Excerpts from winning stories in the Bath Spa University (BSU)/BOAC Creative Writing Competition for Nigerian writers – judged by BSU and Caine winner Segun Afolabi.
Winner – Ngozi Ifeyinwa Razak-Soyebi with a novel excerpt, The Whip – which begins in shocking fashion, with a woman mercilessly assaulting her housemaid with a horsewhip. We come to realise that the abuser was herself the victim of vicious assaults at the hands of her own mother.
By now, Mother is a like ticking bomb just waiting to explode. ‘So none of you stole the cake from the fridge, eh?’ she bellows. ‘Would you rather have me think that a ghost wandered into the house while we were all asleep, realized we had some cake left in the fridge and decided to help itself to some?’
Mother often speaks like that, conjuring up images of impossible scenarios into a serious situation. Of course no matter how much you long to laugh, you can’t because you are so intensely aware of the seriousness of the situation and afraid your bowels might give way any time soon.
Read “The Whip”...
Runner Up – Adeboyin Thomas with “The World is a Bubble” – a story of love, jealousy and tradition. It is a testament to how good Thomas’ story is, that it did so well in the competition despite the many punctuation opportunities missed.
Arit looked hopefully at the entrance of her tent; she hoped John would come. It was true what the man said about screaming. It could work either way. People could come in and chase the man away or they could draw negative conclusions and the village of Oron did not forgive a ruined reputation easily. At her age and in her position, she couldn’t afford any stain on her reputation. It was bad enough to be encumbered by the shackles of tradition that bound every virgin in the village but for a virgin of the priestly lineage, the weight of the shackles was heavier. Afam followed the movement of her eyes. He wondered jealously who she was expecting.
Read “The World is a Bubble”... (I never did get the relevance of the title, but lovely, lovely story).
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