Monday, January 31, 2011

You Tell Me: War of Forms

This post is based on observations. Observations only! And yes, I hate categorisations...there are many of them in the post...for the purpose of the post ;)

Plato would not welcome poets in his Republic "Having defined justice and established it as the greatest good, he banishes poets from his city. Poets, he claims, appeal to the basest part of the soul by imitating unjust inclinations. By encouraging us to indulge ignoble emotions in sympathy with the characters we hear about, poetry encourages us to indulge these emotions in life. Poetry, in sum, makes us unjust." 

Thus began the war between genres: poetry vs drama, prose vs poetry; Literature with the Big L (what some call literary literature) vs Literature with the small l (pulp literature, city lit, chick lit; whatever you call it!)

It is important to know that these genres are unique in themselves. The writer of the small L also is not lesser in value to the writer of the Big L...they are writing stories, maybe stories of the same people in different ways. All writing does not have to be about social issues like corruption, neo-colonialism, war, HIV/AIDS and all the deep dark things...I wonder if there is any such thing as lesser writing or higher writing? I wonder how those who make those generalisations arrive at their standards for what is high and what is low? Pray tell...

I also wonder why poets think that novelists are failed poets. Really? Have you read Toni Morrison and realise the sweet poetry than that which laces her words? Have you watched Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman and noticed the ]brilliant use of poetry? Don't you think that these genres intersect at different points? That many writers set out writing poetry and end up with fiction does not mean they are failed could only mean they are found a better love through a first love?

The truth is each writing is a different form with different requirements. Forget all the categorisations, I think the only one that exists is between good and bad writing.

And maybe Richard Rhodes puts it best in his book "How To Write": "Civilisation won't collapse if people write differently...many critics who disdain forms of writing they consider vulgar are simply intellectually provincial. Others cling to a romantic belief that writing is a kind of secular revelation. It may be, but the oracle speaks through many forms."

That seems to capture it! 

What say you?

Saturday, January 29, 2011


How is the weekend going? Here is a list of links you can go for interesting reads. Have a great week ahead!

Brittle Paper: a bi-weekly blog that features writings inspired by literature and philosophy. Brittle Paper is what happens when a nibble of philosophy here and a crumb of literary theory there unite in the crucible of the author’s creative mind.

WritersAfrika: For the latest opportunities in writing and the academia. Really, we still don't know how they get their info...sure they'd be good literary FBI. They gather information, very well. 

Ikhide Ikheloa's Latest Blogpost on Next:  Read, read and read some more. That's Ikhide's advice to budding writers. This is a very well-written one. Plus you have a link to the hottest literary websites around. All in one article.

Daily News and Analysis' Interview with Orhan Pamuk: "When I write about love, the critics in the US and Britain say that this Turkish writer writes very interesting things about Turkish love. Why can't love be general? I am always resentful and angry of this attempt to narrow me and my capacity to experience this humanity. When non-Western authors express this humanity through their work their humanity is reduced to their nation's humanity," Another article about the same event here.

How Novels Came to terms with the Internet, Guardian UK Article: "The further literature is driven to the outskirts of the culture, the more it is cherished as a sanctuary from everything coarse, shallow and meretricious in that culture. It is the chapel of profundity, and about as lively and well visited as a bricks-and-mortar chapel to boot. Literature is where you retreat when you're sick of celebrity divorces, political mudslinging, office intrigues, trials of the century, new Apple products, internet flame wars, sexting and X Factor contestants – in short, everything that everybody else spends most of their time thinking and talking about. "

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mark Your Calendar!

CelebrityRead Africa - 6th Edition!

Come watch our special celebrities read off their favorite book, alongside invited authors! And get the chance to chitchat and network with them, the students and their fans amidst so much media glitz and grandeur.

Segun Odegbami (Nigerian Ex-football International)
Uti Nwachukwu (Winner, Big Brother Africa All Stars 2010)
Kelechi Amadi-Obi (Veteran Photographer)
Y.Q (R&B Singer and Performer)

Special Guest Authors:
Jumoke Verissimo (Writer/Author of the book 'I am memory')
Tolulope Akanni (Writer/Author of A-Z Life Lessons)

Live Musical performances by: Don Perona, Eleri, Cynnade and Elfizzy
Loads of exciting poetry performances.

Date: 29th January 2011 @ Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Str., VI - Lagos.
Time: 3pm prompt.
Visit, for more insights.

RSVP event here

Debonair Sudoku Sunday
You are invited to attend Debonair's Sudoku Sunday event this Sunday 30th January 2011.

Sudoku is a number puzzle in which the numbers 1 through 9 must be placed into a grid of cells so that each row or column contains only one of each number.

RSVP the Sudoku Sunday Event.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bring Back the Book: Where Did the Book Go?

Written by Oyindamola Olofinlua

If you are banished to a desert where you are allowed to take only one thing, what will it be? Research has shown that many present-day Nigerians would go with either their television, radio or blackberry. The percentage of those that would go there with a book would be the least. No wonder it is said that if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book. On Monday, 20 December, 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan GCFR launched Bring Back the Book campaign in Lagos. The initiative was supposed to resuscitate reading culture among Nigerians.  

On Monday, 17 January, 2011 the Banquet Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA) in furtherance of the President’s objective conveyed a meeting of stakeholders in the book industry – publishers, booksellers, authors, teachers, librarians, NGOs/CSOs, Corporate Donors – to work out a practical framework for the rebirth reading among Nigerians.

There were two divides. The first believed that many Nigerians do not read again. The second divide was of the opinion that Nigerians still read but that what they read should be the issue. Those who believed that many Nigerians no longer read were of the opinion that the ever-swinging tide of the economy has redirected people’s focus from the book to money. In the words of Erabor Okogun “The skill to read is lacking. The skill is the ability to sit down and let the book speak to you.” Potential readers these days are not patient enough to allow this happen. Some of the speakers went down memory lane to recall the years when Nigerians really read. At least one of the speakers accused the military of killing.

Some of the speakers said that the high cost of books is a deterrent to reading. So, they advised for government subsidy. On the other hand, it was made clear that even if books are sold at an affordable price, many people would still not find any interest in it. Some of the speakers were expressed the opinion that since many Nigerians can afford to buy phones, they can afford to buy books. 

In the words of Chuka Nnabuife, the anchor of the third session of the conference, “Nigerians still read.” According to him, many Nigerians read sports papers, others read books that are either written or recommended by their pastors or imam. Since it is true that some Nigerians are reading, it may be wise to pay attention to the areas they focus on. For instance, if sports is what people are reading, then attention should be paid to sports. This is more so as other media have also been accused of complicity in the death of the book.
A high point of the event was when the poet, activist and social critic, Odia Ofeimun added his voice to the whole debate. Ofeimun’s opinion is that policy making is not the issue, the issue is policy implementation. In spite of the high number of literacy policies that have been worked on in this country, Nigeria remains one of the leading countries in terms of illiteracy prevalence. “Supporting the book is not just about the book, it is about infrastructure”, Ofeimun said. 

The poet, Austyn Njoku, presenting a paper on behalf of the coordinator of the Abuja Writers’ Forum, Emman Usman Shehu, towed a line similar to that of Ofeimun. Citing the example of the detention of Okey Ndibe, he criticized the disrespect of writers. “You cannot bring back the book without respecting writers”, Njoku said. He didn’t fail to recall the fact that government in the past had embarked on similar campaigns, one of which was the READ campaign which was launched by this same administration. One must not forget what many have termed inconsistency on the part of Nigerian leaders. For instance, some have criticized the president for being the same person that wants to bring the book and the same person that has ordered the closure of schools for two week (This is arguable, though!). 

At the end of the conference, it was agreed that everyone – schools, government, NGOs/CSOs parents, e.t.c. – has a role to play. A draft document which would be sent to the president was drawn. One can only hope that this time around, this dream would not die as many of its predecessors. 

Read 234Next's Report of the Event

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Deadline Reminder!

The African Writing Competition's deadline knocks....few days to go. It's time to edit your work--dot your i's and cross your t's; and finally, send!

More info here. Also read excerpts from the freshest issue of African Writing Magazine 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

#Writing Quotes

Once in a while, we will bring you interesting quotes by writers..short, sweet, crazy, fun but sure not dull. Share your favourite writing quotations with us! Have a great week :-)

  • There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith
  • So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.  ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948
  • The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Ana├»s Nin
  • Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.  ~E.L. Doctorow
  • A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.  ~Charles Peguy
  • And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath
  • I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977
  • Originality is not seen in single words or even sentences. Originality is the sum total of a man's thinking or his writing.--Isaac Bashevis Singer 
  • I always write a good first line, but I have trouble in writing the others.--Moliere
  • In order to write about life, first you must live it!---Hemingway

Friday, January 21, 2011

You Tell Me: Why Bother Read Fiction

It's Friday. Thank God it's Friday huh? Time to curl into those books you stole to read through the traffic, during break at work and early in the morning before you set out. We have this light argument...well about fiction.More like about the purpose of fiction. Here you go: tell us why you read fiction.

The first question is: why bother read fiction? Life as short as it is, with books of information, instruction and discussion, waiting to be read, waiting to show you an easy guide to existence and survival; why should you spend your precious time on works of imagination?

You tell us!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crown Troupe@Terra

The Crown Troupe of Africa presents five sizzling performances, every Sunday, this January at Terra Kulture...what better way to start a promising year?

Schedule of performances:
Three performances have gone down already...there are two to go!

Sunday 23rd January- Mixed Menu

Sunday 30th January- No More the Wasted Breed by Femi Osofisan. Also featuring performances by the Amulegbajo Dance Company.

Time: 3pm & 5pm (2 shows) Venue: Terra Kulture, Plot 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Gate fee: N2,000 only.

More Music! More Dance! More Drama!
For tickets, call: 08162641754 or mail:
Supported by Terra Kulture and the Dream Arts & Design Agency (DADA)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy 2011 People!

Welcome to 2011. Oh yeah, we've been posting; this may be rather late but this is official welcome to 2011 from the Bookaholics. 2011 beckons...we dream of a better Bookaholic: more interviews with writers and bloggers (yes, we will bring back the Blogger and Writer of the Month series!), more writing tips and writing news. Email us if there's something you want to read here; here's your chance to write what you want to read on Bookaholic ;)

Here is a poem from Ella Wheeler Wilcox, from way back. And yes, a dialogue. May the year bring you happiness, love, good cheer and many reasons to smile. And dance. And make 2011 your best ever!

The Year by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1910)

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.


    “The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is bleak and drear;
    Who is it knocking at my door?”

    “I am Good Cheer.”

    “Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope.
    What seek you here?”

    “Friend, let me in; my name is Hope.”

    “And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless. Pass on.”

    “Nay, open wide the door; I am Success.”

    “But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth. I cannot use it.”

    “Listen, friend; I am Good Health.”

    “Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements prove.”

    “But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

CORA hosts conference on ‘Bring Back The Book’ initiative

As a follow-up to the ‘Bring Back The Book’ initiative of the administration of President Jonathan, the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, has resolved to stage a one-day conference of stakeholders in the Book industry and the creative and educational communities to fashion out an implementable document that could guide the President and his team in the quest to encourage reading culture and as well place importance on the Book as a source of knowledge acquisition and manpower development, according to Deji Toye, CORA’s Project Director and coordinator of the Conference.

The conference holds on January 17, 2010 in Lagos and is expected to attract a fairly large congregation of stakeholders in the relevant indus tries, including from governmental agencies, said CORA’s programme team.
The theme of the one-day conference is ‘When the President Wants to Bring Back the Book: So What’s To Be Done Now?’ And it is billed for the Banquet Hall, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos; 9am – 6pm.

The ‘Bring Back the Book’ campaign had been launched on December 20 with the President joining the Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka in a reading session for over 400 students drawn from as many as 100 schools around Lagos at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The programme also witnessed the formal presentation of the book, President Goodluck Jonathan: My Friends and I, Conversations on Policy and Governance via Facebook, during which about five top Nigerian hip-hop musicians performed to a crowd of about 5000 people at the new Expo Hall of Eko Hotel.

According to CORA , the January 17 conference is a desired follow-up to ensure that the dream behind the project is kept alive even as the country gradually slips into the mood of electioneering “when we tend to forget every other critical aspect of our national life”.

The conference, states CORA, aims to ‘gain the insight of stakeholders in the book industry on the current practical challenges of conceptualisation, production, distribution and consumption of books in Nigeria and its impact on the reading culture’; and obtain suggestions on what steps may be taken to address the said challenges with a view to reversing the waning reading culture, such steps including –
• any cultural/economic policies
• legal/regulatory frameworks
• market/supply-side innovations; and
•civil society initiatives.

Deliberations and suggestions at the conference will be presented to the ‘Bring Back the Book’ coordinators in the Presidency. It should also provide a reference point for a pan-industry advocacy for the revival of the reading culture and the revitalisation of the book industry.

Participants are to be to be drawn from the entire value chain of the book industry including the following: Publishers, booksellers and book dealers, authors, printers, libraries/librarians, book and literary event organisers/promoters (book clubs, literary festivals etc), educationists, renowned corporate promoters of book and literary initiatives, book and education-focused MDAs and Nigerian Academy of Letters”, stated CORA.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eno's Story

Eno lives happily with her father, until one day he disappears in an accident. Her uncle says that she is a “witch” who has caused her father’s death. She goes through many struggles before moving in with other children who have also been called “witches” and have been sent away from home.

This moving story, with moments of humour and sadness, shows how Eno uses courage and her imagination to make the best of a difficult situation. Young readers will be gripped while also learning about how an organisation such as Stepping Stones Nigeria can help children in Eno’s situation.

Click here to download an extract.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming Soon : Christie Watson - Tiny Birds Far Away


Christie Watson - Tiny Birds Far Away

'Everything changed after Mama found Father lying on top of another woman.'

Blessing and her brother Ezikiel adore their larger-than-life father, their glamorous mother and their comfortable life in Lagos. But all that changes when their father leaves them for another woman.
Their mother is fired from her job at the Royal Imperial Hotel - only married women can work there - and soon they have to quit their air-conditioned apartment to go and live with their grandparents in a compound in the Niger Delta. Adapting to life with a poor countryside family is a shock beyond measure after their privileged upbringing in Lagos.

Told in Blessing's own beguiling voice, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away shows how some families can survive almost anything. At times hilarious, always poignant, occasionally tragic, it is peopled with characters you will never forget.

Publication date: March 2011.

Click here for more details.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Naija Stories Lagos Meetup

The Naija Stories meetup has been confirmed with the time and date. RSVP to for more information.

Time: Saturday, January 8, 2011 · 10:00am – 1:00pm

Location: Verdant Zeal marketing communications. 15b Sowemimo street, off Ladipo Bateye str. GRA Ikeja. Lagos, Nigeria

Facilitators include;
Jumoke Verisimo – Poet (published by Dada Books)
Tola Odejayi – Writer and Editor (Naija Stories)
Farafina Books
Evelyn Osagie – Reporter (The Nation)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Coming Soon: Birds of Our Land


Birds of our Land

Birds of Our Land is a beautifully illustrated introduction to birds in West Africa that will delight children and adults alike. Robin Gowen’s brilliant illustrations and Virginia Dike’s poetic descriptions help children discover and identify the most common West African birds (like the Kite, Crow and Egret) as well as more unusual ones (such as the Violet Plantain-eater, Didric Cuckoo and Fire-bellied Woodpecker).

The book provides fascinating facts about the appearance and behaviour of the birds in their natural habitat. It is packed with interesting activities on how to look at birds, attract birds to compounds and use a bird observation checklist. By exploring birds this book helps children develop vital observation, communication, and analytical skills as well as a spirit of inquiry and appreciation of the natural world.

Click here to read an extract.

Publication date: 2011

Click here for more details.