What a fun evening I've had, surrounded by writers known and on the way to being known. Spent some 3 hours with participants in the Farafina Trust Writing Workshop at their lagoon-front Lagos hotel talking about all sorts of things flowing from and leading to the art of writing. I'm seated 2nd left next to Elnathan John (in the striped shirt) and 1st right seated is Gboyega Otolorin. These writers have come from all over Nigeria to attend and one (Olumide, at the back in the middle) came all the way from New York for the workshop. And we've got Wame Molefhe from Botwana and her countrywoman, the 2011 Caine shortlisted Lauri Kubuitsile. Among the group is a Nigerian writer from Niger State, Gimba Kakanda, who presented me with a copy of his poetry collection, Safari Pants (Kraft Books).
I'd gone up to meet with Lauri Kubuitsile, with whom I'd collaborated on the One World Anthology, along with notable others on Zoetrope some years back. Lauri lives, blogs and writes full time from Mahalapye, Botswana; and is among 5 writers shortlisted for this year's Caine Prize for her short story, 'In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata'. From the Farafina workshop in Lagos, she heads straight to London for the Caine readings and the award proper, to be held on July 11.
Lauri is first left in the picture on the right; I'm next to her. Next to me is Wame Molefhe. Also from Botswana, Wame's been making strides in writing for quite some time. She used to be in the Crossing Borders project; we were both commended in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2007 (African regional winner that year was Ellen Banda-Aaku, now the Penguin African Fiction winner). Wame is the author of the new short story collection, 'Go Tell it to the Sun'. For good measure, I was also meeting my fellow Nigerian, Chinyere Obi-Obasi, for the first time.
The Farafina Trust Workshop reading that closes this year's edition takes place next weekend, details to be confirmed.
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