Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2nd AWW Symposium continues

The 2nd African Women Writers' Symposium continues today and tomorrow. Programme for the 2 days, below.

The Second African Women Writers’ Symposium 2011

9am -5pm

Venue: Windybrow Theatre , Cnr Nugget and Pietersen Street, Hillbrow, Joburg

DAY 2: Saturday 19th November 2011

9 – 10.30am

OPENING PANEL: Women writing and the women’s movement: “Speaking out, Sisterhood, solidarity and the worldliness of words”

Chair: Pumla Gqola

Panellists: Kadija George, Ekbal Baraka, Lola Shoneyin, Shaida Kazie Ali

11.00 – 12.30 pm

PANEL: From Africa with love: rewriting narratives of nation

Chair: Lizzy Attree

Panellists: Farah Abusheshwa, Abena Koomson, Leloba Molema, Doreen Baingana, Ellen Ndeshi Namhila

12.30 to 13.30 Lunch

13.30 to 15.00 pm

PANEL: Africa dreaming: the power of the poetic voice

Chair: Diane Ferrus

Panellists: Michelle McGrane, Samira Negrouche, Myesha Jenkins, Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva,

15.00 to 16.00 pm

PANEL: Reading between the lines: new ways of reading, writing and networking

Chair: Maureen Isaacson

Panellists: Karabo Kgoleng, Molara Wood, Desiree Lewis, Monica Seeber, Farah Abusheshwa.

16.00 to 17.30 pm

Readings and performances

DAY 3: 10am – 2pm
Venue: Wits University, New Science Building , West Campus, (Yale Rd Entrance)

Sunday 20th November 2011
10am to 12.00.

PANEL: Writing Freedom: Reclaiming the future

Chair and Master of Ceremonies: Gcina Mhlophe

Panellists: Nawal El Saadawi, Margie Orford, Tsitsi Dangaremba, , Ingrid Winterbach, Angela Makholwa

12 noon to 13.00pm

Closing and Tributes to Nadine Gordimer on the occasion of her 88th birthday

Readings and Performances

Free Entrance / Refreshments will be served.
All welcome but R.S.V.P to: bookings@awwn.co.za
Or zodwa@windybrowarts.co.za
Enquiries: 011 720-7009 / More info: www.awwn.co.za
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/africanwomenwritersnetwork

Friday, November 18, 2011

2nd African Women Writers' Forum

The 2nd African Women Writers' Symposium kicked off today in Johannesburg. The theme of the symposium is 'Dream, Speak, Read, Reclaim - Being African in the World'.

South Africa's
Mail & Guardian newspaper marked the 3-day event with an 8-page special supplement on the symposium. At the opening event today, M&G's Arts Editor said the newspaper sees as part of its role "some sort of participation in the literary life of the country."

Perhaps the best introduction to the symposium in convener Lisa Combrinck's introduction and overview, reproduced below and also published in the M&G as 'African in Heart and Soul'.


Forty writers in 3 days gather in in one city, Johannesburg, in honour of
Nadine Gordimer as she celebrates her 88th birthday and to interrogate what it means to be African in the world.

Of these writers, the vast majority are women who have also come to Johannesburg at the invitation of the Department of Arts and Culture to participate in the Second African Women Writers’ Symposium. The first one held in August last year brought women writers together under the theme of “Women’s Words: African worlds: Renewing a dialogue between African women writers and women of African descent. The first symposium brought African women’s writing to a South African audience and provided a platform in which African women writers could highlight the challenges faced by women on the continent and form a network of African women writers.

This year the event is more ambitious as writers gather under the theme: “Dream, speak, read, reclaim: being African in the world”. This year sees a more concerted focus on North African women’s writing. Most well-known of these is the Egyptian author and medical doctor, Nawal El Saadawi whose writing has as its central theme the oppression of women and women’s assertion of their freedom. A medical doctor by profession, Nawal El Saadawi, was imprisoned for her beliefs. She was placed on a death list; and she describes this time of her life in “Walking through Fire”, in the most factual yet chilling manner: “Almost every day the bodyguard would ring the bell and tell us that they had caught a stranger trying to come up to my flat. Every time the door-bell rang, I imagined the assassin standing outside. I could not write with the fear of death hanging over my head. I tried to chase it away but it kept coming back…. It used to spread its wings over my head as I sat writing. I would stop in the middle of a line or a word, the pen arrested in its movement.”

Nawal El Saadawi is also joined by a fellow writer from Egypt, Ekbal Baraka, who is President of Egypt PEN and the author of numerous books that show the plight of women and their attempts to address these women’s movements. From Algeria hails another medical doctor, Samira Negrouche, whose work is profound and poetic and gives life to the landscape of the north of Africa. She writes of the African desert where “furrows forge their shapes,” and “caravans can’t make their way down into the black earth.” The desert, she says “needs freedom”. Elsewhere she takes on the persona of a slave: “I am in the south of life with my slave’s memory reddened by the imbibed blood of our fears, there is no nation that claims me. Night will come to take me at the hour of these shores, lit by futile passions.” They are also joined by the writer and film producer, Farah Abusheshwa, who is of both Irish and Lybian descent, and whose innovative efforts in Britain have produced partnerships between producers, script writers and agencies. She is also proud to be among those raising their voices for the rights of Lybian women under the transitional government.

From the west hails Lola Shoneyin, a Nigerian poet and novelist, whose latest offering, ‘The Secrets of Baba Segi’s Wives’, takes a look a polygamy and how this affects women. Molara Wood, a story writer, also hails from Nigeria and she has also devoted herself to writing a blog that has gained widespread popularity in her motherland. From East Africa comes the inimitable Doreen Baingana whose rise to fame came as the result of the publication of her book, Tropical Fish. Through this book, Baingana brought to fiction writing a world of childhood with which others could identify and see their lives through her words. Her fellow Ugandan, is the poet, Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunva, based in Kampala, whose poetry is vivid and playful and who has founded an annual poetry award for Ugandan

From the African Diaspora comes Kadija George, who is based in the United Kingdom but is a Sierra Leonean, who is a poet and short story writer and an editor of literary journals and anthologies focused on women of African descent. Her poems speak of a cosmopolitan reality where migration is the result of economic dependency and where an African boy can earn his living selling “flashing Eiffel towers” and she ironically titled this poem “Living the African dream in Paris”. Also based in the United Kingdom is Lizzy Attree, current administrator of the
Caine Prize and an academic of note. Abena Koomson, a Ghanaian based in the United States, and well-known for her acting work, will be holding creative writing workshops with young writers in Durban, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. Those who have attended the workshops facilitated by her describe it as a moving experience.

Zimbabwean writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, will also be participating in this symposium; and she is known as a filmmaker and the author of the famous novel, Nervous Conditions, as well as, more recently, The Book of Not. Leloba Molema, a Botswana academic, brings her vast knowledge and experience to the Symposium having been one of the editors of the mammoth work, Women Writing Africa, Volume One. From Namibia comes Ellen Ndeshi Namhila, a writer who was part of the Namibian liberation struggle and who spent fifteen years as a refugee. Notable among her books is The Price of Freedom, her autobiography.

South African writers participating include of course Nadine Gordimer, Africa’s only woman Nobel literary Laureate, whose many novels and short stories have captured the times that we live in. The 2011 symposium pays tribute to her role in South African literature and as a firm supporter of writers’ organizations over the years as she turns eighty-eight on the 20th November this year.

South African authors will engage in this dialogue with their counterparts. Among them are also Ingrid Winterbach (Lettie Viljoen) based in Durban whose Afrikaans fiction has met with widespread acclaim and whose novel, To hell with Cronje, won the Hertzog Prize in 2004. Cape Town writer, Diane Ferrus, a storyteller and the author of poetry in both English and Afrikaans, will read from her new collection, “I have come to take you home”. Gender researcher and analyst, Nomboniso Gasa, will chair a roundtable discussion focusing on issues of gender, identity and culture. She is the editor of Women in South African History and has also focused her research on democracy in Nigeria. Myesha Jenkins is a performance poet who resides in Johannesburg and who was a founding member of the Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective which launched many a woman poet into the centre-stage. Together with the dynamic writer and performance poet, Natalia Molebatsi, who will also be participating in this literary feast, she is currently co-editing a South African anthology of erotic poetry. They will also be joined by Michele McGrane, whose most recent collection, Suitable Girls, reveals an interesting series of poems entitled Lunar Postcards. Perhaps following from the self-styled Martian poets, she has produced a lunar landscape where “We season freeze-dried macaroni / with liquid salt and pepper” and where rather humorously, “after a week of granola bars, / nuts and bitter orange juice, /the commander’s arm / begins to look tasty.” Shaida Kazie Ali brings to this event a fresh approach to creative writing by making references to recipes and children’s stories in her debut fiction, Not a Fairytale, which takes a hard look at male-female relationships in a Muslim family.

Award-winning journalist, Margie Orford, will be sharing her insights with a Johannesburg audience. Her novels have paved a new and interesting path for South African women’s fiction with her Clare Hart series. Fellow novelist, Angela Makholwa, whose debut novel was a psychological crime thriller, will also be present. Her latest work is enigmatically titled The 30th Candle. Makholwa is also part of the READSA initiative. Western Cape academic, Desiree Lewis, will share her analysis of photography by women photographers by placing a gendered lens on the subject. The academic community is further represented by Libby Meintjes from Wits University: School of Language and Literature, who has also been involved in the organizing of this symposium. Monica Seeber will bring to this gathering her expertise on copyright and specifically the rights of authors.

Finally it would be a oversight if mention was not made of the male authors who will join their female counterparts in honour of Nadine Gordimer as they join the discussion on what it means to be African in the world from the vantage point of the author and the intellectual. Veteran writer, Oswald Mtshali, whose groundbreaking poetry collection, Sounds of a Cowhide Drum, was published forty years ago this year will bring his ideas to bear on this
question as too will Remi Raji-Oyelade, an award-winning poet and academic based at the University of Ibadan. Intellectual property lawyer, Tade Ipadeola, will read from his epic work in progress, Sahara Testaments, while Masoja Msiza will dazzle us with his memorable poems that get to the heart of the South African condition.

It is hoped that such an array of African authors will also speak and dream with each other and that through such a platform begin to speak to the African condition not only in a myriad of ways, but in order to lead to what Ali Mazrui calls “cultural coalescence”. As African authors gather in numbers, the notion of a cross border culture as labeled by Lewis Nkosi should also be interrogated. But mainly it is hoped that this will inspire younger generations of aspiring writers to follow their hearts and embark upon a career in the arts, as professional writers in the creative economy.

This symposium and tribute take place only a few days before the Department of Arts and Culture hosts a workshop on the African Renaissance Cultural Charter and also four days before South Africa hosts a meeting of the African World Heritage Fund. With the focus on Africa in the forthcoming week, this also bodes well for the COP17 United Nations Conference that South Africa hosts from the 26th November 2011 and for future gatherings that require all of Africa to work towards a common position.

By Lisa Combrinck
African Women Writers’Symposium convener

LABAF Programme

13 Lagos Book and Art Festival Programme

DATE: FRIDAY 18 - 20
TIME: 9am - 6pm daily

DAY 1:
FRIDAY (November 18)

(9 am, Hall 2)
My Encounter with the Book (Kiddies’ Segment) by Tunde Babawale, Director General CBAAC) -- a motivational talk to kids kicks open the kiddies’ segment of the festival.

Opening Glee -- Yoruba Ronu, by Crown Troupe

(11am-1pm, Hall 1)
The Festival Colloquium (I): Theme: Documenting The Governance Challenges: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other-I: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around (a) A Swamp Full Of Dollars by Michael Peel (b). Dinner With Mugabe by Heidi Holland; (c) A Continent For The Taking by Howard French,

(1pm-3pm, Hall 1)
The Festival Colloquium (II) Arrested Development: “Why Can’t ‘They’ Get It Right?: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around (a) The State Of Africa by Martin Meredith, (b) Nigeria: Dancing On The Brink- by John Campbell, (c) It’s Our Turn To Eat by Michaela Wrong

How Familiar Is This Town? The City As A Key Character In the Fictional Narratives Of The Continent: Readings, Reviews, and discussions around(1) Good Morning Comrades (Luanda, Angola), by Ondjaki, (2) The Yacoubian Building (Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany; (3) The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives (Ibadan, Nigeria) by Lola Shoneyin; (4) Tropical Fish (Entebbe, Uganda) byDoreen Baigana; (5) Under The Brown Rusted Roofs (Ibadan, Nigeria) by Abimbola Adunni Adelakun.

SATURDAY, (November 19)

(10 am, Hall 2)
My Encounter with the Book (Kiddies’ Segment) by Austin Avuru (Petroleum Geologist and Author/Managing Director, Seplat Petroleum) -- a motivational talk to kids kicks open the kiddies’ segment of the festival.

3D & Animation; The Virtual Reality and You – a discussion to stimulate young people’s interest in the art, business and future of 3D and animation, put together by Positive Development Foundation and Dada Academy

(12noon to 1.30pm) (12noon to 2.30pm)
Town Talk1: Theme: Books as tools of The Knowledge Economy: Can a book make you rich? A top-notch panel of discussants review the role of books in the Knowledge Economy, using four books as take off points: Hot, Flat And Crowded by Tom Friedman; The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell; The Ascent Of Money by Niall Ferguson, The World Is Flat by Tom Friedman

(3pm-4pm, Hall 1)
Challenging The Present: African Authors And The Global Discourse On Governance: Readings, Reviews and Discussions around: Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And What Can Be Done About It, by Dambissa Moyo; When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and The Ogoni Struggle For Self Determination by Ike Okonta.

Musical Interlude/Live Performance: Naijazz Afrocentric led by Oyin Ogungbade

Mapping The Future: Four young authors and publishers under 35, discuss the changing landscape of the publishing industry and express, in detail, their dreams/plans in contributing to the revamp.NB: Inserted in this conversation is a 25 minute presentation byToni Kan with a working title: What happened to The Pace Setter Series -- and when will the new Nigerian thriller come?

SPECIAL EVENT:DANCE Presentation from the series of Contemporary Dance Workshops directed (in October) by visiting dancers/choreographers Francois Verhunes (France) and Vincent Mantsoe (South Africa); and in November by Isabelle Schad (Germany) and Samir Akika (Algeria/Germany). Participants were drawn from Nigeria, Togo and Republic of Benin. The workshop was jointly facilitated by Goethe Institut, Institut Francais, Abuja and Alliance Francaise Lagos with collaboration of Trufesta and Danse meets Danse.

FESTIVAL BIRTHDAY PARTYCombined birthday party for: Fatai Rolling Dollar @ 85; Chukwuemeka Ike @ 80; Benson Idonije @ 75; Taiwo Ajai-Lycett @ 70; Sunmi Smart Cole @ 70; Lindsay Barret @ 70; Ebun Clark @ 70; Charly Boy @ 60; Yeni Kuti @ 50; Richard Mofe-Damijo @ 50; Joke Silva @ 50; Tunde Babawale @ 50; Femi Akintunde-Johnson @ 50; Duke Asidere 2 50; Sola Olorunyomi @ 50; Remi Raji @ 50

Bandstand: Fatai Rolling Dollar and bandPoetry/Folklore: Akeem Lasisi, Adunni Nefertiti.

SUNDAY, November 20

Arthouse Forum: Art Of The Biography: Reviews and discussions of Femi Osofisan’s J. P. Clark: A Voyage and, Adewale Pearce’s A Peculiar Tragedy: J. P. Clark and the beginning of modern Nigerian literature

Art Stampede- The Nigerian Abroad: Fictional Accounts Of The Immigrant Experience… A panel discussion on the The Phoenix, by Chika Unigwe; Some Kind Of Black, by Diran Adebayo; 26A, by Diana Evans; A Squatter’s Tale, by Ike Oguine; Her Majesty’s Visit, by Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo; The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Adichie

Festival Play: Waiting Room by Wole Oguntokun: & the Renegade Theatre To Commemorate A Fresh Start Of Our Democracy

Screening of ADOPTED by Gundrun (being the November edition of the Monthly Film Screening of iREP Film Festival Forum & Goethe Institut, Lagos. NB: Filmmaker will be present from Germany for Q & A


MUSIC: Fatai Rolling Dollar and band Naijazz Afrocentric led by Oyin Ogungbade.

DANCE: Crown Troupe of Africa; Footprints of David P

OETRY/FOLKLORE: Adunni Nefertiti, Akeem Lasisi & Others

13th Lagos Book & Art Festival opens today

The 13th annual Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) opened today at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. There was a Publisher's Forum, Publishing In The Age Of Microchip, yesterday at the Goethe Insitutute, Lagos, by way of a preamble. LABAF 2011 is on from today to Sunday 20th November. Futher info below:

Babawale To Open The Lagos Book Festival
Tunde Babawale, the professor of political economy who runs the Centre For Black And African Arts and Civilisation(CBAAC), will open the 13th Lagos Book And Art Festival (LABAF 2011) on November 18, at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, in Lagos. Babawale will be delivering a keynote address with the theme: The Book In My Life. The Festival opening session, at 9am, is largely for the young Nigerians (aged 11 to 18), at the Festival for whom the organizers have planned a robust segment. The first of the 10 panel sessions in the adult segment kicks in at 11am. Babawale will moderate that session with the theme: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other. Meanwhile, his opening address to the kids “is expected to be a summary of the journey of the life of a high achieving individual in society”, according to Ayo Arigbabu, the Festival’s Project Director, “with emphasis on how Books have helped him reach where he is today”. Previous such speakers have included Femi Osofisan, the country’s most distinguished professor of drama, who gave a moving speech, in 2006, on how he discovered literature via the Bible and how reading has enabled him to escape a childhood life of poverty. “LABAF is the one book event with a high children participation”, Arigbabu reports. “Last year, we hosted 1200 kids to workshops on paintings, readings, photography; a range of experiences and, most crucially, discussions around books”.

Rolling Dollar, Clark and Idonije To Headline CORA’s Birthday Party
The highlife musician Fatai Rolling Dollar is the oldest of the group of media and culture enthusiasts, artists and scholars who will be honoured at the Freedom Park on Broad Street in Lagos on November 19. And he will be performing with his band. November 19 is the second day of the 2011 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. As a rule, the Committee For Relevant Art(CORA), organizers of the Festival, uses this day to celebrate those culture producers who have had a landmark birthday or the other in the course of the year. “Those who make the list are not just anybody”, says Deji Toye, chairman of the jury that decided on the honorees. “These are people who, in the course of the lives they’ve so far lived, have made significant contributions to the media and arts". The party, this year is for Fatai Rolling Dollar at 85, the novelist Chukwuemeka Ike at 80, the music critic Benson Idonije at 75; the actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett at 70; the culture scholar Ebun Clark at 70; the singer/entertainer Charly Boy at 60; the actor Richard Mofe-Damijo at 50; the dancer/choreographer Yeni Kuti at 50 the actress Joke Silva at 50; the music critic and publisher Femi Akintunde-Johnson at 50; and the culture scholars Tunde Babawale, Sola Olorunyomi and Remi Raji at 50. “We are having a big feast for them and their families”, Toye explains, “under a massive tent”. The Lagos Book and Art Festival is a comprehensive, three day programme of events featuring readings, conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance. It’s a festival of the arts with a high book content.

Oil Executives Debate: Can A Book Make You Rich?
Bayo Akinpelu, former Director at Chevron Nigeria, will moderate a conversation between Austin Avuru, Femi Aisida and Dayo Adegoke around the theme: The Book as The Key To The Knowledge Economy at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Saturday November 20, 2011. Mr Avuru is the Chief Executive of Seplat Petroleum, the Nigerian E&P company which produces 37,000Barrels of oil a day; Aisida oversees Energy and Mineral Resources(EMR) and Adegoke is Managing Director of Mosenergy. Both companies are hydrocarbon consulting firms. The conversation involves reading, reviews and discussions around four books, including Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent Of Money: A Financial History Of The World, and Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat as well as Hot. Flat and Crowded. The discussions are taking place as part of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, a three day festival of the written word, now in its 12th year. The Festival involves drama skits, music, 10 panel sessions around 26 books, and a lavish party for icons of Nigerian culture landscape headlined by Fatai Rolling Dollar.

Toni Kan, Jideonwo and Nwulue On The Thriller Tradition
Toni Kan is an alumnus of Hints, the Romance magazine and perhaps the closest thing in the country (currently) to an incubator of thriller fiction. At 40, his is the generation that grew up reading the Pace Setter series. He’s always believed “there’s a market for fiction, if you write something that grabs people by the collar of the shirt”. Kan’s best selling collection of short stories, Nights Of The Creaking Bed, is a work of literary fiction, but a lot of the stories have the “thriller element”. On Saturday, November 19, 2011, he will be making a 25 minute presentation What happened to The Pace Setter Series- and when will the new Nigerian thriller come?. Mr Kan’s talk will preface a panel session with the theme: Mapping The Future , involving four young authors and publishers under 35, discussing the changing landscape of the publishing industry and express, in detail, their dreams/plans in contributing to the revamp. The programme is being put together by Chude Jideonwo and The Future Award group a well as Onyeka Nwulue’s Blues and Hills Literary consultancy.

Tunde Babawale, Keith Richards To Moderate Two Colloquies
Tunde Babawale, former Professor of Political economy at the University of Lagos and current Director General of CBAAC, and Keith Richards, author of Outsider Inside and Managing Director of Promasidor, have agreed to moderate the different colloquies of the forthcoming Lagos Book and Art Festival , holding at the Freedom Park on Broad Street from November 18-20. Babawale will chair/moderate the first colloquium, entitled Documenting The Governance Challenges: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other-I: He is expected to bring to bear his understanding of the continent’s political economy on reviews, and discussions around three books written by Europeans and Americans on Africa: (a)A Swamp Full Of Dollars- Michael Peel (b). Dinner With Mugabe-Heidi Holland; (c)A Continent For The Taking- Howard French. On his part, Mr Richards, a Briton who has spent 26 years working here will moderate the colloquium entitled Arrested Development: “Why Can’t ‘They’ Get It Right?: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other . The discussion will involve readings, reviews, and discussions around (a)The State Of Africa-Martin Meredith, (b)Nigeria: Dancing On The Brink-John Campbell, (c) It’s Our Turn To Eat- Michaela Wrong.

The City As Character In African Fiction
Asked if she had read The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives, Lola Shoneyin’s witty novel about polygamy, the novelist Abimbola Adelakun responds matter of factly: “I had to, people kept drawing similarities” (to her novel). Still, while it’s so clear that Adelakun’s well received Under The Brown Rusted Roofs is located in Ibadan, with the city’s character sketched out so vividly in the minutae of daily living in those “Agboles”, the plot in Secret Lives is played out in a way that it could have happened anywhere. Or could it? Plus, how comparable is Rusted Roofs with The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, Egypt’s notable successor to Naguib Mahfouz, given that both books are episodic in nature and treat readers to witty and entertaining foibles of residents in each “household”, in a neighbourhood? These are some of several arguments expected to be explored in a panel session on the opening day of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, on November 18, 2011. Titled: How Familiar Is This Town? The City In Fictional Narratives Of The Continent, the conversation involves readings, reviews, and discussions around several novels produced by African writers including (1) Good Morning Comrades (Luanda, Angola)-, by Ondjaki, (2)The Yacoubian Building(Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany, 3 Tropical Fish (Entebbe, Uganda)-Doreen Baigana; (4) The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives (Ibadan)-Lola Shoneyin and Under The Brown Rusted Roofs (Ibadan) - Abimbola Adelakun. This session continues from the series Lagos In The Imagination, focused on Lagos as the primary site of plot narratives in Nigerian fiction, which began at the 2005 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. A number of panelists are currently reading these several books well in advance to ensure a healthy debate.

Where’s Ike Okonta’s REVOLT?
Organisers of the Lagos Book And Art Festival(LABAF) have commenced a massive hunt for Ike Okonta’s When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and The Ogoni Struggle For Self Determination. It is one of the two books selected for a panel discussion around the theme: Challenging The Present: African Authors And The Global Discourse On Governance, scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2011, the second of the three day feast of the written word. “We wrote Ofirima Publishing House, (the book’s Port Harcourt based publishers) three months ago, requesting for details of how to buy the book and get it delivered to us”, laments LABAF spokesperson Ropo Ewenla.” There has been no response either in terms of acknowledgement of the mail or in respect of the possibilities of our request”. Ewenla explains that Ofirima doesn’t list a phone number on the book, itself a significant, well researched narrative on the National Question, written in elegant prose. “The book has an email address,
ofirimabooks@gmail.com, which we used in reaching out without any luck”, Ewenla complains. “The publishing house is on 13 Agudama Avenue D-Line Port Harcourt, Nigeria”. The event, expected to run between the hours of 3pm and 4pm inside Hall 1 of Freedom Park, Lagos, is meant to be chaired by Dr. Sola Olorunyomi of the institute of African Studies , University of Ibadan. The other book on the panel is Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And What Can Be Done About It, by Dambissa Moyo. Mr Ewenla is anxious: “Time is running out as we hope to have all those on the panel who have not read the book do so. We have deliberately refrained from being enticed by the possibility of making photo copies of the only copy of the book that we have. But then how do we get close to twenty people to read one copy of this book in less than a month?”