Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Africa Reading Challenge

We are definitely excited about the Africa Reading Challenge by Kinna Reads ;we encourage all Bookaholics to take part. Also please send your reviews, suggestions, reading lists and news to us for possible publication. We are a click away: bookaholicblog@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Challenge Period
January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012


The entire African continent, including its island-states, which are often overlooked. Please refer to this Wikipedia “list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa”. Pre-colonial empires and regions are also included.

Reading Goal

5 books.  That’s it.  There will be no other levels.  Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books.  Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.


Fiction – novels, short stories, poetry, drama, children’s books.  Note: You can choose to read a number of individual and uncollected short stories.  In this case, 12 such stories would constitute 1 book.  Individual poems do not count but books of poetry do.
Non-fiction – memoirs, autobiographies, history and current events

Reading Suggestions

  • Cover at least two regions, pick from North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Central Africa
  • Include translated fiction from Arabic, Francophone and Lusophone literature
  • You can mix classic and contemporary fiction
  • If you are intend to read mostly non-fiction, then please include at least one book (out of the five) of fiction
For the novice, if you have not read any African lit or if you’ve read one book (E.g. Achebe’sThings Fall Apart):  I would advise a mix of at least two regions, two languages, classic and contemporary, with both male and female writers.  A sample reading list could be:
  • Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih (North Africa, Arabic, classic)
  • Maps by Nuruddin Farah (East Africa)
  • Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Southern Africa, contemporary)
  • So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (West Africa, classic, Francophone)
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Southern Africa, contemporary, modern fantasy)
For the advanced reader of African literature:  perhaps there is some gap (country, region, language, theme, gender)  you want to fill or author(s) whose works you want to explore further?
You could also, for example:
  • Read only collection/anthologies of short stories
  • Stick to the literary tradition of one country
  • Read only Lusophone literature
  • Explore the literature of contemporary South Africa
  • Read the books of North African countries of the Arab Spring
  • Read wherever the urge takes you!
My suggestions notwithstanding, the most important thing is to have fun and to explore Africa through books.

Other Details

  1. Overlap with other challenges is allowed.
  2. E-books and audio books are allowed.
  3. There is no need to make a list beforehand.  Although most of us love lists, don’t we?

To Sign up:

For those with blogs:  write a post on your blog about the challenge (with or without your list) and sign-up with the Mr Linky below using the direct URL of your sign-up post.
For those without blogs:  you can sign-up with your social media profile (Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, Facebook or Shelfari).  Please make sure to use the URL of your profile page.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment  indicating  your intention to participate.

Reviews and Completion of Challenge

Reviews of books read are not required but are encouraged especially for those with blogs.  Please share your reviews with the rest of community the on Reviews Page.  If you do not have a blog and would like to guest review on this blog, then please feel free to contact me.
Likewise, completion posts are encouraged and you can share those on the Completion Page.

On Books and Reading Lists

Some classic African literature can be hard to find.  Please check your libraries and use inter-library loans if you have access to such services.  You will be able to do this challenge with the books currently available on the market.
I will publish lists of reading materials under various themes every Friday until I tire of the process.  Please contact me at kinnareadsATgmailDOTcom if you need any help.
Let’s enjoy reading for the 2012 Africa Reading Challenge.

Monday, January 30, 2012

SPROUTERS Mentorship for Young Nigerian Girl Writers

SPROUTERS is an annual mentorship project, running from January to December, that was launched to groom young Nigerian girl writers on the art of creative writing. Through a maximum mentorship ratio of 1:5, girls between the ages of ten and eighteen will have their creative talents harnessed by experienced female writers. SPROUTERS is non-profit, therefore is free.

OUR MISSION: To empower young Nigerian girls who aspire to become writers through online mentorship under experienced Nigerian female authors.

OUR TARGET: Our annual target is to coach fifty (50) girls between the ages ten to eighteen on the art of creative writing.

HOW WE DO IT: Through one-on-one bi-monthly online mentoring, young Nigerian girls resident in Nigeria, who have a passion for creative writing, are trained on the techniques and insights for great writing in all genres by published Nigerian women writers. Mentors and protégés individually meet online twice a month (the specific dates are to be agreed upon between the mentors and protégés). The mentorship program is designed for the mentors to give the protégés assignments on each meeting, alternating between writing and reading exercises.

  • To teach a robust set of writing and critical analysis skills
  • To direct the protégés towards great literary works of fiction and encourage them to understudy these writings
  • To raise an awareness of domestic and global issues affecting women and girls, and encourage the protégés to write about these issues that are holding them down or had held down any woman they know
  • To introduce protégés to a wide range of writing genres
  • To encourage the protégés to explore and develop their creative writing talents
  • To nurture the protégés and promote healthy behaviours and life choices through positive mentoring relationships with women writers
  • To assist the budding writers in their path to publication by editing their works;  where a protégés wishes to enter for competitions, her mentor will help her edit the work before submission
  • To feature exceptional writings by protégés in online literary sites
  • To inspire girls to pursue careers in writing
  • To equip the protégés with communication tools to confidently navigate the challenges they face
  • To produce a circle of writers who will help each other along the way to building a writing career. While writing is a solitary mission, no good writer ever creates a work of repute alone.
IN THE FUTURE: SPROUTERS will incorporate literary workshop and publication of anthologies.
Application for mentorship is an all-year thing, however, final list of protégés are complied by November of the previous year. To apply, please click here. Don’t forget to pay very close attention to the instructions.
Protégés are selected STRICTLY on referral basis. Members of Naija Stories are eligible to refer candidates, but it is very important that they refer those who are known to them. 

Please, note: In other not to indirectly cause school rules to be violated, we only seek protégés who are day-students.

For more information about SPROUTERS, click here. Do like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Calls for Submission: Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation is inviting filmmakers from across the Commonwealth to submit an idea for a short film about relationships. Individual filmmakers or collectives should submit a proposal which explores the theme of love in its broadest sense, whether inter-racial, inter-generational or within and between the sexes. The theme should be relevant to the filmmaker and their community.

We’re looking for original, bold and authentic films in any genre which entertain as well as stimulate and encourage debate both locally and globally.

Deadline for receipt of applications is 31 January 2012 (5pm GMT)

Click here for more details.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The 8th edition of the monthly book reading: Book ‘n’ Gauge would be coming up on the 28th of January. The literary event organized by PulpFaction Book club is aimed at creating a platform where reading is seen as hip and cool. Making use of new media, PulpFaction Book Club brings together lovers of the literary arts, authors and publishers to engage in no-holds barred discussions, in an atmosphere of conviviality.
The monthly book reading also affords literary enthusiasts the opportunity to not only talk about books they love and have read but they also get to buy books at affordable prices at the venue of the reading which takes place at Debonairs Bookstore, 294 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba.

Book ‘n’ Gauge is not an event of literary arts only, as the performing arts is also featured at the readings, attendees are treated to good acoustic music as well as creatively woven spoken word (poetry).

In the Past

PulpFaction Book Club has hosted authors likes of Lola Shoneyin, Jumoke Verissimo, Toni Kan, Jude Dibia, Sam Omatseye, Akachi Ezeigbo, Seye Oke, Joy Isi Bewaji and Odili Ujuobono; and performing artists like Plumbline, Efe Paul Azino (spoken word); Aduke, Ese Peters, Isibiama, DTone Martins and Ruby.


The 8th edition tagged ‘An afternoon with Bobo Omotayo’, will feature this writer cum blogger reading to the audience from his book ‘London Life, Lagos Living.’ Bobo Omotayo is a bright and multi-talented specialist in communication with 9years experience; he is also known under the non de plume’ ‘The Renaissance Man’. He has also contributed as a columnist and freelance writer to several print and online
newspapers and magazines.


Ndukwe Onuoha – Spoken Word

Performing at the first edition for the year 2012 would be Ndukwe Onuoha, a spoken word artiste who draws his inspiration from the many human stories that play themselves out daily, hence providing a unique
insight into the animal called MAN. A copywriter by day and a poet by design, Ndukwe has performed at some of Lagos’ most celebrated poetry circles like Anthill 2.0, Taruwa, and Freedom Hall whilst garnering
commendation for some of his works like, ‘puff, puff, pass, and Boom!’.

Ese Peters - Musician

Ese Peters has a knack for making beautiful music. A self-taught guitar player, He started out as a solo performer of the Alternative Rock/Soul genre after graduating from the university in 2008. A young man who sings from his heart, Ese carefully crafts his songs which come from his experiences and a wealth of influences, citing John Mayer as a major reason he decided to pursue music as a career. Ese puts an interesting spin on guitar-driven pop music.

The 8th Edition of the Book ‘n’ Gauge promises to be a mix of experience, fun and minds sparing with fellow lovers of the literary and performing arts.

DATE: Saturday, 28th January, 2012.

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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The January edition of the Life House "In Conversation" series features acclaimed writer and intellectual, Kole Omotoso. In a moderated discussion with Tolu Ogunlesi, we'll delve into a discussion of his non fiction works in particular, Just Before Dawn and Achebe or Soyinka: A Study in Contrasts. The Life House audience will also be treated to exclusive first readings of excerpts from his forthcoming memoir, Witness to Possibilities.
Some of Omotoso's old works include "Achebe or Soyinka: A Study of Contrasts" will also be available to buy and to immortalize with the author's signature.

Date: Friday 27th January, 2012 from 5pm

Venue: The Life House, 33 Sinari Danijo, Off Younis Bashorun Street, Off Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nwokolo On Tour With 'The Ghost Of Sani Abacha'

Chuma Nwokolo, author of a new collection of short stories entitled 'The Ghost Of Sani Abacha' is currently on tour in the UK as his initial Nigerian tour had to be suspended due to the recent strike action. This collection of 26 humorous short stories is set in a post-autocratic country whose indigenes suffer varying levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSDs) caused by three decades of military occupation.

Called to the bar in 1984, Nwokolo worked briefly for the Legal Aid Council and was managing partner of the C&G Chambers, Lagos. He was also writer-in-residence of The Ashmolean, Oxford, and chair of Leys Newspapers. He is a public speaker and publisher of African Writing Magazine.

His books include 'Diaries of a Dead African', 'One More Tale for the Road' and the poetry collection, 'Memories of Stone'. The first 'Diary of a Dead African', originally published by London Review of Books, was selected by La Internazionale as one of the three best stories worldwide in 2001. African Writing Limited publishes an eponymous four-year-old literary magazine. The company is also promoting a national book club dedicated to young adults with an adventure series, The Thriller Club.
Jan 25, 2012 - Liverpool
Jan 26, 2012 -Manchester
Jan 28, 2012 - Swansea

Nwokolo will also embark on a reading tour of South Africa, Ghana and Kenya.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Literary Star Search contest

Seems like January is the month for literary contest writers and with mouth-watering and palm-sweating prizes up for grabs, entering a competition or two is definitely a great new year resolution for 2012! 

WRITE Yourself to FAME & FORTUNE!!! in the Liteary Star Search contest for Nigeria’s star writers in the SHORT STORY category (not more than 3,500 words long).

One Million Naira Grand Prize, N300,000 and N200,000 respectively for the second and third best places.

The best 25 stories will be published in a collection and entered for competition worldwide, including the Caine & Commonwealth Short Story Prizes

To apply, write not more than a 3,500 word short story (double space typing) and enclose with Three Thousand naira (N3,000) Entry Fee in bank draft obtainable from any Zenith International Bank Plc branch nationwide, and payable (addressed) to Creative Alliance. Deliver by hand or courier service, addressed to:

Creative Alliance Nigeria Limited (Literary Star Search)
1, Oladosu Street, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos


Creative Alliance (Literary Star Search)
PO Box 2442 Ikeja, Lagos.

For further enquiries, please call: 08057712377; 08091031390

Email: ozoro4u@yahoo.ca; literarystarsearch@gmail.com; dreampartners@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.creativeallianceng.com/; http://www.creativealliance.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Call for Submissions: Book Republic Blog

Book Republic is scouting for the next writing talent in Nigeria. We are presently accepting Short Essays, Poems and Short Stories from interested writers for publication on our blog http://www.progresspublishing.wordpress.com/.

Our blog is dedicated towards promoting the writing and reading culture in Nigeria and Africa in general. We strongly believe that refined African voices should be heardand celebrated in the written format.

Entry Fee: Free

POETRY- 20 - 40lines

Short Story - 850 - 3000 words

Short Essays - 1000 - 3000 words

Endeavour to attach a short bio and probably, a picture alongside your submission. All submissions should be forwarded to Bookrepublic2012@gmail.com.

Some of the published entries will be forwarded to international writing competitions on behalf of our authors. This would be after we might have sought the consent of the chosen writers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lantern Books: Children’s Publishing Success in Nigeria

An excerpt of Dennis Abrams' piece from Publishing Perspectives...this should cheer our budding children book writers...

It has been a long journey for Olayinka Lawal-Solarin. From working in his own business as a retail pharmacist, he became proprietor and managing director of Corona Chemists Nigeria in 1969. That same year, he pioneered medical publishing in Nigeria with Medipharm, a medical index or pharmaceutical specialties, the first of its kind in Africa. This led to the incorporation of Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited in 1969, which has since gone beyond Medipharm and other medical journals into children’s books.

Why children’s books? As Olayinkia said in an interview, “As a child growing up in Nigeria and as an adult growing up in the United Kingdom, I realized that there is a great difference in child’s education between the UK and Nigeria. There was a deficiency in children’s education both at the basic level and in the provision of toys. [So] when the opportunity presented itself to do something about it I did. Building my own printing press to tackle the technicality of medical publications, I decided to expand Literamed to the publication of children’s books which I was considered was needed to give children in my country a sound basic education.”

Today, Literamed Publications Limited is Nigeria’s leading children’s book publisher, and its imprint, Lantern Books, has become a household name in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. By publishing textbooks by established authors in line with approved curriculums to story books which serve as a springboard for young readers, Lantern Books caters to West African youth from pre-school through secondary education.

Olayinka, or “Yinka” as he is known to his friends, is particularly pleased that Lantern Story Books had expanded into seven series: Adventure, Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, Health, Heroes, Bible Stories, and Literary. Each series is further divided into age groups of 4-7 years, 8-12 years, 13-16 years, and 17 years and above. Most of these titles serve double-duty, both as leisure reading and as literature texts used in Nigerian schools.

Apart from textbooks, Literamed publishes over 100 books a year, and as one of the very few publishers in Nigeria with its own press, it has a sizable advantage by giving Olayinka complete control over every aspect of the production process, from manuscript to book, ensuring both high-quality and availability all year round — something that many other West African publishers cannot promise.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Writer Competition

The Writer is an online ‘reality’ writing competition.

The Process.

Ten writers will be shortlisted from the entry submissions. These writers will contest in an online writing competition. The competition will require all writers to send in themed write-ups/posts weekly. Posts from all writers will be put up for members of the public to read and vote for.

At the end of the voting period, a panel of judges will evaluate the posts and score them using pre-communicated criteria. The public votes and the votes from the judges will be combined and based on this; one writer will be eliminated weekly until a winner emerges.

Who is it for?

There are no age or gender restrictions for the competition. All members of the public are encouraged to send in pre-qualification entries.

How to qualify?

To stand a chance to qualify for the competition, email a 1000 word piece on the topic: “This Christmas” to thewriter@thenakedconvos.com on or before January 6th 2012. Style and direction is totally up to you. Submissions could be in form of stories, articles etc. Only shortlisted writers will be contacted.

First – $1000
Second – $750
Third – $500

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012

Here's a poem to bid farewell to 2011 and usher 2012 in. More power to your elbow and sweat to your palms (to get the writing jouciesd flowing all year long). 

The Old Year
by John Clare

The Old Year's gone away

To nothingness and night:

We cannot find him all the day

Nor hear him in the night:

He left no footstep, mark or place

In either shade or sun:

The last year he'd a neighbour's face,

In this he's known by none.

All nothing everywhere:

Mists we on mornings see

Have more of substance when they're here

And more of form than he.

He was a friend by every fire,

In every cot and hall--

A guest to every heart's desire,

And now he's nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,

Old garments cast aside,

The talk of yesterday,

Are things identified;

But time once torn away

No voices can recall:

The eve of New Year's Day

Left the Old Year lost to all.