Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bookaholic Blog Now Officially on BellaNaija

You have a right to know that in our bid to spread the word of literature to the world, we are now official arts bloggers on BellaNaija. Here is an extract of a review of Toni Kan's Songs of Absence and Despair:

Toni Kan’s collection of poetry Songs of Absence and Despair, are not songs to dance to, but songs tinted with darkness even as they focus on the theme of absence and emptiness. These two themes are hard to write about because they are deep-seated emotions that everyone hates but cannot avoid in life. Yet, the poet in Kan does justice to them.

They are short but provocative poems divided into two sections: Songs of absence (with nineteen poems) and songs of despair (with fifteen poems). They are very contemporary taking a look at the effects of changes caused by the ‘contemporariness’ of our world: loneliness, separation of spouses to search for a better living, migration, nostalgia, lost love, death, foster parents, ‘lost’ children, etc.

Toni Kan is a poet with a trick; he writes as if with a quill, uses the ink of language minimally with caution lest he defaces the focus of the work. Thus, each word that spills from his pen is pregnant with meaning. He spices his language with the use of literary devices that are spread in different parts of his work: personification, simile, metaphor among others. This does not mean that the language is not accessible. The shortest poem is one to look at (‘I Read Your Body like Braille’): In pitch darkness/ I read your body like Braille/ My fingers are my eyes. (p.54)

A literal explanation of this is a sexual rendezvous between two people…but that’s just limiting the power of the poem. It could mean many things to other readers. For me: it is the feelings of absence that one feels when a lover is away, ‘my fingers’, memories that I have of you are the ones that make me see, that give me temporary comfort.

Read the rest on BellaNaija...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Uche Uwadinachi Opens Up...the final part...

Favourite word: Life.

Any writer or poet you look up to: Prof. Niyi Osundare, Prof Akachi Ezeigbo.

What does poetry mean to you? Expression.

What do you think about the emergence of literary events such as Wordslam, Taruwa, Poetry Potter?

These are literary renaissance agents to redeem the present collapse of literature.

What would you like to be remembered for? Resilience.

Your most prized possession: My voice.

Do you rap? No, I sing.

Early years: Quiet uneasy and lonely.

Embarrassing moments: When my first record label crashed and folded up.

Aspiration for the future: To be a world class movie Director.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter: None.

What do you think about Obama? He is another dreamer like Martins Luther King, but this time around, dreaming inside the White House.

What is your take on Nigerian politics? The same old wine in an old bottle. Only the youth can stop the loot.

Your solution for the Niger-Delta crisis? Sincerity of the Government and the people to themselves.

A perfect day: Any day I learn a new thing.

Three things you are most passionate about: My Pen, My girl and My Income.

Describe yourself in three words: A go-getter

Monday, April 27, 2009

Witty Sayings in Pidgin English

1. He who fights & runs away....Na fear catch am.

2. Pikin wey no sabi em mama boyfriend....Dey call am brother.

3. A rolling stone no just dey roll....Na person push am.

4. He who lives in a glass house....Na im pepe rest.

5. A stitch in time....dey prevent further tear tear.

6. Birds of d same d same mama born dem.

7. One good correct power steering be that.

8. A bird in hand....wetin e wan be again if no be barbeque/Suya.

9. Half better than buns or puff puff.

10. D journey of a thousand miles....Ol' boy e beta make u carry okada.

11. The patient dog....Na hunger go kill am.

12. All work & no play....Na Banker be dat.

13. He who laughs mumu, y im no catch d joke d 1st time

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Writers Beware!

The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) site Writers Beware was maliciously targeted by hackers who used it to send a Trojan virus to visitors of the site. The affected pages have now been cleaned up but this is a timely reminder to all of us to ensure our computer firewalls and virus protections are kept up to date. Click here for more information...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Questioning is one way to knowledge and I've always asked myself questions. Last week, the question for me was: why do I read? I came up with a couple of answers and quotes and thought I should share. For me:

I read to escape into unknown worlds to meet known and unknown people...
I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Anonymous ~

Reading is a path into history unknown: past and future...

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to
mankind, which are delivered down from generation to
generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn,
~ Joseph Addison ~

To be called vast, well know a bit of everything...

If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.
Lily Tomlin

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously, and some few
to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention
~ Francis Bacon ~
Books are faithful friends...

He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend,
a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.
By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently
divert and pleasantly entertain himself,
as in all weathers, as in all fortunes.
~ Barrow ~

A book is good company.
It is full of conversation without loquacity.
It comes to your longing with full instruction,
but pursues you never.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

To view reality and escape from it...

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape.
It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.
~ Arthur Christopher Benson ~

When we read a story, we inhabit it.
The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls.
What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story.
And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own.
~ John Berger ~

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.
~ Emily Dickinson ~
To read is to live and to live is to read...

To read is to empower
To empower is to write
To write is to influence
To Influence is to change
To change is to live.
~ Jane Evershed ~

Read in order to live.
~ Gustave Flaubert ~

Let us hear from you: why do you read? Also share your favourite 'reading' quotes (would love quotes from Africans too)...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Les Brown and MTN

Exactly seven days ago, we waited anxiously and with bated breaths to hear world renowned motivational speaker Les Brown talk courtesy of was uplifting and life changing. In three sentences, this is the gist.

M-Make your dreams come true.
T-Total commitment is required for success.
N-Never ever give up!

So what can we learn? In as much as he came to motivate us in achieving our dreams, it was still his job. MTN brought him and he tailored them in nicely into his speech.


For writers out there if you're thinking of copy writing and copy editing, remember in as much as you want to show your skills, the client is No. 1.

By the way...we aren't getting paid for this! Just thought you should know.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bula Mbungue Releases Poetry Book

Caxito — A poetry book entitled "P├ętalas D'Amor" of the Angolan writer, Bula Mbungue, will be released on April 28 in Caxito, capital of northern Bengo province, under the commemorations of the 29th anniversary of this city to be marked on April 26.

Bula Mbungue was born on 17 July 1980 in Saurimo city, north-eastern Lunda Sul province, and started writing poems in the 90s, having enrolled into the Literature Youth Brigade of Angola (BJLA) in Luanda, where he learnt techniques of the art of literature.

The book, which comprises 44 poems written in Portuguese, reflects the problems of Angolan youths, in particular, and the society, in general. It has 59 pages and 1,000 copies will be released in a first phase.

According to the artist, the poems also portray aspects related to moral and civic education and include messages of approximation and union among people, belief in the existence of God, as well as mutual love and fighting against changing of minds.

Mbungue is a journalist of the Angola Press Agency (ANGOP) at the provincial delegation of Bengo, and he is a student of the first international relations course of the Wanhenga Xitu University.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Uche Uwadinachi Opens Up...

I am Uche Uwadinachi also known as 'Flames'. I won the 2006 ANA Poetry contest, Lagos State Chapter. Am a graduate of the Department of English, Lagos State University (2006). I've worked as an Editor for AJ City Express Newspaper. I belong to a music group called Kamazaiah with a first album released titled “Lifted” (2007). I'm also an actor and have featured in several top Nigerian home movies such as Real Love, Adam and Eve, You broke my heart, Haunted love, Missing Angel, among others.  I am a performance poet and the author of SCAR in the Heart of pain (2009).

Your approach to writing

Writing has always been a means of expression to me. I started with music which when I voice, I always had to write down the lines. At my early stage, I used to forget things easily, so writing became a companion to remind me of the events, the past, the future and others. The University opened a professional avenue for me to write, to learn more and also my poetry became the compulsory essence why I had to write to live and be happy.

What is the first impression you would like you reader to have of your work?

I want them to see the human heart as the spirit, which determines the fate of any person. So as to overcome any SCAR–the inner difficulties (s)he faces.

Why such title Scar in the Heart of Pain?

The “Scar” and the “Heart” are two sensitive and popular issues that people will always give audience to. And moreover it was most suitable for what I was trying to describe.

Has your work been misinterpreted before?

Yes. Some people see the image and first think it’s a book on medical heart complications but when they see the title they recover from such misinterpretation.

What is your muse?


How long did it take you to write the book?

Since most of the issues raised are real, it has been since my teenage years but professionally five years.

What challenges do you face as a first-time author?

Getting audience to read my work as a first time author is quite uneasy.

What is your assessment of the Nigerian publishing scene?

It’s like a “Better bookshops movie” and it’s not their faults since there is no market or good reading habit in the country.

What career are you pursuing at the moment?

I am looking up to be a Director– for music videos, movies and media events.

Where are you working presently?

On my personal literature project title “Save the Spoken Word”. It out to preach and teach poetry in the streets. And also my music video with maylucky Obi Justice.

Any advice for budding writers?

They should find forums to learn more and expose their works to the world.

Can Creative Writing be taught?

Yes at least the basics of English language, then they can experiment to communicate.

Comment on the dying reading culture

Obviously, it’s serious but if there can be more focus on the literature in Nigeria by the Government, Private institutions and Individuals, it would gradually wake up. By focus – I mean through seminars & workshop, programmes, scholarship, contest, awards, shows, etc.

Final words on your epitaph

I refuse to fall.

Read the concluding part of this interview next week...

Monday, April 20, 2009

A sneak peek into Bookaholic with Bella this week.

Scar in the Heart of Pain by Uche Uwadinachi will be reviewed this Wednesday on Bookaholic with Bella sometime between 7.30am and 8.30am on Silverbird Television. We will bring you an interesting Q & A later this week. In the meantime, below is a poem from the collection.

Hunt me
Below clump prairie in the forest,
Scourge me
On ridges of tallest hills,
Taunt me
In my cramped dark burrow,
Scare me
Behind leaves of crooked trunks,
Shoot me
In this tranquil flight in the sky,
Chase me
Through hazy streets of the slum,

But don't dare me

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CAVALCADE: Call for submissions

Are you an upcoming writer? Then you should read this...

, a literary journal, devoted to publishing original stories, poems, one-act plays, reviews, critical essays and art from an African perspective, debuted in November 2008 with a special edition. The tri-annual journal, a project of the Abuja Writers' Forum (AWF), is now seeking submissions for the third and subsequent editions

All works must be submitted by email in the form of a single Microsoft Word compatible attachment or pasted in the body of the mail. Be sure your name and email address appear on each page. Please put "Fiction," "Poetry," “One Act Play”, "Essay", “Review” or “Art” in the subject line of the email. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines risk being unread.

Fiction, essays and reviews must not exceed 5,000 words. Please do not submit more than one work of short story, one-act play, essay or review, and send ONLY three poems and five art works per submission. Art submissions must be in jpeg format.

You may submit works that have been previously published as long as you still own the copyright and all reproduction rights. Check with the previous publisher before submitting such works to CAVALCADE. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please notify us if work has been accepted elsewhere. All rights revert to the author upon publication, though CAVALCADE expects to be credited when the work is republished.

Contributors will be notified if their materials are selected and will in turn indicate their willingness to have the materials published in CAVALCADE. Contributors will not be paid for their works but will receive a copy of the edition in which their works appear.

Submissions are welcome all through the year except for a special edition when the specifics will be announced including a deadline for submissions.

Send submissions to cavalcade@bigstring .com. The genre editors will notify contributors if their materials are selected and will in turn indicate their willingness to have the materials published in Cavalcade.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Is the Curriculum Everything?

The Curriculum is Everything

Is it true that the curriculum is everything? Where is the place of creativity in curriculum? Does it make, mar or restrict us? What does it teach us, to be intelligent or become mere stooges?

History is replete with people that were considered academic failures yet they blazed trails by following their passions: Bill Gates, Les Brown, Mark Zukerberg, etc. Or you wonder how our forefathers exuded great intelligence (check out local proverbs, stories and wise sayings) even without a curriculum...Is the curriculum everything?

In our world where acquisition of degrees is paralleled with knowledge; our world where in Ikhide Ikheloa's words (paraphrased) 'a monkey can stay behinde a computer; connect to the internet and buy off a degree and become 'Mr. Obolagido(Phd.) that is Mr. Monkey (Phd.) Our world where titles (academic or otherwise) determines your acceptability in the society; where ignorance is celebrated garbed in awards and titles. I ask again: is the curriculum everything and is everything in the curriculum?

Let us know on Bookaholic...

Chimurenga Online also wants to know these and more in the next online issue...

Details here

Airport sounds from a distance, blurred, incomprehensible, then suddenly loud and clear. "Flight sixty-nine has been..." Static ... fades into the distance ... "Flight..." Standing to one side of the desk are three men, grinning with joy at their prospective destinations. When I present myself at the desk, the woman says: "You haven't had your education yet."
- William Burroughs, My Education: A Book of Dreams

Who be teacher, I go let you know...
- Fela Anikulapo Kuti, "Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense"

Bookaholic's Add: -Bantu 'No more 'No Vernacular' teacher no teach me nonsense'

Afrigrowth Essay Competition

Are you eligible to participate or do you know anyone who is?

Theme: Mentorship

Age group: 18 and 25

Deadline: May 30, 2009

Details BELOW

Topic: Mentoring: A Panacea for Sustainable Growth and Development

Write a 2,000 word essay on how mentoring could be a solution for sustainable growth and development for Youths, How mentoring could build a better society, How mentoring could aid character development and good leadership, the role of mentoring in national development.

• Grand Prize: Laptop and N50,000 cash
• 2nd Prize: IPOD and N35,000
• 3rd Prize : DVD N15,000

Supported by Omatek and FINBank

Click here and here for more information

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Story Time with Toni Kan

Toni Kan is our friend at The Bookaholic Blog and we really loved his new collection of poetry entitled Songs of Absence and Despair published by Cassava Republic Press and can't wait to hear him read from it this Saturday, April 18 2009 2pm at Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos.

For anyone that might be new to his writing, below is an excerpt of a review of his recent short story collection Nights of the Creaking Bed.

Nights of the Creaking Bed is like poetry; Toni Kan uses the minimum amount of words to tell all 14 stories with just the right amount of detail that you, the reader, feel that you were right there with the characters.

The collection of stories opens with the eponymous story ‘Nights of the Creaking Bed'. From the first line: "My mother was a kept woman," the tone of the piece is set. We go on to hear about this mother who has been ‘f***** somebody's husband'.

The language is very realistic and easily reflects the ages and the generations to which the characters belong. This natural voice is evident throughout the collection, whether it is from a parent or a child in ‘God is Listening': "His young, pink tongue touching his pink palate screams: ‘Please, please, please,"' or the audio pulse of the hustle and bustle of ‘under-bridge' life in the city of Lagos captured in ‘The Devil's Overtime': "Carry this JJC waka. Make you show am way. If anybody worry una, tell dem say this JJC na my person." Or the slowed down tempo of the rural areas experienced in ‘Ahmed': "He loved watching the sun come up through the branches of the trees. He loved the gentle touch of the wind on his face." In general, Kan chooses his words to effectively mirror societal stories and happenings in such a way the reader comes away not only identifying with the characters and themes but also believing the ‘realness' of the stories and in some cases are able to draw parallel personal experiences.

Read the rest of Story Time with Toni Kan by Isabella E.C. Akinseye here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bookaholic with Bella: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

An epic story of love and civil war set in Nigeria during the 1960s, Half of a Yellow Sun recounts the lives of three characters caught up in events larger than themselves: Ugwu, a young houseboy working for an idealistic university professor; Olanna, the professor’s mistress; and Richard, a British expatriate in love with Olanna’s twin sister Kainene. Their relationships are thrown into jeopardy when Richard spends one drunken night with Olanna, and as the war escalates.

With Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie firmly establishes herself as a most powerful storyteller and humanist, “the 21st century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” according to The Washington Post Book World. The book has won numerous awards and accolades worldwide, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007.