Monday, March 21, 2011

Sefi Atta on the writing life

"Nothing struck me more forcibly than the soft voice I was greeted with when I met Sefi Atta at her Victoria Island home. I almost couldn't reconcile it with the strong passionate voice in her writings. It was when I watched one of her plays ‘The Cost of Living' staged at the Terra Kulture that I decided to interview her. We immediately got down to business at the poolside. I asked the one question that had been bothering me first: why had she decided to write a Niger Delta story like everyone else?"
Good piece.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beyond the balance of stories

This piece should be prefaced with: Notes for the New Generation of African Intellectuals. If you are not prepared to re-examine your conventional attitude to Africa's intellectual history, please ignore Ikhide's latest post, for it will make you sad. But then, some has got to speak some sad truths.

Okay, this is the way I interpret it.

Truth hurts. The truth of the African intellectual history is that most scholars have expended their intellectual capital defining Africa to the world, attacking those who shaped Africa's image in the West. One of the unintended consequences is the utter negligence of the human condition in various African cultures. I respect Ikhide for pointing this out. Hopefully, the new generation of intellectuals will just ignore the gaze of the West, and begin to ask questions that will make us Nigerians, Africans begin to take one another as seriously as we should; questions that will urge us to create a sound moral environment in which life can begin to flourish. Is Ikhide the gadfly we’ve been waiting for? To me he is. If I had not been mulling over some of his concerns before now, I would humbly add my name to his converts.
Thanks Ikhide.


Friday, March 18, 2011

The Nigeria Prize for Literature

The Nigeria Prize For
Literature 2011


Entries are hereby invited for The Nigeria prize for Literature. The yearly literary prize is endowed by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) to honor the author of the best book by a Nigerian within the last four years.

The prize will rotate amongst four literary genres-prose fictions, poetry, drama and children’s literature. This year, the competition is for children’s literature.

The competition is open only to published works by Nigerian writers irrespective of place of residence. It carries a prize of $50,000. Two other writers may also be accorded honorable mention.

Submission Procedure

Six copies of the entry together with evidence of Nigerian citizenship (photocopy of Nigerian passport or National identity card) may be submitted either by authors or publishers, in accordance with the genre in competition.

Books should be submitted to Nigeria LNG Limited’s External Relations Division, promoters of the prize, by the stipulated deadline. Failure to meet the stated conditions will lead to disqualification of the entry.

This being an annual competition, the date of publication on the work submitted must be within the previous three years. Complete contact information, including full postal address and\or e-mail and evidence of Nigerian citizenship, should accompany each submission.

An author in any competition will enter only one published work. Manuscripts will not be considered. No book previously submitted for this competition may be resubmitted at a later date, even if major revisions have been made or a new edition published.

The prize will be awarded for no other reason than excellence.

Judges for 2011 competition

Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo - Chairman
Prof.Iniobong Uko - Member
Prof. David Ker - Member
Prof. Yakubu Nasidi - Member
Prof. Lekan Oyegoke - Member

Calendar for Prize Administration

· Close of entries (deadline)-March 31,2011. Late entries will not be entertained.

Entries should be sent to:

The Nigeria Prize for Literature
External Relation Division
Nigeria LNG Limited ,
7th floor,C&C Towers
Plot 1684 Sanusi Fafunwa Street
Victoria Island, Lagos

For entries outside Nigeria:
The Nigeria Prize for Literature
External Relation Division
Heron House,
10 Dean Farrar Street
London SW1H 0DX

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Orange prize longlist tackles difficult subjects – and alligators

Lola Shoneyin's "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" is on the Orange Prize Longlist.
Aminata Forna's "The Memory of Love" and Leila Aboulela's "Lyrics Alley"
This is strong list.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jude Dibia Set to Publish Blackbird, His Third Novel

"In 2005, when he published Walking with Shadows, his “controversial” debut novel whose central character is Adrian, the homosexual; some readers thought Jude Dibia, the author was gay. When Unbridled,his second novel was published in 2007, some readers said he had soft spot for the feminine. Now, as Jude is ready to publish a new novel, one wonders what some readers would think of him."

I love what this guy is doing. He gives fiction a noble name, by breaking boundaries and taboos, and thereby making us more human. I can't wait to lay my beautiful eyes on this latest offering.
And here is the interview he granted to Obidike Okafor.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

John Steinbeck, The Art of Fiction

Some nice words from Steinbeck:


It is usual that the moment you write for publication—I mean one of course—one stiffens in exactly the same way one does when one is being photographed. The simplest way to overcome this is to write it to someone, like me. Write it as a letter aimed at one person. This removes the vague terror of addressing the large and faceless audience and it also, you will find, will give a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness.

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ayesha: Ghana's rising literary icon

Talents to take note of.

"Young Ayesha Harruna Attah grew up in a home where reading and writing flow through the blood. Ayesha is a biochemistry degree holder from Mount Holyoke College. She studied journalism at the Columbia University. Her parents own one of Ghana's respected private newspapers, The Mail, where she started as a tyro."


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Literature is a big house with many rooms

Did you know that Literature is a big house with many rooms? You need to hear this. A beautiful interview conducted by two beautiful, smart women. Okay, don't tell me that I'm already melting like butter. Blame it on brains. But, you've got to hear this.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Born in Enugu, Nigeria and brought up in the University town of Nsukka, her writings approach race, gender and identity with a distinctly perceptive style. Her works are deeply connected to Nigeria, articulating different experiences and producing a complex impression of history and violence.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good Reads by our veteran reviewer

"I am officially in love. With Abimbola Adunni Adelakun’s book, ‘Under the Brown Rusted Roofs’."
If Ikhide makes his love of a certain writer's book known, as he once did to Sefi Atta's, know that it is serious. Ikhide is thermometer; he doesn't lie about the temperature of a book. So, take his words when you can because the next time, oh, friends...

Okay, here is what he thinks about the recently minted, and some old, books by Nigerian authors.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?

Have you ever felt like ditching a novel you've been working on for long but never gets it to its supposed rounded form? Have you ever felt compelled not to give up on that particular work because it would mean that you have just wasted about five years of hard work?
Goodness, I know that feeling.
Anyway, here is a piece by Dan Kois. It might be of interest to you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Winners, 2011

Regional Winners:


Best Book: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)

Best First Book: Happiness is a four-letter word by Cynthia Jele (South Africa)