Monday, October 31, 2011

After the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2011

The winner for 2011 was new writer Phillip Nash. So, yes you can. It does not matter if it is your first story, just keep at it.  It was announced about two months ago. Beyond the stories, we loved his words. And yes, for lack of ideas on what to post at the end of the month *wink wink*
"For me, short stories are like tight-rope walks. Because every word counts, even the tiniest slip can be fatal. "
There are no Nigerian winners this time. The winner for the Africa region was Kenyan,  Martha Basett Buyukah, Kenya. Where are all my Nigerian short story writers? 

Learn more about the Commonwealth Writers Prize here. And yes, there is no longer a Best Book Prize. You plan to apply for the next short story contest, learn about writing short stories for radio here.

"To write an effective short story for radio, you mustconsider everything you want to do in the light of howit will sound.Be careful not to lose or confuse the listener. For example, clarify different speakers.Try to help the listener imagine your story unfolding.They will work with you to ‘see’ your characters and the action, and to feel the setting and the emotion."

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The purpose of fiction is to entertain not to educate. If you want to educate, write nonfiction. This lesson was the most difficult for me to handle. An early editor who read my novel told me that I had written two books in one: a suspense novel and a non-fiction book on comparative religion. I'd always loved the thriller/suspense genre, but I wanted to write one that made people think. I grew up a Tom Clancy fan. I loved how he interwove the technical details of military strategy, espionage, and cool hardware into his thrillers. I wanted to do the same with the topic of religion. The danger with such an approach is that the non-fiction elements can take precedence over the fictional ones. The book can become preachy or, worse, boring. People read fiction to be entertained. It took me many drafts to strike the right balance: a balance that puts primacy on story and character. The educational aspects of the book had to be woven into the story and integral to the plot and the journey my characters take.

Jeffrey Small, author, The Breath of God writes . What do you think? What is the purpose of fiction? Does it have a purpose?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book N Gauge V: Writing the Nation, Two Writers and Two Performers on their Craft

Nigeria was 51 as an independent country, October 1, 2011. Nigeria’s independence is one that is pregnant with many questions. How independent is the country? This question is one that is also asked in literature today; how independent is Nigerian literature? When it comes to themes, forms and awards? Book N Gauge V will feature conversations with two writers, Sam Omatseye and Chuma Nwokolo and performers Efe Paul Azino  and Jeffrey Jaiyeola aka Plumbline.

Writers & Performers
Chuma Nwokolo, lawyer, writer and the publisher of African Writing magazine. He is author of the poetry collection Memories of Stone, the serial Tales by Conversation, and many novels, including Diaries of a Dead African, the Pulpfaction Club Book of the Month for October. He was writer-in-residence at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Chuma’s writing has been termed as funny yet witty.

Sam Omatseye, poet and writer and frontline columnist with The Nation newspaper. His journey into journalism started in 1987 as reporter with Newswatch. He has won several awards, including the inaugural winner of the Gordon Fisher Fellowship for journalists in the British Commonwealth (1991). He also won the Alfred Friendly Press fellowship (1997). He won the Diamond Award for Media Excellence (2010) and Nigeria Media Merit Award for columnist of the year (2011).  

His latest works ‘Crocodile Girl'; ‘Lion Wind and Other Poems' and ‘In Touch', were published in 2011.
Efe Paul Azino got a rousing ovation after he thrilled the crowd at the last edition of the Book N Gauge. Regarded as one of Nigeria’s leading Spoken Word Poets, Efe Paul has been a headline performer in many performance poetry venues, including Anthill 2.0 and Taruwa.  Efe has delivered Spoken Word Poetry locally and internationally.  Reflecting the suffering in African societies and the hope that keeps them going; Efe Paul’s poems cut across class, social and religious boundaries.  Efe Paul is at once entertaining and thought-provoking; he leads a generation of poets in lifting poetry off the printed page, out of the shadows of academia and placing it right before the audience.

Plumbline studied as a Geo-scientist, rather than digging oil pipes; he “mines” words. Influenced by poets like the late Mamman Vatsa and the late Ken Saro Wiwa, the songwriter and spoken word artist wrote poetry from his secondary school days.  He performs Spoken Word Poetry at most Lagos Events like Wordslam, Anthill, Taruwa and hosts Chill and Relax. His words dash straight through the heart of the audience and leaving them with thoughts, little mementos to take home.

Ruby always knew she was going to sing. Her name is Ngohide Ruby Ann Gyanggyang; everyone calls her Ruby. Her father introduced her to soul music, to the world of Aretha Franklin, Miriam Makeba, Onyeka Onwenu, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams and Jill Scott. In Jos, she met M.I and Jesse Jagz, who were then both starting out in music. Then Loopy Music started as a group of young people making good music. Together, they recorded and organised popular jam sessions in Jos and Abuja. Ruby's music tells stories of pain, passion, longing and love, of the mystery of life. When she is not making music with her 4-octave range voice, Ruby focuses on providing platforms for “musical expression” for female artistes such as her Diva's Unplugged.

Auction Session: There will be an auction session. What do you get? Latest books that you can only find online. Hot CDs that are yet to be on the streets. The lovely purple Pulpfaction Club T-Shirt. This month, we will support Wana Udobang’s fund raising efforts with 1k for Cancer. 10 percentage of the money off the auction goes towards giving cancer patients a better life.

There are prizes to be won for those who buy our Book of the Month Diaries of a Dead African before the event. To order, call:
  • A one-on-one interaction between authors, performers and readers.
  • A platform for book enthusiasts to meet, interact and network. (Members of PulpFactionClub on Facebook and followers on Twitter would have a grand opportunity to meet).
  • Freebies, lots of it. Let’s start with this. Invite five friends, ensure they come for the event and win a free book.
  • Live Musical performances by: Ruby, Jeffrey Plumbline and Efe Paul Azino.
  • Book signing.
DATE:  29th October, 2011
TIME: STRICTLY 2pm – 5pm
VENUE: Debonair Bookstore, 294, Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba.
Remember: Bring five friends and win a free book! Gifts are available for early birds too. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CIPE Essay Contest, 2011

Each year, the Center for International Private Enterprise invites young people to share their ideas on how youth can help strengthen democracy and the private sector. It's that time of the year. 


Students and young professionals aged 18-30.

Length and language
2,000-3,000 words. All essays must be in English.

For winners:
For each category, first, second, and third place authors will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and CIPE will publish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place essays.

Deadline: November 14, 2011

Democratic transitions: Young people and the technology they used to share knowledge and coordinate action were at the core of movements for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year. Meanwhile outside of the Middle East, in Southern Sudan, Nepal, and other countries, young people also have opportunities to help power new democracies.

How can youth play a significant role in newly-formed or emerging democracies? Do existing broad-based civil society groups or parties provide youth with opportunities to participate? How might youth in your country form their own groups and voice their concerns and needs as future leaders?

Economically-sustainable development: One of the challenges facing democratic and economic development is making progress economically self-sustaining. Policies and practices that address the sources, not the symptoms, of underdevelopment ensure that momentum builds over time. For development programs to be sustainable on their own, they must have financial and political commitment from local stakeholders.

How can youth take ownership of the most pressing development issues and solutions in your country? What can the next generation do to build democratic and economic development that is self-sustainable for the long run? What can be done to make sure progress is locally-driven, effective, and not dependent on foreign aid?

Corruption: Corruption undermines a fair and open business environment that can provide jobs, opportunities, and tax revenues for a healthy democracy. Often corruption occurs at multiple levels of society, thus making it difficult for businesses and policymakers to curtail it. Without reforming practices and incentives at the root of this problem, corruption hurts business and weakens confidence in political leaders.

How does corruption influence the way business is done in your country? How do nepotism, cronyism, and/or bribery make doing business difficult or more costly? What are some innovative, new initiatives that the next generation should take to address corruption (e.g.: are there ways to change the incentive structure to discourage such behavior)? 

Find out more here

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Teju Cole on Tomas Transtromer, winner, Nobel Prize for Literature, 2011
"There’s a kind of helplessness in many of the poems, the sense of being pulled along by something irresistible and invisible. There are moments of tart social commentary, a sense of justice wounded (“the slum must be inside you”—for many years, Tranströmer worked as a psychologist at an institution for juvenile offenders). There is also in the poems a kind of motionlessness that is indistinguishable from terrific speed, in the same way Arvo Pärt’s music can sound fast and slow at the same time. It’s a good thing I’m unembarrassable about influence, because I realize now how many of Tranströmer’s concepts I have hidden away in my own work...The satisfaction, the pleasure, the comfort one takes in these poems comes from the way they seem to have pre-existed us. Or perhaps, to put it another way, the magic lies in their ability to present aspects of our selves long buried under manners, culture, and language. The poems remember us and, if we are perfectly still, give us a chance to catch sight of ourselves."
Joseph Omotayo on Roses and Bullets
"Literature is good for one thing: it gives equal honour to people to tell their stories. In narrating a story, they are different sides each sub-story presents various individuals. Roses and Bullets shouldn't be condemned for being reflective of the stitches of wounds that scar the bodies of many. My fray though is on the stickiness of a region'sliterature to one side of a war that has been so written to wear and tear. There are other issues people are not talking about. Out of the large heart of the proponent of the war are streaks of the selfishness to rule his people at the cost of guns and gore. There were scores of fragile lots who would never be the same again after the war. There were lots too who sacrificed everything for the war they least know about."
Everything was fine except the fact that he kept on calling Ginika, the main character, Ganika

Introducing Zazugist, the first full pidgin news site in Nigeria
"Anyway na so I open door for Zazu. If you see wetin this my old hungry friend deck put for body and the scent wey follow am, you go understand say government money na Sosorobia. Kai, I begin weep for inside my belle. This na parrot wey I dey grind groundnut for, na im dey talk of dollars and pounds for my face.Anyway, im say im get one kain runs for me and im and some other ogbonge people, from London to America to Jungle City. Say im don serve both dead and living presidos and since im wan begin work for im Six-year term agenda, say im want position imself for internet well well. I come tell am say, well if you want make we do anything for you, our hands suppose clean o and we nor suppose get skeleton for wardrobe. Na so Zazu para for me, kinikan kinikan, me I think say im na murderer abi im na willywilly wey go get skeleton. Anyway sha I come cool am down say wetin im want. Im say im wan begin give naija people, African people and the whole world  gist for pidgin. And im want website wey every-every na pidgin. My brothers and sisters and congregation, na so we see ourselves for this place wey im name Zazugist o. So I don move comot from my old neigbourhood to join Zazu my friend build we country with pidgin o. Make una pray for us o."

Scholarly Research and Social Networking  in Publishing Perspectives
 Social media has the potential to change the overall perception of the inputs and outputs of scholarly research. True?

Robert Coover's "Vampire" in the latest Online Edition of Granta
"He sets off one day on an arduous journey to a remote kingdom, wondering, as the weeks pass, about the wisdom of it. Even the purpose. When he launched forth, he was sure he had a purpose, but by the time he reaches the primitive mountain village at the edge of the wilderness, he can no longer remember it. In fact, he is not certain this was his original destination. Wasn’t he going to the barber shop? It was summertime when he left, but now it is winter and the dead of night and he is alone and dressed only in his golf shirt and orange-and-green checked Bermuda shorts. He is met by villagers, huddled in heavy furs, who stare at him with expressions of dread and horror. He’s a friendly guy, even among strangers, always ready to buy the first round, and he puts his hand out and flashes them his best smile, but they shriek and shrink back, crossing themselves theatrically."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Man Booker Prize 2011: Julian Barnes Wins

Julian Barnes has been declared winner of the Man Booker Prize 2011 with his novel The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House). 

Barnes has claimed that the Man Booker process "usually produces some psychosomatic malady - a throbbing boil, a burning wire of neuralgia, the prod of gout" in the writer. Abeg get me one big dictionary ;) This should encourage one to keep going! This is the fourth time Barnes work would appear on the long list. 

“It’s easy to read the book innocently, trusting the narrator, believing his account of things, and letting yourself be carried along as by an unthreatening breeze. Maupassant is often called ‘a natural storyteller’: that’s to say, a professional, practised, unnatural storyteller.” (On We Sail in the London Review of Books)

"And sometimes the nature of the writer's oeuvre creates a problem of choice ... Should you choose one of those previously unopened? Or go for one you suspect you misread, or undervalued, at the time? Or one, like Couples, which you might have read for somewhat non-literary reasons?" (The Guardian)

“Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own.” (Flaubert’s Parrot)

“He talked about the myth of the writer and how it was not just the reader who became trapped in the myth but sometimes the writer as well – in which case we should feel pity rather than blame. He thought about what hating a writer might mean. How fast and how long do we punish thought-crime? He quoted Auden on time pardoning Kipling for his views – “And will pardon Paul Claudel / Pardon him for writing well.” (Homage to Hemingway, New Yorker)

“It's easy, after all, not to be a writer. Most people aren't writers, and very little harm comes to them.” (Flaubert’s Parrot)

“How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but - mainly - to ourselves.” (The Sense of an Ending)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saraba Mag: Call for Submissions

Saraba Magazine invites writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, to contribute to the forthcoming Music Issue. Given that we are exploring a theme that moves, thrills and touches, we expect submissions that are the writer's personal experiences and definitions of Music. We also expect insightful and relevant submissions. We have tiny space for works that touch on other themes.

The Music Issue is our last for the year. The deadline is October 20. Please send submissions via the website


Monday, October 10, 2011

Shakara: Felabration at Lifehouse

The Felabration week will feature a vast array of art and cultural elements and activities including a weeklong art exhibition, theatre performances, numerous live musical performances, poetry recitals, book readings, open-mic sessions, a fashion,food and lifestyle fair, film screenings and discussions and loads more.

Everyday during  Felabration at The Life House, expect to be inspired, motivated and moved by the works, conversations and people you will meet at The Life House.

Artists scheduled to perform at The Life House include: Yinka Davies, BEZ, Ayetoro, Sense Lounge, J'odie, Chica Chukwu, Ade Bantu, Sha, Lala Akindoju, Inna Erizia, Biodun and Batik, Salvador Sango, Tope Sadiq, Wana Udobang, Wura Samba and loads more.

SHAKARA: FELABRATION AT THE LIFE HOUSE 2011 takes place at The Life House, 33 Sinari Daranijo Street, Off Younis Bashorun, Off Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos from 11th – 16th October 2011.
Info- 0703 403 0683

SHAKARA: FELABRATION AT THE LIFE HOUSE 2011  is proudly sponsored by IRS AIRLINES and SPINLET with support from Bella Naija, Smooth 98.1FM, Ynaija, Lost in Lagos, Tocatina Music, Persnickety Media, Freedom Studios,, One Nigerian Boy