition is the most prestigious Award for journalists across the African Continent. Its objective is to reinforce the importance of the role of journalists in Africa’s development and to reward, recognise and encourage journalistic talent across all media disciplines.

Who can enter:
You must be an African National, working on the continent for African owned, or headquartered, media organisations. Your work must have appeared in printed publications or electronic media that is primarily targeted at and received by an African audience.

What the judges are looking for:
Our panel of independent, highly respected and experienced judges are in pursuit of excellence. They will be looking for entries which:

  • Tell the story in a balanced, comprehensive and objective manner
  • Demonstrate journalistic integrity and resourcefulness
  • Communicate the story in a way that makes the topic accessible and relevant to their audience
  • Display well organised research and insight
  • Was broadcast or published, in English, French or Portuguese only, between January and December 2009 with proof supplied
Look here for more information.

Nordic Africa Institute Residency Opportunity
The Nordic Africa Institute invites applications and nominations for a three-month grant as African Guest Writer at the institute in the latter half of 2010 (September through November). The application should reach the institute by 31 December 2009. Nominations should be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than 30 November 2009. The selection committee will announce its decision by 20 March 2010.

Previous Guest Writers
The Nordic Africa Institute has previously hosted four Guest Writers, Ama Ata Aidoo from Ghana, Gabeba Baderoon from South Africa, Tolu Ogunlesi from Nigeria and Shailja Patel from Kenya. These Guest Writers have added in a very positive way both to the dialogue and interchange at the institute itself, and have given a new dimension to its interface with various groups and audiences in the Nordic countries.

The purpose of the grant is threefold:
  •  Firstly, to provide an opportunity for writers to concentrate on their work during their stay.
  • Secondly, to facilitate readings to audiences in Sweden, and one or two other Nordic countries by visits to those countries. The itinerary is negotiable, but should include at least one other Nordic country – Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Finland. The guest writer of 2010 will also be required to participate in the Gothenburg book fair in September, which has Africa as its focus.
  • Thirdly, to allow the guest writer to interact with researchers, guest researchers and other staff and visitors at the Nordic Africa Institute, hence contributing its intellectual and cultural atmosphere.
  • Applicants must have some documented record of writing, with at least some published work. The applicant must be able to express herself/himself in English, although this does not have to be the language she/he writes in. We encourage young writers to apply.
  • The application must include name, full contact details (residential address, telephone and e-mail), a curriculum vitae or a summary thereof, including a list of previous writing and performances, a freely worded explanation of why the grant appeals to the applicant, and two references – including their contact details. 
  • The application must include up to (but not more than) three works by the applicant in English, French or Portuguese, preferably in published format. The works may be originally written in other languages, but they must have been translated into one of the three languages mentioned. There are no application forms for this grant. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.
Nominations must reach the Nordic Africa Institute by 30 November 2009.
Applications must reach the Nordic Africa Institute by 31 December 2009.

More information here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How do I know if I'm a writer?

I was trying to upload pictures from the WordSlam event yesterday but sometimes it's really naughty with pictures here. Had this on my mind for a very long time, so I thought that I should ask from you. Yes, you and you. It's called Letter from a Young Frustrated Writer. Enjoy!

Dear Reader,

Hope this meets you well (Isn't that how to start emails formally?).

Let me introduce myself. Do you need my name? Not sure. But I am a young writer who has always loved to write but who is about to forget about the writing game all together. And I have my reasons.

First, it looks sometimes that everyone writes. Yes, to some extent. everyone can pick up a pen and paper and scribble something, even if it makes sense to only them. Isn't a writer anyone that writes? That said, I am even more than all that because I write stories. Well, transfer them from what I see around me into my head then onto the paper or my computer when I tap my keyboard.

So I've been scribbling 'stuff' for years now. Sometimes, my teachers read it and felt that I had real talent. They made me the head of the Creative Writing Group in School. Since then, I've written about five books, none has been published. Is it not publishing that validates my talent and puts my name out there as author? Don't get me wrong I've been making submissions but I always get the decline letters "Thank you for your submission, we will pass on it now" or the milder version "We regret to tell you that we can't publish your story..." I've given up on those publishing houses now. I even considered self publishing at a stage but got scared off because of the expenses. Where on earth will I get that much to invest in something I am not sure will make me money? The banks--they are angry at the moment. My friends--they don't care about what I write. My parents--there are other things to focus on. And hello credit crunch is here!

Sometimes, I enter for these competitions (I do the free ones!) and they don't even acknowledge receipt let alone tell me whether I made a shortlist. Sometimes, I just stopped trying them because I felt it was just sham just like the other awards around (and observers of the Nigerian literary scene understand better!) or was it just my vexation expressed as depression? I don't know.

What's it with this writing thing? Sometimes, I feel I'm not talented. Am I living a mirage or maybe I am really not talented. Maybe I am not a writer. Maybe I should stop wasting my time and do something 'positive', well 'professional' with my life as my mother says.

Do you feel like this too? Am I some strange human being forced to this ugly fate?

I'm sorry for boring you with my rant but please help me! How do I know if I'm a writer?


Young Frustrated Writer

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Meet Ogo Akubue-Ogbata: "A Writer Should Have A Voice--A Loud One"

Who is Ogo Akubue-Ogbata? An African woman with humble beginnings who’s using her gifts to inspire and empower others to live with purpose, passion and authenticity.  

Tell us a little about Creativity and Sense You know how a lot of creative people shy away from business activities in the name of being ‘artistic’? Well, Creativity and Sense LLC is a company I set up not just to help people find their talents and discover real purpose but to help them marry their creativity with solid business skills in order to take their vision further. We offer training, coaching and consulting programs and have worked with organisations such as Business Link and the University of Northampton Business School - both in the UK.      

Which talent would you most like to have? I wish that I could play a few musical instruments.

What do you think of Nigerian literature? It’s definitely exciting, the beautiful ones are being born.  

What was growing up like? Very interesting. Ours was a big family – four girls and three boys so there was lots of activity. I was a bit of a bookworm, to be honest with you.

How do you balance work and writing? I set specific goals and make the most of my time. When I remember that life is precious and I won’t be here forever, I’m motivated to no end.

This is your debut, how does it feel? Amazing! I had an enjoyable time writing this novel and hope that people will be inspired and empowered by it.

Why did you write Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman? I was inspired (by the ongoing debate over Nigeria’s validity and survival prospects) to create an intimate portrait of a woman who defies all odds economically, emotionally and socially - a woman who is sculpted by the unpleasant circumstances of life into a breathing work of art.   Egg­-Larva-­Pupa-­Woman shows that obstacles can be surmounted with faith and 'inspired action', that family and nationhood are sacred and that love triumphs over fear.  Of recent, there have not been many dynamic, high achieving, female characters in African fiction and we need those iconic, fully fleshed-out characters to inspire us as a people. The protagonist, Nkiru, meets the need for such a character. She is kind, witty, enterprising and beautiful but most of all she is a survivor. This determined disposition is what Africa and the world needs now.  

How did you research the story? I researched the book intensely by raiding historical archives, talking to people and examining photographs. Reading works set in the colonial era helped me capture the tempo of the times. The Nigerian High Commission in London was helpful. Imagination filled in the gaps.    

What book are you reading now? Blonde Roots by Bernadine Evaristo.

What will a book about your life be called? I say Live a little then write a little. A book about my life will be ‘untitled’ at the moment and not finished anytime soon.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing loved ones and having to live with the knowledge that you’ll never see them walk the face of the earth again.

Who is your perfect audience? An honest yet respectful audience. Honesty stretches a writer’s growth whilst respect nurtures confidence and creativity.

How does being a Nigerian influence your writing? It makes me write about Nigeria and the issues that affect Nigerians with a style and energy that is uniquely Nigerian yet universally accessible.

What is your most treasured possession? My soul.

What inspires your writing? Life.

Favourite book of all time: The bible.

What’s the role of a writer in a society? In my humble opinion, a writer's role is not merely showcasing chaos and leaving people wondering what to make of it but creating stories that inspire change and provoke positive aspiration.

What part of writing do you enjoy most? I love it all. Crafting the plot, breathing life into the characters, researching the facts, editing... even post-press activities like networking and public speaking are enjoyable to me. That’s what creativity and sense is all about.

Who are your favorite writers? How much time have we got? I don’t have any favourites in particular. I admire a huge host of writers for all different reasons.

What is the last thing you read that made you cry? I don’t recall ever reading anything that’s actually made me cry - it’s movies that sometimes do that to me. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt) and The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) were pretty sad though.  

What is the strangest research you’ve done? I haven’t done anything strange but watch this space.  

What is the worth of a book? Depends on who’s written the book plus why and how they’ve written it. Some books are worthless. A great book however, is priceless.

Philosophy of life Do unto others as you want done to you. Speak for those who have no voice. Do what you do best and do it with creativity and sense.

What does it mean to be a writer? Having a voice- a loud one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Writing Competitions...

One way to test the waters of the literary world is by entering for competitions. Here are two quite interesting ones. And of course, there are entry fees. Read instructions carefully--they are important on the road to success or failure! 

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition has been introduced to encourage and reward quality short fiction writing, create and sustain awareness about the publication and if by any chance a small financial margin is achieved at the end of each competition, that will go back into producing the magazine and help keep it a free-to-read publication.

 Competition Details 

  • Subject: Short Stories may be on any subject.
  • Length: Maximum 1,500 words per story
  • Entry Fees: £5.00 per story, £9.00 for 2 stories and £12.00 for 3 stories.
  • Prizes--First Prize: £100.00, Second Prize: £60.00, Third Prize: £40.00. More information here.

Ambit Magazine 200 Words Prose and Poetry Competition
To celebrate their 200th issue Ambit invites you to enter their 200 WORDS COMPETITION! Send in poems or prose of 200 words for a chance to win any of these: 1st prize: £500, 2nd prize: £200, 3rd prize: £75. More information here.

To have a feel of the world of Ambit, read a PDF Copy here. And if you are thinking about their general submissions guidelines, take a look at this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The International Literary Quarterly...

Came across this very interesting project, thanks to some friends who are more literary than we are. So we thought that we should share with you.

The International Literary Quarterly is an anthology of poems that celebrates multilingualism and diversity. It consists of seventy-five poems in seventy-five contemporary languages. Each of these poems is a translation of a single poem "Volta".

And trust, Nigerian languages are massively represented (Click on links to read PDF Copies)--Yoruba translation by Kola TubosunHausa translation by Ismail Balapidgin translation by Wilson OrhiunuIgbo translation by Obododinma Oha,  Ibibio translation by Ofonime InyangEbira translation by Sunday (Sunnie) Enessi Ododo.

For me who only understands Yoruba (among the other translations) reading the Yoruba translation (with the tonal marks) made the appreciate the amount of work that went into it. Anyway for those who want to know more about contributing to the International Literary Quarterly, check here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When Words Slam...

You need to be at these two events to discover what happens when words slam. You need to figure out how you'll make the two of them (as their time kinda overlap). We will try to bring you pictures from both. Away from my rant, details below:

DADA books, publishers of I am memory- a moving poetry collection by Jumoke Verissimo and The Abyssinian Boy- an ambitious and thought provoking novel by Onyeka Nwelue are proud to present – A Fistful of Tales, an exciting short story collection by Ayodele Arigbabu (now that's true...I've read it. An autographed copy too. One of the perks of being a Bookaholic is reading the books before everyone does :))

Meet the Writer
Ayodele Arigbabu studied Architecture at the University of Lagos, where he was the Librarian and then President of the Pen Circle, an association of young writers. He writes weekly on design and environment for The Guardian Life, writes occasionally for other magazines, dabbles into poetry and fiction as the muse inspires and writes scripts for theatre, film, television and comic books.

His short story titled "You live to die once" was the winning entry at the 2001 Liberty Bank Short Stories Competition. His poem titled "Livelihood" received honourable mention, at the 2003 Muson Poetry competition while his first short story collection titled Blues Tones (published in The Three Kobo Book) was nominated for the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) / Lantern Books 2005 Prize for Short Stories.

The Book
What does the book cover tell you? Liz Jensen, (author of The Paper Eater) Ayo Arigbabu's mentor on Crossing Borders had this to say about the book: “Ayo’s muscular, playful language is assured, versatile, and stuffed to the gills with energy and joie-de-vivre....his subjects and voices range over a wide field – but never lose their grip, or their power to entertain. A Fistful of Tales is a small collection but it packs a mighty punch. Ayodele Arigbabu is a writer to watch.”

The Launch 
A Fistful of Tales will be presented to the public on Saturday the 28th of November 2009 at the British Council, 20 Thompson Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos form 4pm till 6pm. The author will read from his collection with support from soul diva- Yinka Davies, maverick theatre director- Segun Adefila and the city’s favourite fiction writer and poet- Toni Kan. It will sure be a memorable evening, with these names.

Here Comes Wordslam...
Wordslam is here again. Yours Truly was there last year and it was a blast. This year's edition promises to be better. So mark your diary...

Ade Bantu’s vibes – a mixture of hip-hop, reggae and afrofunk, which he calls “the sound of fufu” - will turn what started as a poetry performance into an exciting live concert in the evening. Come and explore the transitions between spoken and sung words and to be part of a unique rhythmic experience. And yes, snacks and Refreshments will be offered.

Concert Evening: Sat, Nov 28. Time: 3:00pm
Venue: Goethe-Institut Nigeria, 10 Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, opp. 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Calling the Poets...

We find these projects interesting. Performance poets should try to participate. Really there's a revolution brewing, you are either a part of it or not...

Badilisha! Poetry X-Change introduces a brand new dimension to the live poetry project--the Badilisha!, an online poetry radio station which will produce weekly podcasts of poets from Africa and the Diaspora. Our blog will also facilitate relevant poetry discussions and open the way for continued conversation amongst poets featured on the podcasts, greater exposure of the work of African poets to the world and to each other. Weekly shows will be presented by South African writer and performance poet Malika Ndlovu. aims to encourage, expose and celebrate the work of African and Diaspora poets, answering to the need for an Africa-centred platform where these African voices and works from all over the globe can be accessed and enjoyed, as well as serving as a networking space for these artists within and beyond the literary arena. More info here.

International Poetry Competition Castello Di Duino - Under 30 Poetry
Deadline:  December 31st, 2009 (For schools 2010 January 15th)
Rules of participation:

  • The competition is open to young people under 30 years of age.
  • The participation is free.
  • Participants have to send only one unpublished , never prized poem (maximum 50 lines).
  • The general theme of the Edition 2008 is: Lights/shadows (for instance : the natural alternation of times, the colours of the reality and  soul, the metaphers of the life,  thinking,  doubts. The topic can be worked out very free 
  • Poems will be accepted in the mother tongue of the authors. A translation into English and /or Italian is required.
  • A jury composed by poets and literary critics with different linguistic competences will evaluate the poems as much as possible in their original language.
More information here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"I Need to See Africa in The Future"--Nnedi Okorafor

Who is Nnedi Okorafor?
Nnedi Okorafor is a biological construct fused from the DNA of history’s and the future’s greatest witches and literary despots.

How and when did you develop the love for stories?
I loved stories even before I could read. I was born with a very big active imagination- I could do anything, see anything, make anything happen. Whenever I think back to my early childhood, it’s impossible to differentiate the magical stuff I made up in my head from the "real" stuff. On top of this, my father  who was a heart surgeon told tons of stories, and he told them really well with drama, suspense, characters, setting, and sensory details in place.

How does your upbringing affect your writing?
Despite my dealings with racism and many other “isms”, I had a very very happy childhood. And I think that “happiness” often comes out in my fiction. My father was obsessed with understanding how things worked. He made even the mundane (like a door knob) exciting by showing you how it worked. He loved science, math and animals and he moved through the world with a constant sense of wonder, even as he got older. I see in the same way and that comes out in my work too, especially when I ":world build". My mother has a PhD in health administration, is a registered nurse, midwife and a thousand other things. She’s brilliant and very strong. She taught me what it is to BE a feminist as opposed to having to proclaim it. And she was made the strong woman she is by her mother AND father.  Important lessons. On top of this, my father adored her strength and smarts, as opposed to feeling threatened by it. Another crucial lesson. I deal with issues of gender a lot in my work and the complexity of it. It all comes from my upbringing.

What was the first story you wrote about?
The first story I wrote was a short story titled “The House of Deformities”. It was set in Nigeria and based on something that really happened to my two sisters and me when we were kids. It involved bulldog puppies, a wizened old woman with a cleaver, fly-covered meat, vultures and pink ducklings (yep, all this was true). I added a deep black hole full of demons…to flesh out the story. So, from the start my stories were speculative. It’s the way I see the world.

What informs your fascination with Science Fiction?
Now you do you mean science fiction or fantasy? Those are two different things. Science fiction is when the strange things in the story happen because of science. SF involves things like time machines, robotics, nanotechnology, aliens, cyborgs, etc. Advanced technology and science. Fantasy is when the strange things that happen are due to magic, the mystical, the unexplained. Fantasy involves things like fairies, witches, ghosts, magical systems, etc.  For me, sf and fantasy are practically one of the same. As I said, I tend to see the world as a magical place. Nature is amazing. It’s earth’s greatest scientist. Also, I NEED to see Africa in the future. Too often, when I read about Africa in American fiction, it's an Africa of the past. It was often the place African Americans were forced to leave. Or it was “the pre-colonial place”. These representations didn’t fit well with my own experience of Nigeria. To me, Nigeria was very futuristic, and in a bizarre way. No plumbing in the house but you’ve got cell phones, for example. I was fascinated by that and no one was writing about it. Technology is consumed by and affects Africans in a unique way. Then I just took it further in my work and that’s when my fiction became science fiction.

What do you call your kind of writing? Unique.

You’ve won a couple of awards, how do you feel? I feel great. It’s always nice to be recognized.

Best advice you got as a writer
Keep writing. Writers write. And check your ego at the door. Few people are born awesome writers. And no great work is created 100 percent alone. The best writers are writers who know how to listen to criticism, feedback and direction when necessary.

How do you manage to write science fiction with images drawn from Nigerian folk and superstitious culture without playing to the stereotypes that give ‘us’ a bad image in the West? Simple answer: I’m Nigerian and I have a deep unconditional love for Nigeria. Some of the worst things in my life have happened to me in Nigeria. I have experienced true terror while there, terror that probably took days from my life. So don’t think I have some rosy view of the country. But some of the most wonderful things in my life have happened there, too. Most of my family is there.  And it’s beautiful. My parents have been taking my siblings and I back there since we were young. We also make the effort to stay connected, by any means necessary. I’m doing the same with my six year old daughter. She’s been back twice already.

Mind you, I’m very independent and many Igbo traditions just turn my stomach. You won’t see me adhering to certain traditions. And I’m not afraid to say that I won’t. This is me and always will be me. All the kidnappings, oil wars, fraud, theft, corrupt government shenanigans, family issues, among others will not keep me away. I always go back.  All these come out in my work. This is why I don’t fall into the stereotypes. I’m sincere.

Worst comment you heard about your work
Hmm, that’s a hard one. I did see someone say on his blog say that he wouldn’t read my two novels because they didn’t have any white people in it. Idiot.

Tell us more about Akata the Witch
Akata Witch is my third young adult novel (my forthcoming adult novel is titled Who Fears Death is scheduled for release in June 2010). It’s set in present day Nigeria. The main character is a 12 year old girl who confuses people. Her name is Sunny. She was born in New York to two Nigerian immigrant parents. When she was nine, she and her family moved back to Nigeria. She also happens to be albino. So she’s an American by birth and a Nigerian by blood, living in Nigeria, with skin and hair lighter than Caucasian skin but sensitive to the sun. Sunny's character is actually based on a family friend. One of Sunny’s favorite things to do is to stare into candles. One day while staring into a candle she witnesses something terrible. This turns out to be the first step into an adventure that changes her life. This novel’s got real masquerades, a wrestling match to match no other, a most excellent soccer match, the real reason for the face on Zuma Rock, shape shifters, and some serious juju.

You are Obama for a day, what will you do?
Hop on Air Force One and make a discreet visit to Nigeria to verbally brow beat the top government officials into treating their country with honor, respect and patriotism. Then later that day, I’d make a surprise visit to a few busy markets in Lagos, Jos, Abuja, Owerri, and yes Port Harcourt. Of course, my security would be air-tight.

What part of the process of writing do you enjoy most?
Editing. The “genesis” process is tough for me. This is when you create the initial story. But once I have a draft, ugly as it always is, I enjoy the polishing of it. I’ll edit a draft 15 to 20 times.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m always reading something. I just finished the latest installment in the Aya graphic novel series by Ivory Coast writer Marguerite Abouet and French illustrator Clement Oubrerie. This is an excellent series that shows Africa in a realistic and positive light for once.  Right now I’m rereading a science fiction novel set in South Africa called Otherland by American novelist Tad Williams. The main characters are Irene Sulaweyo and a Bushmen named !Xabbu (if you’re still sore about District 9, this novel is good therapy).I’m also reading Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol by Ugandan writer Okot p’Bitek.

Now Ginen is a land beautifully described that one feels it truly exists. How do you make your reader believe the reality of the world you create in your works? Ginen totally exists. It’s real place to me. Because I feel it’s real, I write about it as such. All my stories are real to me. If I didn’t believe they were real, how I could write them well?

Who are the writers that influence you?

  • Stephen King is the ultimate storyteller- the man is like one of Anansi’s sons. 
  • Octavia Butler’s sparse clean prose and realistic science fiction changed me forever. 
  • Ben Okri’s prose is haunted poetry and his Nigerian-flavored fantastical imagery is insane. 
  • Ngugi wa Thiongo wrote a Kenyan detective novel that was laced with some serious politics (Petals of Blood); utterly pioneering. 
  • Buchi Emecheta and Flora Nwapa’s “Kitchen Literature” was so necessary-these two writers reminded me that many (if not most) of life’s greatest battles are fought, won and lost on the domestic front.
Any plans to have your stories on the screen?
I always have plans. There are interests and possibilities. I have written a screenplay for Nollywood’s “ogbanje” director Tchidi Chikere. Right now it’s titled, “Wrapped in Magic”. He plans to shoot it soon. There was film interest in The Shadow Speaker but the production company, though they loved the book, found it too complex for film. That makes me laugh. Lastly, right now there are multiple film production companies interested in my forthcoming adult novel, Who Fears Death. We’ll see.

What do you think of the literary landscape in Nigeria?
It’s awesome, Diasporic and so alive. I’m proud of it: Chris Abani, Uwem Akpan, Sefi Atta, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helon Habila, Helen Oyeyemi, Uzodimma Iweala, Bayo Ojikutu, etc. Look at all the diversity and success within this limited list. The Nigerian tradition of great literature is very alive.

Any plans to get more of your books published in Nigeria?
Zahrah the Windseeker is already published in Nigeria by Kachifo Ltd. They also own the African rights to The Shadow Speaker. Hopefully they’ll be able to also bring Akata Witch and Who Fears Death to Nigeria. Having my work available in Nigeria is extremely important to me.

What does it mean to be a writer?
It means solitude, which often becomes loneliness. It means hard work with little initial reward. Discipline. Distorted nakedness. And it means that you have a place to channel your fury and a place to create your dreams.

Visit Nnedi's blog here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mark your Calendar...

P.A.G.E.S and CCA,Lagos continue their innovative programme of bringing the Visual and Literary Arts into dialogue. This Saturday (November 21) is going to be an interesting one at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos as Teju Cole  the author of Everyday is for the Thief - a novel set in Lagos, and Jumoke Verissimo, the author I am Memory - a poetry collection engage 12 artists in a video art exhibition at CCA,Lagos.

The writers' books will be available for sale at the CCA. This is equally an opportunity to see the current exhibition which is called Identity:An Imagined State, a video art exhibition featuring the works of Nigerian,African & South American artists. It was curated by Jude Anogwih and Oyinda Fakeye

Time: 2pm. 
So see you at CCA (9, McEwen Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos)

There's also Yoruba Romance
A new play titled Yoruba Romance by Tyrone Terrence-an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal. 

Venue: The MUSON centre’s Agip Recital Hall
Date: Sunday, November 22
Time: 6pm
Gate: N5,000

Driver's Dexterity: an exhibition of photographs by George Osodi
The African Artists' Foundation (AAF) in collaboration with The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) presents: Driver's Dexterity an exhibition of photographs by George Osodi.
Venue: The Lagos Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Opp. 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos
Date and time: 26th November, 2009, 6pm

Who is George Oshodi?
George Osodi is a London-based photographer and artist who has spent most of his time traveling on Nigerian roads. He has captured images of the various landscapes and peoples living in different parts of Nigeria. George has also documented various social and topical issues using photography. Having trained as a photojournalist, George has an eye for a story. The story he tells now is one of intervention and faith. He captures the dramatic in an artistic, even romantic fashion. These are tales of hope and survival, bravery and bewildering actions, stereotypes and attitudes to life.

George explains: “Driver's Dexterity is a body of work, which takes on a more conceptual form than my previous documentary works. ...I explore the vulnerability of life as a contrast to the tragic beauty of the landscapes"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Introducing Sentinel Nigeria&Call for Submissions

Sentinel Nigeria is an online magazine of contemporray Nigerian writing. Sentinel Literary Movement of Nigeria was established on November 15, 2009 as the Nigerian chapter of Sentinel Poetry Movement which was founded in December 2002 by Nnorom Azuonye. Read more here.

Submission Guidelines

  • Poems: Submit up to 6 poems on any subject of 60 lines or less, or a long poem up to 200 lines plus 2 shorter poems.
  •  Fiction: Submit Short Stories, or Excerpts from Novels on any subject or theme up to 8,000 words long.
  •  Essays: Academic essays may be up to 10,000 words long.
  •  Reviews and Interviews: These may be up to 3000 long.
  •  All materials submitted must be in English Language. We encourage poems written in Nigerian languages as long as they are sent together with appropriate translations.
  •  Previously Published Work:  Generally we discourage submissions of previously published work. If we feel strongly about a previously published work we may solicit it. If your work has been published elsewhere and you feel it has not been given the exposure it deserves, and you feel strongly about it, by all means submit it, but please mention where and when it was first published.

Read more here.