iRead: Nigerian Literature, what’s sex got to do with it?

While the controversy rages on over Achebe’s new book, we remember his poignant description of Okonkwo as a man of a few words. But surely, we wonder, ‘a few words’ cannot express the act that led to the conception of his children.

If good fiction closely reflects reality, or makes the surreal seem so real as the case maybe; what does Nigerian fiction say about the way Nigerians approach sex as a reality of life? Do writers shy away from interrogating sex, an integral part of reality, in their work or do they paint an alternate reality far removed from the reality of most Nigerians? We’re asking this question of Literature: what’s sex got to do with it???

We do not jest here, at the November edition of iRead, the monthly writers’ reading and interaction series, sex will be exposed….strictly from the writers’ perspective!

To tackle this topic and read from their work (or showcase their art) we have Akilola Moronfolu, Iweka Kingsley, Andrew Eseimokumo Oki and since it not our intention to bore you to death with sex talk we have Team GhenGhen on hand to spice things up and bring it all down to earth (you know writers and how we like big big grammar).

(1) Andrew Eseimokumo Oki

Andrew Eseimokumo Oki  started writing at age 13 in Command Secondary School, Apata, Ibadan. His first novel “Bonfires of the gods” was published by Serene Woods, India in May 2011 and later released in Nigeria by Griots Lounge, in 2012. Andrew’s 13-month epileptic travels and research in the sub-continent of India is what inspires and forms the backbone of his next novel soon to be released. Andrew loves to sing and has a passion for living. He lives in Nigeria.

(2) Atilola Moronfolu:

Atilola Moronfolu is a multi-faceted entrepreneur. She is a Writer, Editor, Neighbourhood Magazine publisher, spoken word artist, and popular writing blogger on atilola.blogspot.com.

She also edits books for fellow writers and bloggers and gets them ready for publishing.

She is the author of Antonyms of a Mirage, the now popularly trending short stories collection in Nigeria, and is on the verge of releasing her second novel.

(3) Team GhenGhen:

Team GhenGhen is made up of The Reptile, The Panda, The Walker, The Mallam, Luminus, & DJ Klem.
their weekly podcast is becoming another can’t-do-without Nigerian social media innovation. The purpose of the podcast is to use humour as a means to speak about the things that make human beings tick & the things that drive us crazy.
With a growing number of listeners and downloaders spanning from Lagos to Eket, Peckham to New York, the GhenGhen show speaks to the consciousness of the youth as well as the young at heart.

The GhenGhen weekly podcast that is available for download at www.ghenghen.com.

(4) Iweka Kingsley:

Iweka Kingsley works as a Freelance Writer and PR & Media Consultant, with engagements with CP-Africa and a few other platforms. He is a YNaija SuperBlogger, while managing his own blog: http://www.iamscopeman.wordpress.com.

Date: 25th November 2012

Time: 3-6pm

Venue: CORA House, 95 Bode Thomas, Surulere, Lagos.

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When Abuja Literati came out for DADA author Sylva Ifedigbo

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo, author of wave making collection of Short Stories The Funeral Did Not End was guest writer at two foremost Abuja literary events over the weekend.

The opportunity to read in not one but two venues in Nigeria’s capital city was for him a homecoming of sorts. Before Lagos, Abuja was the city that hosted Ifedigbo’s literary genius.

His first reading was on October 26 at Abuja Literary Society’s monthly Book Jam at the Silverbird Galleria, where he shared the platform with Ukamaka Olisakwe and Tope Fasua. Ukamaka, like Nze Ifedigbo, is making a name for herself with her novel “Eyes of a Goddess”; and Tope, author of a non-fiction book “Crushed”, is also to be reckoned with.

Audience at ALS BookJam

The event, held inside Silverbird’s Lifestyle Bookshop and hosted by Zubairu Attah, had an impressive attendance, impressive enough for all seats to be occupied by early birds and those who came later having little option but to stand. The reading provided the right atmosphere for up and coming writers to mingle with already established one. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Elnathan John, Theresa Oyibo Ameh and Chinyere Obasi Obi were in attendance.

We must add here that all copies of TFDNE available in the Lifestyle store sold out at the reading.

Nze Sylva at AWF Guest Writer's series

The seconding reading was on October 27 and Nze Ifedigbo was guest of the Abuja Writers Forum’s monthly Guest Writer’s Series, an honour he shared with poet Seun Badejo. This event started at almost 5pm and the turn out rivalled the previous reading.

The AWF spiced up their event with a mini visual exhibition and music, while AWF founder Dr. Emman Shehu thrilled the audience with rib cracking jobs centred on Nigeria’s urban legend, Akpos.

Again all copies of TFDNE sold out.

In all, it was a very good outing and the Abuja literati showed the rest of the country the way to go.

On to the next one.

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iRead: Social Commentary

Writing in a socially challenged society: going the social commentary route

In a nation where many have come to view works of art, be they visual, auditory or the written word, as an escape from harsh reality, some have argued that making these problems the main thrust of works or art constitute a form of double torture. They argue that the man on the street would rather read about happy people, rich people, people in love and people having fun, rather than the problems that stare them in the face every day. They don’t want to read about poverty, sickness, corruption and the like, because they know all about it, these ills stare at them from their mirror, and from the eyes of every stranger they meet on the street.

No matter how plausible these arguments sound, the truth is that they are a very false premise with which to judge what one should write or should not write about. That people want an escape is something that everyone can readily agree with, but that they still have to come back to the same reality is another that should not be ignored. It is therefore of great import to record the society as it is, not to mock, but to show. And by showing, attention can be brought to these ills and perhaps a redress began.

Perhaps it is with this need to show and become a catalyst for the much needed societal change that a crop of new age Nigerian writers are shunning the urge to pander to the wishes of those who advocate for writers to provide escape for the average man on the street, by making social commentary an integral part of their work.

With the support of Coca-Cola’s “1 Billion Reasons to Believe in  Africa” campaign,  iRead will be hosting some of these young people whose writing have given ample voice to a new generation seeking to change their society for good. Four writers, drawn from across Nigeria, all with strong elements of social commentary in their works published this year will be reading from their work and interacting with the audience about the Nigeria they see now and the one they hope to usher in through their writing.

1: Ukamaka Olisakwe:

Ukamaka Olisakwe is a new generation Nigerian novelist with amazing talents. Her debut novel Eyes of a Goddess will draw tears out of her readers. She is a banker in Nigeria with a degree in Computer Science. Ukamaka is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Communication and Linguistic Studies at the University of Port Harcourt. She is a young mother of two daughters and one son, and lives with her husband in Eastern Nigeria.

2: Richard Ali:

Richard Ali is a lawyer who hails from Idah, Nigeria. He was born in Kano, lives in Jos, Nigeria, and is presently Publicity Secretary [North] of the Association of Nigerian Authors. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine. His novel “City of Memories” was published this year.

3: Emmanuel Iduma:

Emmanuel Iduma was born in Akure, Nigeria. He obtained a degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. His interests range widely, including web technology, digital art, visual art, and creative writing. Emmanuel works mainly as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and has won awards and received recognition in each genre.

Emmanuel is the co-founder of Iroko Publishing, which has published Saraba as an electronic magazine since February 2009. His work in Saraba has been acclaimed globally, including in The Guardian (UK). He is currently the editor of 3bute.com an online mashable anthology of African modernity. He is the author of the novel “Farad”.

 

4: Sylva Nze Ifedigbo:

Sylva Ifedigbo is a Doctor of Veterinary medicine, a writer and a Corporate Communications professional.  He is an award winning essayist and author of the novella, “Whispering Aloud” and collection of short stories “The Funeral Did Not End”.

Sylva’s Essays have appeared in The Punch, The Nation, 234Next, Nigeria Village Square, Nigeria Dialogue, amongst others. He manages a weekly column on Daily TimesNG.  He is also the features & Reviews Editor of Sentinel Nigeria and an Ambassador for the Coca-Cola A Billion Reasons To Believe in Africa Campaign.

 

Venue:

CORA House

1st Floor 95 Bode Thomas Street

Surulere,

Lagos.

Date: Saturday 13th October 2012

Time: 3-6PM

This event is supported by Coca-Cola Nigeria, Dream Arts and Design Agency, Parresia Publishers and CORA Art & Cultural Foundation.

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 The Long wait…

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The Long wait is finally over!

At DADA books, we are proud to present a remarkable collection of short stories: The Funeral Did Not End, by Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

With The Funeral Did Not End, we are presenting 20 punchy stories, adroitly written by a tempered writer who has successfully merged his penchant for social commentary with his capacity for observing that same society with a keen eye and a mind that understands perfectly well, how to negotiate the threshold where the profound meets the mundane. 

 

Trained as a Veterinary Doctor at University of Nigeria Nsukka, Sylva Nze Ifedigbo who now works in Coporate Communication, is an award winning fiction writer and essayist, he has written widely on Nigerian Socio-political issues both online and in the print media, with Next Newspaper and Daily Times having carried his by-line regularly. His novella- Whispering Aloud was published in 2008 by Spectrum Books Ibadan. 

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The Funeral Did Not End, his second published book  which has been long anticipated, is published by DADA books and is being presented to the public on Saturday the 15th of September from 5pm-7pm at the Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Lagos Island. 

We’ll also be presenting Takada! the digital book application by our amazing friends at Wayne & Malcolm. The Funeral Did Not End will be available as digital downloads from Takada! from the 15th of September.

 

Register to attend the presentation here:  http://dadabookspresents_tfdnebysylva.eventbrite.com

See our promotional video for TFDNE here!

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We can gush for an aeon about The Funeral Did Not End……but let’s see what other writers think:

 

“Amazing! Brilliant! The claim that the short story is an underdeveloped genre in Africa has finally been laid to rest by Sylva Nze Ifedigbo in this scintillating debut. Ifedigbo is the undisputable master of his landscape and his characters. This is art tout court.”

– Pius Adesanmiwinner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing

 

  “Jhumpa Lahiri meets Frank McCourt in “The Funeral Didn’t End.” The simplicity, the language, the varied styles … the humour infused in the stories. Mr. Ifedigbo’s twenty stories reveal different lives, different situations, different ideologies and more importantly, different styles. They are deep, original, sometimes sentimental, sometimes unsentimental; very daring and surprisingly accomplished, for the genius displayed is ultimately genuine. He’s an incredibly talented storyteller.”

– Onyeka Nwelueauthor of ‘The Abyssinian Boy’

 

Sylva has written a collection that definitely resonates. Almost all the stories are laden with a palpable wry quality that reminds us of our vulnerability, that evokes moments and experiences many of us are familiar with and may not be keen to relive.

– Uche Peter Umez, author of Tears in Her Eyes

 

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo’s collection of twenty short stories traces the rot and ruins of a faltering society. The pains and betrayals captured in this compilation are mind boggling, yet Ifedigbo succeeds at sustaining humour, though dark, which gives his narratives an exhilarating edge. In all, this is a radiant outing; it bulges with promises.

– Unoma Azuah author of‘Sky-High Flames winner the ANA Flora Nwapa Prize for Fiction.

 

This writer…… definitely has a bright future.

– Myne Whitman author of A Heart to Mend. 

 

Ifedigbo is a voice you’ve heard knocking on the door for a while now. With this collection, this young man–astute, confident and playful–breaks open this door to our hearts, to our souls, to our ears. Read his work–from the irreverent montage of the famous TV game show, to the surreal street with crazy neighbours–and see why the world takes notice, and see why the pundits ask, “What’s in the water in Nigeria? Where do all the stories come from?”

– Eghosa Imasuen author of To Saint Patrick, Fine Boys. 

 

I came away from reading the twenty stories from Sylva Nze Ifedigbo’s collection, The Funeral Didn’t End, convinced that here was an author willing to step out from under the immense shadow of Achebe and Soyinka to reveal a confident, cosmopolitan Nigeria, a nation ready and eager to take its place on the world stage… Ifedigbo’s ambition equals that of this rapidly urbanising country, his stories ranging from Presidential State Houses to muddy village huts, and offering a strong sense of time, place, and a distinctly Nigerian outlook on life… He knows the ultimate futility of a bomb, but respects its ability to shake the complacent from their slumber. Murders, hardship, assassinations, poverty, the crippling corruption of a nation strong enough to impose its will but not powerful enough to completely suppress dissent  – these are the topics ofThe Funeral Did Not End, a collection willing to gaze into the stern face of power and spit in its eye.

– Damian Kelleher Australian writer and literary critic.

 

Wondering why The Funeral Did Not End? We’re not telling till the 15th of September….see you at Freedom Park!.

 

 

 “With support from the Federal Government of Nigeria’s YouWiN! Programme”.

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September 9, 2012 · 1:13 pm

DADA books gives out 100 free book downloads from 29th May – 16th June!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Yaaay! It’s a public holiday, and what better way to enjoy it than to catch up with some reading. DADA books is in the mood to celebrate this summer, and we’re starting off today- Democracy Day, by celebrating the freedom to read.

With the help of our amazing friends at Wayne and Malcolm, we’re giving out 100 free downloads of Ayodele Arigbabu’s short story collection- A Fistful of Tales at http://www.takada.com.ng from now till the 16th of June.

A Fistful of Tales features well paced tales with urbane sensibilities. It’s an un-put-down-able fun read that fuses science fiction, pop culture and the bizarre with a literary voice. The book came 3rd for the Cyprian Ekwensi Prize for Short Stories at the 2010 Abuja Writers Forum Literary Contest and was commended by the judging panel for the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2010 – Africa Region.

So get your reading groove on, visit http://www.takada.com.ng, install the app (currently only available for windows), download A Fistful of Tales by Ayodele Arigbabu and have fun while reading. Hurry! Limited free downloads available!

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Under Construction with Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

– By Fred Nwonwu

 

Writing has its forgettable aspects – such as those misspelt words, grammar misses and all other unsavoury word smears that make even the best of us want to crawl and hide our head in shame. But then, only those with experience can ever begin to equate the joy that races through a writer’s blood at the sight of his/her words in print, open and accessible to public view.

This feeling, I know from experience, can be exhilarating when one’s story – which to a writer is akin to a progeny, and is at times treated with the copious protectiveness a mother bestows upon a child – appears in a journal – online or print, it does not matter. However, those who have experienced it, say this feeling is multiplied a thousand times when you hold in your hands, for the first time, a bound copy of your sweat and anguish, personified by a work of literature, and gets suffused by the smell of gum on fleshly minted paper.

Perhaps it is a feeling similar to this that a writer friend, Sylva Nze Ifedigbo, felt a few days ago when he was given the first copy of his soon to be released collection of short stories “The Funeral did not End” at CORA House, venue of what was to be his first reading from the book.

Attending Sylva Ifedigbo’s first reading was a very personal decision for me, since I consider the writer a friend and colleague. I first took notice of Sylva, who I prefer to call by his somehow apt native name, Nze, online about two years ago. Like many aspiring writers of this generation, Sylva was making use of the available online portals to publish his literary efforts. I first noticed his politically charged articles in Nigeria Village Square and Sahara reporters, before I started seeing his short stories here and there……(read full story here: http://www.naijastories.com/2011/08/under-construction-with-sylva-nze-ifedigbo/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NaijaStories+%28Naija+Stories%29)

Culled from: www.naijastories.com

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visit the DADA books bloGazine today @ www.dadabooks.com

Have you read Fred Nwonwu’s chilling short story- ‘Footsteps in the Hallway’ on the DADA books bloGazine?

Visit: http://dadabooks.com/apps/blog​/show/6998001-footsteps-in-the​-hallway

Read a story today, post a story today!

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Jumoke Verissimo reads from works in progress

Odia Ofeimun’s blurb on the back of Jumoke Verissimo’s poetry collection: I am memory says- This Poet will travel. Jumoke has indeed travelled with her poetry and the reputation of that first book has preceded her on many of those trips.

So now we are asking, since 2008 when ‘I am memory’ was published, what have you been up to, Miss Verissimo? Join us for an afternoon of readings from works in progress (novels, poems, short fiction) by this personable poet. You really have to tell some one about this, cuz it’s gonna be fun!

Date: Saturday 16th July 2011
Time: 3pm – 6pm
Venue: DADA stores, 1st flr. 95 Bode Thomas Str. Surulere, Lagos.

Entry is free.

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Guess who’s loving DADA books

Sola Alamutu, CEO, Children And The Environment (CATE)

Sola Alamutu, CEO, Children And The Environment (CATE) with a copy of Ruby Igwe's The Land of Kalamandahoo

It was Sola Alamutu’s Birthday on the 28th of April and being a great friend of DADA books, we’re making hers the face of the week. Look out for who else is loving DADA books in the coming weeks or have a quick preview at www.dadabooks.com!

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At SALF, literature from South Asia meets the world.

By Adenike Fagade

When members of DADA books made an appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival held from January 21-25, 2010 in India, it was in a bid to establish and build meaningful relationships with counterparts in the Indian book industry. The publishing house was again been given another opportunity to court the Asian book market as one of its authors- Onyeka Nwelue, author of The Abyssinian Boy, was invited to the 2010 DSC South Asian Literature Festival (SALF). The SALF is scheduled to hold from 15-25 October in London and from 26-31 October in the rest of UK. Nwelue whose debut novel has won literary awards and has been feted in India and Hong Kong in the past, was scheduled to feature at two readings during the duration of the literature festival, interfacing with renowned authors, poets, and artists deepening the connection between the publishing industry in Nigeria and that in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and UK.

Onyeka Nwelue, Amit Chaudhuri and Nike Fagade

DSC Limited, sponsors of both the Jaipur Literary Festival and the South Asian Literature Festival, is an international infrastructure company based in India and is known for its various projects aimed at creating infrastructure wealth- infrawealth. The company however, identified that the promotion of literature helps build the character of society, just as its infrastructure projects help create the infrawealth of the nation. So for the past five years, the company has been the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival. During this period, the event has grown to become the largest literary event of its kind in the region. It is in its endeavour to further strengthen its association with South Asian Literature that DSC Limited is now sponsoring the DSC South Asian Literature Festival. Seeing the growing interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in the UK, DSC is sponsoring the event as a critical step towards extending the company’s patronage of literature to a global platform.

The South Asian Literature Festival is a premier festival in Britain showcasing the diverse literary and cultural traditions of the South Asian region. The Festival has been envisioned to imaginatively combine South Asian literature with various other disciplines and art forms, including journalism, dance, visual art and music to explore the social, political and cultural issues that are shaping today’s world. Confirmed participants to the SALF include eminent personalities in the literary and cultural fraternity including Fatima Bhutto, Amit Chaudhuri, Lord Meghnad Desai, Farrukh Dhondy, Romesh Gunesekera, Mohammed Hanif, Nayantara Sahgal, Michael Wood etc.

Supporting the SALF is the first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature with US$ 50,000 prize money in celebration of the rich and varied world of literature belonging to the South Asian region. Fourteen longlist entries have been selected from an eclectic mix of writers who are expected to dominate the literary scene of South Asia in the years to come. The Longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature comprises:

v      Upamanyu Chatterjee: Way To Go  (Penguin),

v      Amit Chaudhuri: The Immortals (Picador India),

v      Chandrahas Choudhury: Arzee the Dwarf (HarperCollins),

v      Musharraf Ali Farooqui: The Story of a Widow (Picador India),

v      Ru Freeman: A Disobedient Girl  (Penguin/ Viking),

v      Anjum Hassan: Neti Neti (IndiaInk/ Roli Books),

v      Tania James: Atlas of Unknowns (Pocket Books),

v      Manju Kapur: The Immigrant (Faber & Faber),

v      HM Naqvi: Home Boy (HarperCollins),

v      Salma: The Hour Past Midnight (Zubaan, translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom),

v      Sankar: The Middleman (Penguin, translated by Arunava Sinha),

v      Ali Sethi: The Wish Maker (Penguin),

v      Jaspreet Singh: Chef (Bloomsbury),

v      Aatish Taseer: The Temple Goers (Picador India).

A jury made up of internationally acclaimed literary figures- Lord Matthew Evans, Ian Jack, Amitava Kumar, Moni Mohsin, and Nilanjana S Roy (Chairperson), will deliberate on the Longlist and then go on to announce 5 selected works as the Shortlist at the DSC South Asian Literature Festival in UK at the end of October. The winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be declared at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2011. The prize will be awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in English, including translations into English.

Unfortunately, Onyeka was not granted a UK Visa for the purpose of the festival, however, DADA books wish the organisers of SALF a successful outing this year and look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.

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