The April 24 edition of the Guest Writer Session, a monthly programme by the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF) which showcases a published writer, will feature Lola Shoneyin who has established a reputation as daring and adventurous with her poetry.
Educated in England and Nigeria, Ms Shoneyin is also a fellow of the Iowa International Writers Programme, and has three poetry collections to her credit - So All The Time I Was Sitting On An Egg, Song of A Riverbird and For The Love of Flight. She has also recently published her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and a children’s story book, Mayowa and the Masquerades is forthcoming.
Her poems have also recently appeared African Writer, Next, Sentinel Poetry, The Times, New Scotsman and Maple Tree Literary Suplement.
Her debut poetry collection Sitting On An Egg, drew attention not only for its long and seemingly strange title but because it announced the arrival of an assured poetic voice handling “diverse, everyday, seemingly insignificant matters” centred around women. The follow-up collection – Riverbird is regarded as displaying “a tough, terse wit and assured confidence that both arrests and enchants the reader.”
In his review of Flight,the third collection which was published recently, the England-based Nigerian lawyer and writer, Abdul Mahmud (also known as Obemata), observes that Shoneyin, “ not only highlights the direction of her feminist poetics but accentuates the themes, the narratives of everyday life evident in her other collections of poems. And as always, she locates her poetics within the feminist tradition that resists norms, rebels against patriarchal attitudes and ‘hones the flints of her existence’. And by so doing, she offers details of her perspective within those liberation traditions that hark back to the vibrant generation of feminine poets before her own. Shoneyin is bold when she confronts the diverse; when she seeks to reclaim the ‘sensibility of the modern woman’ in a manner the renowned activist-poet, Ofeimun, describes as ‘soothing yet unyielding’.”
Obemata further states that “Shoneyin’s genius is the brilliant way she negotiates complex ‘thematic runways’ and yet simulates a steadier, safer take-off and softer poetic landings that mark her out as a poet truly at home with her art. And she truly is.”
Ms Shoneyin has been in London in the past few weeks promoting her debut novel published by Serpent’s Tail in a variety of media including the BBC and The Scotsman. She currently resides in Abuja where she teaches at an international school.
The April 24 Guest Writer Session holds by 4pm at the regular venue, Pen and Pages Bookstore, White House Plaza, Plot 79, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja and will include the usual side attractions of poetry performance, mini art exhibition and live music.
Shoneyin’s reading will kick-start the second quarter of the reading sessions. The first quarter had featured Eugenia Abu, Halima Sekula and Dul Johnson.
For more information, email abujawriters@ fastermail.com or click here.