Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jumoke Verissimo on the joy of writing - Titilayo Olurin

“I’m from a humble background, from a family where we are taught that the truth is above all else. We were taught that integrity is above all else and honesty is very important.”
In this interview, Jumoke reminds me why I discovered literature, and began to write at the age of 21.
She's spot on, and I am sure we're bound to hear from her and about her writing in the nearest future.

How Writers Build the Brand

Are you willing to do this, barter your soul for success?

"Walt Whitman notoriously wrote his own anonymous reviews, which would not be out of place today on Amazon. “An American bard at last!” he raved in 1855. “Large, proud, affectionate, eating, drinking and breeding, his costume manly and free, his face sunburnt and bearded.”
If you are a shy author, may be you might have to devise a means of making yourself known. Otherwise... mmhh.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tales From the Global Sex Trade

Beautiful review of Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters Street by FERNANDA EBERSTADT

Opponents of immigration often prefer to ignore the tragic forces that c people to risk death in order to reach our lands of plenty, not to mention the horrors that often await the “lucky” few, once they do arrive. Imagine an Underground Railroad in which the conductor robs and rapes his passengers, and the station porter, once they’ve disembarked, ushers them into a new form of slavery. This unholy traffic in impoverished strivers, imported to service needs Westerners don’t want to think about, is the subject of Chika Unigwe’s novel “On Black Sisters Street.”


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Conversation: Teju Cole's 'Open City'

Teju Cole's interview granted to Jeffrey Brown:

"TEJU COLE: Well, there were two things I thought about when I gave the book that title. One is this idea that this city is accessible to him. It's open. The way we talk about open hearted, open minded. So it has a positive connotation that way. It's about a sensitive narrator who has taken in a lot of the signals that the city has given him as he walks around. But the other idea was the meaning of the term "open city" itself, which is not such a positive meaning. It's a city that has been invaded, but a city that is trying to deal with the enemy to prevent physical destruction of its infrastructure."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A peculiar tragedy

Every once in a while geniuses engage in less ingenious ideas. Even Nobel Prize winners often writes some less inspiring works. Michiko Kakutani, the doyen of literary reviews often produces okay reviews. Our African Kakutani has just produced one of his weakest book reviews ever. Did I say book review? I should have said "author review," for that is exactly what Ikhide Ikheloa has done in this piece.
This is how the piece begins:
"The writer Adewale Maja-Pearce' just published a sloppy biography of the literary icon John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo titled, ‘A Peculiar Tragedy: J.P. Clark-Bekederemo and the Beginning of Modern Nigerian Literature in English.' Apparently Maja-Pearce dreamed up a proposal to write Clark's biography and applied somewhere for a $63,000 grant to fund the project."
Anyway, see for yourself.

African Writing Prize for Flash Fiction 2011 - Results

We are grateful for all the entrants to this competition. 151 entries were received from sixteen countries in this inaugural edition of the prize. Entries were judged blind, with the final selection of the short-list made by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, the competition judge, whose letter follows the list of winners.

Winning entries will feature in the next edition of the magazine. We look forward to the next competition!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

'Akata Witch' by Nnedi Okorafor

Who is afraid of albinos? Growing up in my village, near Enugu, I used to believe that they had extraordinary power. Nnedi Okorafor proves me right. You wanna see? Read her novel, Akata Witch.

By the way, who says science fiction is not African? I have heard Nnedi Okorafor speak: awesome. She has produced at least six great books, and collected prizes the way a magnet collects bits of metal. Here is a review of one of her great novels.
An excerpt:
"The protagonist at the center of the young-adult novel "Akata Witch" lives in many worlds. She is, in the truest sense, African American: Nigerian by ancestry, American by birth. Born in New York, she moved to West Africa with her parents and brothers when she was 9.

But Sunny Nwazue is also albino, with skin the color of "sour milk" and "hazel eyes that look like God ran out of the right color." Complicating matters further, she's a witch."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Omotoso on Soyinka and Achebe
"But my worry is this: if you critic Conrad and Joyce Carey as misrepresenting Africa and yet write a book like ‘Things Fall Apart’ where at the end of the story the hero commits suicide; you write ‘No Longer at Ease’ at the end of which the central character goes into prison. You write ‘Arrow of God’ at the end of which the community abandons their priest. I then ask you, where is that alternative to the British, American representation of Africa culture?”