Writings of the general word's body

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Doing the LBF

I merely dropped by at the last London Book Fair (these pics from 16 April) in the sense that I had no real business there. But I went there to fraternise with 3 Nigerian writers/publishers who were in town. My involvement, as it were, went no further than the front steps of the Earl's Court One venue. I hob-nobbed and 'met' with my people on this frontage. Muhtar Bakare (above left; publisher of some top Nigerian writers & Farafina Magazine) and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (below; publisher @ Cassava Republic Press) had gruelling daylong engagements inside the fair. But writer Jude Dibia (right; author 'Walking With Shadows' & 'Unbridled') found it a bit hard-going, which made me relieved I never went inside.

  • Since this blog is going to be taking a short break, how about we run a little competition?
  • Win a copy of Jude Dibia's second novel 'Unbridled'.
  • All you have to do is answer this simple question: In Walking With Shadows, what is the name of main character's wife?
  • Answers by email to: laralara8@hotmail.com - first correct answer in my inbox, wins. Please include your name and city/address. Winner to be announced at the next blog update.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf is the face behind Cassava Republic Press. She is the Nigerian publisher of Helon Habila & Abidemi Sanusi - with more writers being added to the roster. Diligent, soft-spoken and highly principled, books are not just a business for Bibi. She sits on the Roundtable at the Caine Prize Colloquium in London today.
Bibi and I have been friends for nearly 15 years, and it's been wonderful to evolve not just as friends on a personal level, but also as voices on the Nigerian literary scene. Whenever we get the chance to catch up these days (which is not often, since Bibi is based in Abuja and galivants all over the world in her spare time) we talk, talk, talk - until time itself runs out. Her sister & my friend Sisioge (aka Ireti Bakare-Yusuf; I am her son's godmother) stubbornly injects fashion and other matters into our 'literary' conversations; Bibi and I just roll our eyes and carry on talking, which infuriates Ireti.

When Bibi's day was done at the LBF, we sat on the front steps and talked, talked, talked - till the event closed and hundreds of bookfair goers flowed out of the venue, past us and into Earl's Court Station across the road. And there we were talking books. Ah, bless!


Chude! said...

You and Bibi talking books on the doorsteps of the LBF?!?! Sisi Oge should have known she didnt stand a chance!lol.

Hope ure well?

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Great coverage; informative, unique. Perhaps I should bring your attention to our new community of writers, Africa Poets? We are trying to create something similar to AfricanWriters.com, but this will be a group of writers engaging in regular discussion and collaborating to publish works. I agree with most contemporary writers that now is the African Writer's time. The link to Africa Poets is: http://groups.google.com/group/africa-poets

Thank you for the work you do in promoting African Writers!