Writings of the general word's body

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Farafina on America

View the YouTube webvert for Farafina Volume 13, guest-edited by Adichie. I'm still reading through the edition, comprised mainly of essays by over 30 contributors on theme of [Africans looking at] America. My own thoughts may come later...

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from Sunday May 11th edition of Toyin Akinosho's Artsville column (in The Guardian, Lagos)...
Farafina Hits The Mother Lode
The current issue of Farafina, the literary magazine,is enjoying a round of earnest conversation among the Lagos arthouse crowd. Everybody, it seems, has something to say about the edition, which is guest-edited by the novelist Chimamanda Adichie. Still, one of the more interesting takes on the publication comes from a cyberspace input by the architect Ayo Arigbabu, who contributes a “design sleuth” column in Guardian Life, the pull out in this newspaper. Arigbabu starts by recalling Adichie’s main motive for choosing America as theme for the edition.“She insists she wanted 'to create a messy montage ofsorts, inspired by those Nigerian Sunday Newspapers in which the answers of ordinary people to a question, often a ridiculous question are printed on a two page spread". But then, according to him “there were just too many essays, which got repetitive (and thus tiresome considering the theme: 'America' - of course everybody would write about the land of plenty that still manages to dash the tallest dreams) after a while”. In spite of that, Arigbabu says that the magazine “does come together though”. He then does some sort of review:, “Teju Cole's reparte with a cab driver in New York is my favourite. Karen King's piece falls flat but there are enough other interesting bits and pieces to make up for it...Like Ogaga Ifowodo's Shock Jock country. Biodun Jeyifo goes on and on...a whole essay to say America is the best place for African academics? I would have been more interested to read little anecdotes about him toasting some hispanic chic in between lectures... I mean, do you really go to America and spend all your time blowing grammar? The design is simplistic, (though I'm still attracted to the title design for Ndidi Nwuneli's 'A Common burden'...cool!) but works for readers who just want to get on with it and can't handle complex visual gymnastics, the content is robust with 29 contributors, Gado's cartoons were witty and mature and the magazine seems like it could have done with a few more interludes like his to break the monotony of all those 'centre spread essays'. Perhaps Miss Adichie should have asked the contributors to tell unusual stories about their experiences in / about America, if she had, instead of asking for 'essays', it might have turned out more of a lurid expose and less of a predictable scrap book...but then, that's exactly what she wanted...a'int it?” The magazine is on sale at Nu Metro Stores in Lagos.

  • Farafina 13's cover is actually blue, but by some magic it came out orange on this blog. Go figure!

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