Friday, February 26, 2010

Odia Ofeimun wins Fonlon-Nichols Award

Congratulations to Odia. Well-deserved:
"Nigerian poet, essayist, journalist, and social critic, Odia Ofeimun has been announced as the 2010 winner of the Fonlon-Nichols Award. The award, administered by the African Literature Association, ALA, is given to an African writer every year for excellence in creative writing and for contributions to the struggle for human rights and freedom of expression, according to Dr. Oty Agbajoh-Laoye, chair of the ALA awards committee."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Zimbabwe novelist finds a safe haven in Miami

"The death threats? Too numerous to count. The serious attempts on his life ranged from make-believe doctors offering potentially fatal ``medicine'' to a traffic accident that was no accident at all.

In his native Zimbabwe, he's been ranked as high as No. 17 on the government's Enemies of the State list."

Call for Entries: 2011 PEN/Studzinski Literary Awards

"Alert! SA PEN has issued its call for entries for the £10 000 2011 PEN/Studzinsky Literary Awards – which are judged by JM Coetzee – and has announced that Margie Orford is set to replace Shaun Johnson on the PEN executive."

Monday, February 22, 2010

In which my President turns 86 and I contemplate the joys of living in a gerontocracy

Petina Gappah at her best!
I love this one. A great mix of sarcasm, gritty wit and sorrow. Beautiful.
Nuff said. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ten rules for writing fiction

I thought you might like this one. It can add one or two things to your writing arsenal.
My own advice: go against any of these rules when you feel like.
Otherwise ..., well, ENJOY!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize regional winners’ shortlist announced

The shortlist for regional winners has been unveiled in the race to win the influential 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize."

Good Luck, friends.

The shortlisted writers for Africa's Best Book are:
Trespass by Dawn Garisch (South Africa)
The Double Crown by MariƩ Heese (South Africa)
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi (Nigeria)
Tsamma Season by Rosemund Handler (South Africa)
Refuge by Andrew Brown (South Africa)
Kings of the Water by Mark Behr (South Africa)

The shortlisted writers for Africa's Best First Book are:
I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (Nigeria)
The Shape of Him by Gill Schierhout (South Africa)
The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi Ozumba (Nigeria)
Come Sunday by Isla Morley (South Africa)
Sleepers Wake by Alistair Morgan (South Africa)
Jelly Dog Days by Erica Emdon (South Africa)
Harmattan Rain by Aysha Harunna Attah (Ghana)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Penguin's African Writers Series is stuck in the past? Who cares?

Emmanuel Sigauke rejects Akin Ajayi's critique of Penguin African Writer Series, and invites us to rethink our tendency to politicize African literature. And to Ajayi's title he mildly chides: "Who cares?"
"The "who cares" question is mine...perhaps because I am tired of reading about the politicization of African writing, or its de-politicization for that matter."
Enjoy the rest of his strong arguments here.

Penguin's African Writers Series is stuck in the past

Akin Ajayi believes that the recently launched Penguin African Writers Series is stuck in the past. I think he has some great points here. It is hard to disprove the emerging impression that the African intellectual culture is predominantly past-oriented. There may be some powerful ideological persuasion behind that, but I am increasingly getting fidgety about the fact that the African has to glance over his shoulder several times in order to see where he is wedging his foot forward. Okay, okay, I might be taking Akin's thought a bit further than he might have dreamed, but, well, here is Akin in his beautiful words:

"Perhaps I'm hard to please, but I can't help feeling a little underwhelmed by Penguin's new African Writers Series, launched last month and published by its Modern Classics imprint. It's not that I think the series is a bad thing, far from it, but by modelling itself upon the iconic Heinemann imprint of the same name, the impulse to compare the two is irresistible. And, to judge from the first five books published, I fear that Penguin won't come out of this looking very good."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wellesley College Honors Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe

Another one for our man.

"WELLESLEY, Mass.—Wellesley College’s Newhouse Center for the Humanities and the Office of the President hosts “Celebrating Chinua Achebe,” three days of readings, performances and scholarly events celebrating the work of Nigerian poet and novelist, Chinua Achebe, one of the most important international figures in contemporary literature. Winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize for fiction, Achebe is best known for his novel, Things Fall Apart, the most widely read work of African fiction. Achebe will deliver the 2010 Wilson Lecture Friday, March 5, at 7:30 pm in Houghton Chapel."
See details!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A week in the heart of coldness

Tolu Ogunlesi has an interesting piece on the recent celebration of African literature in Oslo:
"Returning a little over a year later for a week-long celebration of African literature organised by the Oslo House of Literature, I'm more forgiving. The city is not that ugly after all. But with a population of about half a million, it will always be a Tiny City in my estimation. Half a million people will be a housing estate in Lagos, I think."

From left to right are some of the African writers who took part in the celebration: Petina Gappah, Chenjerai Hove, Niq Mhlongo.


NLNG opens literature prize to all Nigerians

Just heard this:
"Nigerian writers seem to have their way with the Literature Committee of the NLNG Prize for Literature, after six years of criticisms and agitation.

The committee, in an announcement released to reporters on Wednesday evening, shifted grounds on two key issues that has agitated writers: the residency condition, which bars non-resident writers in the country from submitting their works for the prize and non disclosure of the identity of judges - which have caused friction between it and writers since the inception of the prize in 2004. ..."

I don't know whether this will solve Nigeria's intellectual crisis, and that in literature, but it is at least comforting to hear that the organizers are taking people's criticisms seriously.
Anyway read and judge for yourself.

An Elegy for the Easterl Up for Another Award

Petina Gappah's An Elegy for the Easterly has been nominated for Zimbabwe's National Award. Same with Brian Chikwava's Harare North.
Good to hear that these writers are getting the recognition they deserve. I strongly believe that Zimbabwe shall rise.
Here are the details from Ms Gappah's blog.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quality Street by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is back with an exciting short story, titled "Quality."
Here's the beginning:
"They were drinking tea. One of the few things that Mrs. Njoku and her daughter Sochienne could still do together without acrimony was drink tea, because when Mrs. Njoku suggested they go to the new boutique on Victoria Island, or Titi’s Place for a facial, things they used to do together in Lagos before Sochienne went away to university in America, Sochienne called her a fat bourgeois, a dilettante dancing while Nigeria was failing, as though she could somehow solve the country’s problems by depriving herself of a manicure. But this, drinking tea, was neutral—as long as it was without fresh milk."