Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ngugi Nominated for Man Booker Prize

I have read only three: Trials of Dedan Kimaathi, Petals of Blood and Wizard of the Crow, but through them I took flights to Kenya and got my first language and history lessons about the Kenyan society.

Petals of Blood had a great effect on me (not until I read Wizard of the Crow) but the lasting one is the fact humans have the capacity for change. People who desire to change the world should master their minds first; and that hunger can reduce an human being to anything if s/he does not master his/her mind. For me, this answers questions of accountability, corruption and sincerity to the people (among other issues) that poiliticians face when they are voted into power. And I am not surprised when the seeming good person starts turning out as bad (forgive my words!), when the revolutionary activist-turned-politician is suddenly guilty of offences he was raining fire and brimstone against. Overall, his works are Kenyan and African and touches on personal and political issues that everyone should know about!

Ngugi is a master storyteller; well written works with a motive: to shake you out of your 'comfort' seats and react by asking for change or being that change.

He has been nominated for the Man Booker prize, 2009. Click here for more information.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Coming soon: 'The Thing Around Your Neck' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From the prizewinning author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun twelve dazzling stories - her most intimate work to date - in which she turns her penetrating eye on the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Nigeria and the United States.

In 'A Private Experience,' a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she's been pushing away. In 'Tomorrow Is Too Far,' a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother's death. The young mother at the center of 'Imitation' finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, this collection is a resounding confirmation of Adichie's prodigious literary powers.

Read a partial review here

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Events to Be At!

Anatomy of a woman: Theatre @Terra's production of the play, written and directed by Wole Oguntokun - Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos. 3pm & 6pm every Sunday in April.

Abuja Literary Society: Monthly Guest Writers' meeting with ANA President Wale Okediran. Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. 6pm. April 3.

Look and Laugh: Exhibition of Pop Art paintings by Diseye Tantua - Signature Arts, 107 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. Until April 4.

The Beauty Within: Retrospective exhibition of Akin Onipede's work - Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos. Until April 4.

The world Is Flat: Art exhibition curated by Johanne L√łgstrup - Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), 9 McEwen Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos. Until May 3.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Calls for Submission: LifeBytes

First and foremost, we are looking for evocative stories that can be funny, poignant, provocative, scary, weird, edgy, sexy or happy. We're looking for submissions with a unique voice and point of view. Imagine your story as a vignette that you can see acted out on screen and give us the feeling that we are there with you, sharing your experience. In other words - Is this a story that even someone who has never dated online will find intriguing and engaging.

We are looking for submissions that are well-crafted. Submissions should be able to stand alone as solid, well written short non-fiction stories. Tell your tale in a way that will involve the reader in your adventure. Let it come from your heart, your story is important!

What we are NOT looking for is:
1. An essay or a sermon
2. Advice or a how-to guide to online dating
3. Revenge stories

Story Specifications

Initial deadline: June 15, 2009

Stories should be non-fiction, ranging in length between 300 - 2000 words.

Please be sure to type the authors name and contact information on each page of the story. If your piece is chosen for publication, we will need for you to sign a release form. Upon publication a fee of $50. to $100. (word count dependent) will be remitted to you. Stories can be published anonymously or under a pseudonym if you choose, but must be submitted under the author's legal name.

We prefer that you email your submission as a Word attachment to bookeditors@lifebytesbook.com.

If you don't have access to the internet, please submit your stories to the address on the right. Type stories on plain 8 1/2 x 11 paper, in 12 point Times New Roman font, preferably double-spaced.

DO NOT send originals. Send only one copy of each submission. We will destroy submissions not chosen for publication. If you want your copy returned to you (if not chosen for publication), include an SASE. Please note it could take several months to return a submission if it is not chosen for publication.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Write a Quiz (Part 1)

Gone are the days when quizzes were all about testing how much you know. Quizzes have evolved over time; they tend to reveal who we are and what we like. Open any lifestyle magazine and you will see a quiz on anything from “What’s Your Workaholic Quotient?” to “What’s the Size of your Carbon Footprint?”

Kids and juvenile magazines also use quizzes in finding their readers their right match to which TV/pop star are they most like. On the internet too you have quiz websites where you can create personalised Quizzes for family and friends. Of course there are quizzes found in educational books and magazines that do test your brain matter.

Writing a Quiz can be a very creative and rewarding process. Here is how to go about it.

First choose a topic. This is very crucial as it must cater for the market you are aiming for. For example, a Back to School Quiz would be appropriate for a range of juvenile magazines but not for a women’s fashion magazine like Vogue. It is important to research the market first before writing to see the issues that are covered. This will give you an idea of what topics would be good to turn into quizzes. Also to judge how many questions to include as well as the format to use.

Once you decide on the topic, you need to determine the purpose of the Quiz. Is it to test the reader’s knowledge about a particular subject? Is it to reveal a character or personality trait in the reader? Does it show the degree of likeness or hatred for a particular thing? Whatever your purpose is, it has to be clear in the title and mini blurb attached to the beginning of the Quiz.

So take for example the Back to School quiz. The blurb or intro could read something like:

September is the Back to School month which is fun. But after the euphoria of new clothes and stationery the harsh reality of hard work sets in. This not is the case because school can be so much fun provided you get involved in the right activities. With so much on offer from auditions to the school band to cheerleading tryouts, finding the right fun activity can be quite a maze.


Labour Day is around the corner and you’re intent on having more fun than ever when the new school year starts. Maybe you’ve been hiding your light under a barrel for too long or maybe you just want to shine at something your really like. Take this survey and zero in on your best bets for a fine new year.

So right from the start the reader knows what to expect.

Taken from 'How to Write Quizzes for Publication' by Isabella E.C. Akinseye which was featured in Art & Prose magazine Issue 7.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bookaholic With Bella: Tropical Fish: Tales From Entebbe by Doreen Baingana

Tropical Fish: Tales From Entebbe

By Doreen Baingana

156pp; Cassava Republic Press

The cover of Tropical Fish: Tales From Entebbe was the first thing that caught my attention: three pairs of accessorised legs resting on staircases with a box of jewels. Reading the synopsis to this collection of linked short stories, I knew I had to discover the matching faces to the legs.

The Tales from Entebbe are told by the three Mugisha sisters--Rosa, Pattie and Christine--against the political backdrop of the 1980s, as they discover themselves as individuals and Ugandans in the aftermath of the Idi-Amin regime. Set mainly in Entebbe, we follow the footsteps of a family that comes full circle, burying two of its members due to different vices and almost ‘losing' the survivors to the Western religion and culture.

Baingana tackles hard and sensitive issues such as family cohesion, religion, evolution of culture, sex and relationship, friendship and gender roles in society.

Read the rest of A tripartite of self discovery by Isabella E.C. Akinseye here

Have your say...

I was at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Yaba on Saturday for the PAGES event for the month of March. It was tagged: The World is Flat. Are you shaking your head in question of the title? Yes, it was the title that also nursed my decision to make it for the event, I wanted to know, how come again that the world is flat?

Okay for those who don’t know, here’s a little background into PAGES. It is a monthly event hosted by CCA with the aim of understanding our world and ourselves better through the arts. Usually, there is a convergence of art in diverse forms: painting, literature, map making, photography with the aim of  giving literary interpretation to the works on exhibition. The event had an ‘okay’ audience for an art event; to think that it was not featuring any of Nigeria’s young music artists (my opinion) that's what attracts 'Naija' youth, am I lying?

It was an opportunity to see the world from a new perspective and take brief lessons in architecture, cartography, history, literature  and also set me thinking about the process of writing.

Johanne, the curator of the exhibition introduced the theme of the exhibition and answered questions from a very inquisitive audience; there was a book reading and discussion from Onyeka Nwelue’s novel The Abyssinian Boy.

The the questions started sprouting from all corners: What is  the place of knowledge about a setting in the making of a work of literature? Where does reality stop and idealism begin? Does a writer need to have a perfect knowledge of the place that he/she is writing about? If yes, how was JK Rowlings able to write her best-selling Harry Potter series? If yes, how was Chimamanda Adichie able to pull off an Orange prize-winning Half of a Yellow Sun which is about the Nigerian civil war when she was not a part of the war? 

If no, how does a writer stay true to describing what a place is like at any point in time, bearing in mind that places change? If no, where is the place of creativity even when making fiction  out of reality?

What is your take?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama nominated for Borders Author of the Year

Barack Obama was born in Honolulu in 1961. In his early twenties he found his vocation working among poor communities on the south side of Chicago. Later he went to law school at Harvard University, where he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1995 he published his memoir Dreams From My Father, which became a bestseller soonafter it was reissued in 2004. After returning to Chicago, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996.Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and later that year he was elected to the US Senate. His second book, The Audacity of Hope, was published in the USA in 2006 and became an immediate bestseller. In November 2008 Senator Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

Click here to read an extract.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Renowned worldwide for featuring some of the best and brightest new talent, Wasafiri-the online magazine is launching a New Writing Prize as part of its 25th birthday celebrations. In the words of acclaimed author Jackie Kay, ‘Wasafiri holds it all together, the past and the future. It is vigorous, searching and stimulating’.
Since Wasafiri was first published in 1984, it has consistently aimed to shift the contours of established literary canons and remapped the borders of international contemporary writing, creating new imaginative spaces and publishing some of the most promising new literary voices.

How to enter
The competition is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book. They are looking for creative submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction or Life Writing. Simply incorporate the theme of ‘25’ somewhere in your piece, fill in the entry form and send it to them with your entry fee of UK Sterling £5.00 using the paypal option below. The closing date is 30 June 2009. Entrants who are visually impaired or who are prevented from typing through disability can enter stories on audio CD.

For details and information please visit www.wasafiri.org

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Meet the Woman behind Lagosian Conversations

Please give us a brief introduction of yourself?

My name is Joy Isi Bewaji; I’m from Edo state. I grew up in Festac Town, attended Umbrella Nursery and Primary school; Model College, Kankon; and The Polytechnic Ibadan.

What is your approach to writing?
I try to be as liberal as possible when I write. I would like for my readers to see that I am progressive in my thinking and writing.

Take us down memory lane from playgroup to University.
I can’t remember too much of primary school, I spent most of my time with my mum as a child. However the best time of my life was as a teenager. I loved my secondary school to bits!

What is the first impression you would like your readers to form when they read your work?
I would like to provoke laughter basically, and have readers appreciate my style of writing.

Why such a title Eko Dialogue?
It’s a title that says it as it is. The book is about Lagos and the rapport amongst its inhabitants.

Has your work been misinterpreted before?
No, not yet. Lol!

Did you have to do any background research?
Yes. I have been a Lagosian all my life. I spend time talking to fellow Lagosians on a regular basis. I am very inquisitive; my study was based on how we manage to live our lives despite the odds, and I tried to capture that in Eko Dialogue.

Where do you get inspiration for your characters?
From the people I encounter everyday. These are the people that make Lagos what it is – the groundnut seller across the street, the disgruntled employee, the snooty celebrity etc,

How long did it take you to pen the book?
I wrote it in 6-8 weeks

Any particular reasons for self publishing?
I wanted to be in control to a large extent, and I didn’t want the book delayed or told to increase pagination and all that. I also wanted to see my ability as a business woman.

What challenges do you face as a first time author?
My biggest challenge at first was getting it to those interested in having the book. I had to hire a couple of people; I literally started a company just because of the book. The demand has been awesome and I have handled distribution quite well, but it can still be better.

What is your assessment of the Nigerian publishing scene?
The writing scene is just as challenged as the music or movie industry. The talents are available but the umbrella under which to grow is feeble.

Do you have another job?
Yes, I am the editor of Spice magazine.

In what ways as working in a magazine helped or hindered you in writing your first book?
A 9-5 job can be very tasking for a writer, but I was determined to bring out this work. It was a stubborn decision, I just had to see it through.

What are you working on presently?
My second book

Any advice to up and coming authors?
Just do it. Pen those words down! Get enough information on your subject matter, and get a good editor to clean it up nicely.

Can creative writing be taught?
I do believe anything can be taught.

Final words on your epitaph?
Let my creator not reject me, whatever it is I need to know, let me learn it now and when I come in his presence, I want his embrace.

What is your favourite vacation spot?
I have never gone on a vacation. Never!

Embarrassing moments?
Too many. But I remember times on Funmi Iyanda’s show that I was totally clueless on what they were talking about. It was a great time, but I really didn’t belong there.

On being true to yourself?
I speak the truth always, it doesn’t matter whose ox is gored

Aspirations for the future?
I want to go fully into writing books and being a great author.

Facebook, myspace, twitter or hi5?
Facebook, after much persuasion. Twitter registered, but I have no idea how it operates.

What do you think of Obama?
Obama is the change we all need. His success can be translated to personal motivation. The minute he won, I knew I could – snub the good pay cheque and walk into something else that I find more interesting and challenging. Yes I could, and I did!

How do you relax?
I love to hang out with friends and gist. And I love to watch movies, I love reading magazines.

Three things you are most passionate about?
My kids, my career, and the new Nigeria.

Describe your self in one word?

Strangest thing in your handbag?
A toothbrush, I use it to achieve a smooth hairline when I have a weave on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Poetry Anthology...Call for Submissions.

The First Annual Scribes’ Prize

Are you a closet poet?
Hiding your light under a bushel?
Do you sometimes wonder what would happen if someone read your poem and gave it the recognition it deserves?
Would you like that to happen?

Here’s your chance. The first Annual Scribes’ Prize will be announced in September 2009. You could be the winner, but not if your poem is still hidden in your notebook. Why not submit a poem or two to the Scribes and see what happens. If you do that before 27th of March, you have the chance to:

Have your poem judged by 3 distinguished Nigerian academics
Win a cash prize
Even if you’re not one of the winners, yours could still be one of the 300 poems published in the first Scribes’ Prize anthology
Attend a high profile award ceremony

To enter, you have to be
 A Nigerian, whether living in Nigeria or abroad
 Between 11 and 40
 Have one or two poems, no longer than 40 lines or 300 words long
Have it sent before 27th March to International.office@scribesprize.org

Visit http://www.scribesprize.org for further details.
To check guidelines, visit http://www.scribesprize.org/guidelines_submissions
Email: International.office@scribesprize.org
Telephone: +44(0)1524888502. Mobile: +44(0)7817734663

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prize-Winning Writers Visit Abuja

Two Prize-Winning writers, Musa Idris Okpanachi and Uwem Akpan, will be in Abuja for the March 2009 edition of the Guest Writer Session organised by the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF).

Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit Priest, has just joined the list of winners of the Commonwealth Prize for Literature in the Best First Book category of the Africa region. Akpan who started writing fiction ten years ago, was born at Iko Akpan Eda in Akwa Ibom state. He studied Philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities and Theology at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He has taught English and Literature-in-English in Nigerian secondary schools and received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. Prior to his Commonwealth Prize for Literature feat, he was on the Caine shortlist.

Musa Idris Okpanachi hails from Kogi Sate and a long-serving member of the Department of English, University of Miaduguri. Dr Okpanachi’s poetry collection, The Eaters of the Living published by Kraft Books Limited won the 2008 ANA/Cadbury Prize for Poetry.  The judges had commented that “Okpanachi reveals himself as the voice of the downtrodden with the uncanny ability to transform simple words into powerful imagery of bullets pulling down the fortress of oppression erected by the members of the ruling class who are depicted as heartless predators.”

The Guest Writer Sessions have been created by the Abuja Writers’ Forum to improve interaction between writers and literary enthusiasts, and boost better publicity and distribution for writers’ works. It takes place on the last Saturday of the month by 4pm at the Pen and Pages Bookstore, 79 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse 2, Abuja and features side attractions of live music, performance poetry and art exhibition. The Okpanachi-Akpan double-header takes place on March 28, 2009.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bookaholic With Bella: Eko Dialogue by Joy Isi Bewaji

Eko Dialogue

By Joy Isi Bewaji

110pp; Eternal Creations Limited

Joy Isi Bewaji's Eko Dialogue explores the many voices that roar through this chaotic mass in a witty and sarcastic way.

Bewaji knows her Lagos well; you can hear and smell it through each word from her pen and this is revealed, not only through her detailed description of the metropolis, but the clinical dissection of its residents through the characters and the language that is very "Lagosian".

Read the rest of here.

Crown Troupe in April...

In April, Crown Troupe will be performing Noel Greig's Whispers in the Dark, a play that was first produced in 1998 by Gwent Theatre.

Venue: Cinema Hall 1, National Theatre, Iganmu

Time: 2 shows (3-5pm and 5-7pm)

RSVP the event here, send an email to olomuaperan@yahoo.com or call 08028855193

Click here to read about the 'swashbuckling' fun of the March performance.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Writers' Market

FRONT is a Canadian journal of contemporary art and culture. They say, “We will consider submissions

of prose, poetry, fiction, performance documents etc. Each issue is given a theme, which will be published

in the preceding issue and on the website. We encourage you to interpret the theme freely, but to

bear in mind that we will give preference to material that engages the theme in an interesting way.


“We usually pay $25 per page, the rate for photography and original art varies between $50 and



Manuscripts can be up to 2,500 words and should be submitted by email, either in the body of

the email, or as an RTF or Word attachment. The author’s contact details and a short biography should

appear on the first page of the text.”


FRONT Magazine, 303 East 8th Avenue,

Vancouver, BC, V5T 2S1, Canada.



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Uwem Akpan Clinches the Commonwealth Prize...

Uwem Akpan, jesuit Nigerian writer wins Commonwealth Prize for Literature (African region) for the Best First Book with his collection Say You're One of Them. Though his first work, it is a collage of intriguing short stories that have random settings from different parts of Africa. It pictures Africa in a stark reality...as it is even through the voices of children.

In the African region, his work was up against Jassey Mackenzie's Random Violence, Megan Voysey-Braig's Till We Can Keep An Animal, Chris Mamewick's Shepherds and Butchers, Janet Bennet's Porcupine and Sue Rabie's Boston Snowplough.

Read more here.

Say You're One of Them was also been nominated for the Best First Book by Los Angeles Times Book Awards. Look here for more information.

Opening P.A.G.E.S of The Abbyssinian Boy

Onyeka Nwelue, the author of The Abyssinian Boy will be reading from his debut book on Saturday 21st March 2009 at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Yaba at an event tagged: P.A.G.E.S.

P.A.G.E.S is the confluence of literature, art works, comics and photography. This programme is designed to converge writers, poets and playwrights at the Center for Contemporary Art, to give literary interpretation to the works being exhibited at the centre every month.

Kowry Kreations Media, an African art and culture organization came up with this unifying concept in collaboration with Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA).

The Center for Contemporary Art is located on Mc Ewen Street, Sabo, Yaba.

Call 07084287828 for details

Friday, March 13, 2009

Introducing V-Monologues

V-Monologues 2009 is here.

Tickets are available and can be purchased from:
The Soul Lounge (The Palms Shopping Mall)
Domino Stores
KIND Center @ 60, Lanre Awolokun Street, Gbagada Phase 2

Book now by calling 01-8179398 or 8902970.

Please circulate among your networks.

V-Monologues...the play for women and the men that love them...you will understand better when you watch!

Enjoy one of the monologues here:

THE AUGUST VISITOR(Delivered in a Middle Belt dialect)

VOICE: It is tradition in certain parts of our country that when a guest comes to the house, the wife or daughter of the host is given to the friend of the house to give him pleasure for the duration of the visit.

The song, ‘Kerewa’ plays

WOMAN: My husband brought home his fat friend again yesterday.

The one with the protruding stomach and beer-stained breath.

The one with the fat fat arms, who wheezes as he walks,

Clothes smoked with camphor to stay the lice that thrive on him

He looks you up and down as if measuring the worth of cattle

Papa Adele, my husband and I call him.

‘Papa Adele, Papa Adele, please don’t stay,’ the children would sing behind his back.

The household is already asleep

My husband wakes me to make food for his friend.

‘Papa Adele is important,’ he says to me.

A man who can steer the family business the right way,

who can make us hold our heads high

as we seek a path through life’s maze,

to make a better life for the children.

We need a television, my husband says to me

And a small generator for electricity

the kind they call ‘I better pass my neighbour’

Papa Adele will help us.

I make the food,

Eyes tired, hands weak,

And my husband and he,

They eat, drink and laugh

Long into the night as I return to bed.

Then my husband comes,

That dark hour before dawn

Tapping my feet where I lie,

Stinking of our local brew.

‘Wake Terlumun,’ he says to me.

‘Tell her to go to our visitor’s room

And see that he lacks nothing through the night.’

‘Our child sleeps,’ I tell him,

‘Her day was hard and she is not yet rested. She would be of little use to our friend.’

‘Then you must go, he says to me

Tonight, our friend must not lie alone.’

So, I gather myself and go out of my husband’s room,

Down the dark corridor, into our visitor’s room.

He lies on the bed, belly up in the sky,

This bleached whale like a dead, dead fish with his fat fat arms.

He winks as I come through the door

And he rolls to one side, arm under heavy-jawed chin-

Striving to look young.

And then he says to me with a leer on his face,

‘I thought the young one would come tonight.

Still, what can beat experience?’

I nod in weariness, in acceptance, as I settle by his side.

Calloused hands cup my buttocks,

Teeth eroded with cavities clamp on my breasts,

Sweat-laden armpit brushes against my face

as he comports, gathers himself,

And then weight is lowered onto me.

My husband,

Pretending sleep in the next room

Does not hear the wheezing of his friend, Papa Adele,

As he thrusts into the borrowed vagina.

It is a sign of hospitality.

A sign of our friendliness.

If you enjoyed this, then be at one of the performances, there are more!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Onyeka Nwelue's fear of not being read!

Born in 1988 in Nigeria, Onyeka Nwelue travelled extensively to Asia, particularly to India. In 2004, he was described in The Guardian as a 'teenager with a steaming pen'. His writings have appeared in The Sun, Kafla Inter-Continental and The Guardian. He's presently a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In this interview, he answers questions about his fears, the writers that he loves and the strangest thing that got into his hair.

Who is Onyeka in one sentence?
Onyeka is a writer born in 1988 in Nigeria

Which talent would you most like to have?
Talent as a writer.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My Christian background.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


What is the last thing you read that made you laugh?
White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

Who is your perfect audience?
My siblings.

How does being a Nigerian influence your writing?
Many ways.

When is the best time for you to write?
When I'm depressed, hungry, lonely and angry.

What is your most treasured possession?
My hair.

Writers that influenced you
Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jude Dibia, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Kiran Desai.

What is the book that changed your life?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

What inspires your writing?

Describe your writing in a sentence?

Stories that reveal the unreal parts of life.

How will you introduce your child to writing?
No way. My father didn't 'introduce' me to politics.

What part of writing do you enjoy most?
The flow of thoughts; the writing itself.

What would a story about your life be called?
The Humourous and Mystical Life of Onyeka Nwelue. Or The Wondrous Tale and Tale of Onyeka Nwelue. Or The Paltry Sultry Years of Onyeka Nwelue.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not to be read.

Who are your favourite writers?

Arundhati Roy, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie are my favourite writers.

What do you love most about India?

Its diversity in everything.

Where is Onyeka, the writer and person in five years?

I live my life in a minute. Don't know.

Animals: do you eat or save them?
I think both. I eat and save animals.

Your house is on fire; what will you take with you?
Any manuscript I'm working on.

What is the strangest thing that has ever been found in your 'afBoldro'?
A HB pencil during POST-UME at Nsukka

Five minutes left on earth, what will be your last words?

Live and let's live.

What do you hate about being Nigerian?
The claim that when you are religious different, you are 'possessed by an evil spirit'.

What were you thinking of when you wrote The Abyssinian Boy?
I was thinking of a world that can only exist in my wildest imagination.

What is the worth of a book?
A book I can read, laugh and clap, even when I'm supposed to cry.

NB. Watch out for A WRITER AND A REVIEWER: Onyeka 'in response' to a review of his novel The Abyssinian Boy.

The World's Highest Earning Author...

...And the highest earning author is JK Rowlings...more information here. Quick question, when will Nigerian writers start earning that high? What is really wrong with us: lack of structure, badly written stories, 'dying' publishing industry (as reported here),lack of entrepreneurial spirit, our usual elusive excuse 'the Nigerian factor' or everything?

Let us know what you think on Bookaholic!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sage Has.son Presents 'Twinke Twinkle Superstar'

Nigeria’s spoken word performance poet, Sage Has.son launched his highly anticipated second album Twinkle Twinke Superstar at a listening party held at the Lydos Bar & Cafe, Victoria Island on the evening of Sunday, the 8th of March 2009.

The event kicked off with a soulful performance from Bez, which was followed by an adlib-filled rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘Turn Your Lights Down Low’ and an original piece composed and performed acapella by Pamela for Sage himself. The night continued in that fashion with artistes performing from a variety of genres such as soul, rock, Afro, hip hop and rap in between the listening and viewing of Sage’s work, both old and new.

Sex, love, relationships, rebellion, spirituality are all themes which Sage explores in his new album. If I had to choose a favourite track it would be the catchy radio-friendly ‘Dance’ which starts off with a sultry husky female voice repeating, ‘I will make you dance’, this is followed by a musical rap by Sage. Sage performed the remix of the song later in the night with Ade Piper. That’s not all that caught my attention; ‘Screw Poem’ is one title that I won’t forget. Others include ‘Shine (remix)’ ‘Hey Love’ and ‘Black Jesus’ just to mention a few. Kraft, Jesse Jagz, T.O.D., Joe Kenny and Mendo all worked on producing the album.

The event also featured performances from Sista Soul, Mode Nine, Nnenna, Toba Gold, Ayo, Femi Jubal and Itu Baba. The audience which was packed boasted of the likes of Obiwon, Djinee and Blaise. The night closed with announcement from Sage’s manager who said the cd would be available on the streets, in other words-Go ask your vendor and drive up the demand.

In all, the event was a success as evidenced in the large turnout and media presence from NTA’s camera crew to newspaper reporters from NEXT, this super star is shining all the way through!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


The last edition of Poetry Potter has come and gone. This was my first edition and I had a swell time for many reasons. It was a bumper package: the Potter himself (Aderemi Adegbite) was a year older; there were so many interesting people on the guest list (Terry the Rapman, the three members of the REDSTRAT team); not forgetting the beautiful renditions of the spoken word. It was indeed a beautiful symphony of words, music and stories... a real Poetry Potter.

I arrived there a little beyond schedule thanks to leaving home late and Lagos traffic, however when I entered the hall, I knew that I had not missed so much because there were less than fifteen people seated and it was obvious that the invited guests were not yet around. So I sat down and enjoyed Cornerstone’s musical performance as he sang a reggae number. As if the guests knew I was around, they arrived in minutes one by one: Terry, Adewole Ajao (winner of the AMBO 4), and the Redstrat team.

Next performance was Lanre Ari-Ajia’s poetry rendition about two things: a beautiful woman and Obama. The beauty of his poetry lies in his native Yoruba tongue and his ability to play on words through the use of pun or as the Yorubas say “oro ase”. He later rendered them in English for the non-Yoruba in the crowd to enjoy, which revealed the obvious effort to make the words rhyme. Both poems got the crowd cheering particularly the rendition in Yoruba.

Terry the Rapman was upstage next as he was locked in an interview session with the MCs. The questions bothered on his humble background in Kaduna; his musical influences; his first album called “I am Nigerian” which sounded like Eminem’s song rhythmically; the evolution, revolution and business of rap music in Nigeria, among other things. For me through this session, he showed that there is hope for qualitative music in Nigeria and that you don’t have to “belong” by being a part of the current trend of singing “jargons” that sounded alike.

Chude Jideonwu, Emilia Asimuta and Adebola Williams, the brains behind the Future awards soon took the stage. The MCs questioned again: their untold story that led to the FUTURE glory (days of pasting posters themselves, sweeping, carrying the red carpet, etc.); progress report; the significance of people to them; the dynamic nature of their challenges as the years progress. The one lesson that I picked from them was that challenges would always come and the “challenged” has to decide to use it positively because work has to get done and most times it is by you.

Next was a “musical relief” that came through a performance by Ayo, a female guitarist and singer. The title of her song was “Freedom”, and one could feel freedom around as she strummed the strings of the guitar and sang with a slightly masculine voice. She is a star to watch out for (take that from me!).

There was the last interview session with all the invited guests as they responded intelligently to questions from the audience. Whats next for them? Terry closed the session saying that he was working on a 2-in-1 album and videos; his guiding philosophy is to live life as if death was due tomorrow and plan as if he has forever to live.

There was an open mic session to round off the day; key among the performers were Brainstorm, Uche Uwadinachi, Nonnie, Jubril, Segun Eluyemi with his magical nose (Sege Black) with each of them bringing their uniqueness to each performance.

How else could I start my weekend? What else can I say?

Long live Kowry Kreations...
Long live Poetry Potter...
Long live creativity in Nigeria...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The NLNG Prize for Literature Goes Poetic...

The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG)has called for entries for the 2009 Nigeria Prize for Literature. This year's competition is for poetry and the winner goes home with $50,000.

The prize for literature, which rotates yearly among the four literary genres of prose fiction, poetry, drama and children's literature is open only to published works by Nigerian writers resident in the country.

Interested persons are to send six copies of their entry, submitted either by the author or publisher, to the External Relations Division, Nigeria LNG Limited, latest March 14, 2009.

Instituted six years ago, it is the biggest literary prize in Nigeria. Past winners include Kaine Agary, Gabriel Okara, Ezenwa Ohaeto, Ahmed Yerima, Mabel Segun and Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo.

For more information, click the link below.


Events To Be At!

Abuja Writers' Forum: Weekly critique and reading sessions - Sam's Valley Garden, Jimmy Carter Crescent, off Protea Hotel, Asokoro, Abuja. 4pm every Sunday.

The Swamp Dwellers: The National Theatre's production of Wole Soyinka's play - National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. Dates: 6 to 23 March.

Has.son Sage Listening Party: performances from the spoken-word/songspeak album, ‘Twinkly Twinkle Superstar' - Lydos Cafe/Bar, Akin Adesola opposite Adeola Odeku Junction, Victoria Island, Lagos. Time: 5 to 7pm. Date: 7 March

Prison Chronicles: Theatre@Terra's performances of Wole Oguntokun's play - Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos. 3pm & 6pm, every Sunday in March. Price: N2,000. Contact: laspapi@yahoo.com.

The Hounding of David Oluwale: Eclipse Theatre's production of the adaptatation by Oladipo Agboluaje - Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, UK (http://www.everymanplayhouse.com). Dates: 3 to 7 March.

Boudoir Terracotta: Exhibition of the paintings of Onyema Offoedu-Okeke - Didi Museum, 175 Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Until March 9.

Like A Virgin: exhibition of photography by Lucy Azubuike and Zanele Muholi; Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), 9 McEwen Street, Yaba, Lagos. Until March 14.

Please email details of your forthcoming art/literary events 14 days in advance, to: bookaholicblog@gmail.com.