Writings of the general word's body
Saturday, March 27, 2010
L-R Front: Clifford Oluoch (Kenya), Vuyo Seripe (South Africa) Veronique Tadjo (one of the 2 'animateurs' whose task it was to challenge the writers to better and better stories) and Samuel Munene (Kenya).
L-R Back: Gill Schierhout (South Africa), Mamle Kabu (Ghana) - then the Nigerians, Ovo Adagha, Jude Dibia and MW.
Dinner was lit by hurricane lamps, attracting moths and such like. After dinner writers read from their works in progress and their colleagues commented on the stories. In the foreground in this picture: Nick Elam (organiser of the Caine Prize and these annual workshops, which always take place at an African location), Jamal Mahjoub (animateur) and Stanley Kenani (Malawian, currently based in Nairobi and previously shortlisted for the 2008 Caine Prize for his short story, 'For Honour').
Thursday, March 11, 2010
It was phoning galore this morning as the writer heard the news from South Africa. The first call was to her papa - "Daddy, I won!" Nwaubani won for her debut novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance.
The author will now vie with winners from other regions for the overall prize, to be announced in New Delhi next month.
- Photos by Abiodun Omotoso
- 5pm, Wednesday March 18.
Here's what the author told Wordsbody:
"Writers Nury Vittachi and Jane Camens asked booklovers in Hong Kong to petition the Immigration Department and went on radio shows to talk about it. Newspaper reporters were brought in and the Nigerian Consulate was contacted to talk to the Immigration Department too, which they did. In fact, I have never felt so much love like this before, since I became a writer.
The Chinese people happen to be sensitive towards the media and protests.
When I went to the Chinese embassy in Delhi, the visa section woman couldn't look up to my face. She only said, 'The Immigration Department has now approved your visa. Come and pick your visa tomorrow and don't ask me more questions'. She is still rude, but I forgive her.
I wish to have a swell time in Hong Kong, because I learnt Moses Isegawa, author of Abyssinian Chronicles would be there too."
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Farafina Trust will be holding a creative writing workshop in Lagos, organized by award-winning writer and creative director of Farafina Trust, Chimamanda Adichie, from May 20 to May 29 2010. The workshop is sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc. Guest writers who will co-teach the workshop alongside Adichie are the Caine Prize Winning Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, Chika Unigwe winner of a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship for creative writing, South African writer Niq Mhlongo and celebrated Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo.
The workshop will take the form of a class. Participants will be assigned a wide range of reading exercises, as well as daily writing exercises. The aim of the workshop is to improve the craft of Nigerian writers and to encourage published and unpublished writers by bringing different perspectives to the art of storytelling. Participation is limited only to those who apply and are accepted.
To apply, send an e-mail to Udonandu2010@gmail.com
Your e-mail subject should read ‘Workshop Application.’
The body of the e-mail should contain the following:
1. Your Name
2. Your address
3. A few sentences about yourself
4. A writing sample of between 200 and 800 words. The sample must be either fiction or non-fiction.
All material must be pasted or written in the body of the e-mail. Please Do NOT include any attachments in your e-mail. Applications with attachments will be automatically disqualified. Deadline for submissions is April 22 2010. Only those accepted to the workshop will be notified by May 6 2010. Accommodation in Lagos will be provided for all accepted applicants who are able to attend for the ten-day duration of the workshop. A literary evening of readings, open to the public, will be held at the end of the workshop.
Monday, March 08, 2010
The poet Lola Shoneyin held a book party for her latest book, the poetry collection 'For the Love of Flight' at Abuja's JB Grills on February 25. Manning the door for her - welcoming guests and dishing out copies of the book and raffle draw tickets - was her lovely son, Mayowa.
Here's an article on the event.
LS and family have a lot to smile about this year. She has no less than 3 books coming out this year, the biggest being her novel debut, the fabulously titled 'The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives' to be brought out next month by Serpent's Tail in the UK and anytime now by Cassava Republic in Nigeria (US edition follows soon after). The new issue of African Writing has an interview with the writer about her novel, set in a polygamous household in Ibadan.
There's also a children's book scheduled for publication this year, 'Mayowa and the Masquerades'. Anyone wants to guess where Shoneyin got the name of her children's book hero?
- Image courtesy LS.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
- so says the UK Guardian on the Kingdom of Ife exhibition of sculptures from The Source.
Widely considered the biggest exhibition you're likely to see in London this year, Kingdom of Ife's British Museum opening was attended by some of Nigeria's best collectors and art afficionados. The exhibition brings comforting echoes of the golden past, and raises disturbing questions about African treasures in 'exile' in Western museums (though curators are keen to stress that the pieces in the show are largely sourced on loan from the collection of the National Museum in Lagos). Let the debate rage on.
- Kingdom of Ife will not be seen anywhere in Africa (sigh), but you can catch it at the British Museum, London, until June 6. Unmissable. This exhibition will be worth every penny of the £8 ticket fee.
Update (related articles)
- Majesty, serenity and suffering from Ife's golden age
- A collection of exceptional importance and quality
Seated figure, Tada, Ife. Late 13th-14th century, copper. © Karin L. Willis/Museum for African Art/Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments
21-year-old Nigerian author of 'The Abyssinian Boy', Onyeka Nwelue, has had quite a steep rise since entering into the Lagos literary scene as a teenager. Pretty impressive, unless you're a Chinese immigration officer who has to consider the author's visa application to be allowed into Hong Kong for a major literary festival.
Nwelue was billed to feature in this year's Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, due for programmes and appearances on March 9 (City University in Hong Kong) and the festival itself on March 11. Alas, the writer got a call from the Chinese embassy in Lagos informing him that his visa application has been turned down. No reason given.
We are by now used to Britain rubbishing artists from African when it comes to visas: Odia Ofeimun, Souleymane Cisse, Atukwei Okai, Samuel Fosso etcetera etcetera. But Hong Kong now as well?
Almost certainly the only African and the only black writer participant in Hong Kong, Onyeka Nwelue is left mouthing the oft-repeated cliché: is it because- ?
It's a Christmas party; quite late, you'd imagine. The picture shows a young black couple. She's barefoot in her best sixties frock, he's in loafers and a snappy white suit. They're jiving together – not quite touching, yet, but with their heads dipped in close, both faces lit up with shy, almost disbelieving smiles. It's an astonishing photograph, full of intimacy and energy, joy and anticipation, taken in 1963 by the Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé, known as The Eye Of Bamako.
The above's an excerpt from last weekend's UK Guardian interview with veteran Malian photographer, Malick Sidibe, whose images capture the spirit of Bamako in the heady period around independence. The men in the photographs are the more flamboyant. One brought his motorbike into the studio and posed astride, his two women alongside. They have bro-bags (or what is it they call them these days) and look quite dandy in their Parissiene clothes. They hold up their hands so you can see their fancy wristwatchs (not unlike suspiciously camp rappers holding up their 'ice' now). Decades later, the men in Sidibe's photographs look pretty metrosexual - and these guys probably never knew a man could be confused about his sexuality. You were a man and that was it, and so you could hold another man's hand in a photograph and have the Eye of Bamako click away. Innocent times.
Malick Sidibe was born in 1935 or 36, "he's not too sure which" - ah, bless. I know a couple of folks like that!
- Previously unseen images of Malick Sidibe's open at the Lichfield Studios, London W10 on March 11. They will be on display till April 16.
Now that I'm here in Lagos, I constantly find myself quite involuntarily calling it 'Vagina Monologues' which is something people hardly ever do over here. The initial impulse seconds afterwards is to seek to apologise and say: "Sorry, in England we call it Vagina Monologues" (I find myself saying 'in England we...' a lot; relocation anxiety?). But I always resist this urge to apologise or explain. Instead I go all confrontational: "Why it is called V-Monologues here? It's Vagina! It's more honest, in-your-face for a supposedly in-your-face play, and it sounds better!"
And it does, but that's Naija for you. Perhaps the reason the corresponding male version is known as 'Tarzan Monologues' rather than the 'Penis Mono' - you know what.
Anyways, it's all on again, as the male and female versions go head-to-head at Terra Kulture, in Lagos, every Sunday at 3pm & 6pm. See the poster for details. Meanwhile, I'm still here saying: Vagina Monologues. Onwards ever.
Monday, March 01, 2010
In an event tagged ‘Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in Conversation: A founding father of African Literature’ (and who’s to argue with that?) The Travel Bookshop presents the acclaimed Kenyan author for his only London event for ‘Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir. There will be book signings after the event.