at the last moment (we would find the warmth)
tormenting tides would wane
the storms shall cease
the floods finally fade
our rainbow would spread…
however sleep fared
life’s dream would kiss you
as the rays bless more
wake to stimulating smiles
come to the hearth then
the ghost would have found fires
and the spirit would’ve warmed our homes
no holes then dear, we would have a long lasting laugh. amen.
(From Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile – Joint Winner Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize 2014)
No matter where you are, hang on to hope, smile. In our deepest despair, the bleakest night, there come’s a light to repair it all and make it worth the wait. Have faith. Merry Christmas guys- and lovely ladies. SVA
He met Adoo long ago, a stunning beauty: petite but full in every other office. Hers was a chocolate dark skin that shone through any season; glistening and moist. She had the most beautiful set of legs seen anywhere, complemented by a full back and perfect waist. An ample bosom that showcased a full chest and an endearing heart followed up and ended in a most rounded ever smiling face that delighted the weariest of souls. She also had a heart of such endless depths to match. Yes, Adoo was all of this and so much more. He—Ngusha—was not the beast, either. Well, not in any deformity. He was a hunk with a height to compensate for hers, and strength to show for her every frailty. He shared her complete smile and perfect denture in a remarkable face that brought older and younger opposites to obeisance. They seemed to complete each other, as everyone said. Nature seemed to agree for a rough wind always seemed to mellow to a loving whisper at their sight. It seemed a union made in heaven, as indeed they made it.
You should watch ‘Collateral Beauty’ starring Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris and Jacob Latimore.
If those names are not enough – or mean nothing to you – you should go for the story. I think that the movie is quite underrated, I think so mainly because I have not seen so many people talk about it. Maybe they did. Maybe it was just not in my space.
The idea of the movie is anchored on the three abstractions that bind us all – Love, Time, Death. A man loses his daughter and his life falls apart. He becomes a zombie and his company suffers. Somehow, he gets to be visited by these abstractions who he has written letters to while trying to make peace with his past. He basically has to reunite with time, not being stuck while coming to terms with death as he must rediscover love. While all this is happening, while our lead character is coming to terms with this, there are subplots on life, living, caring, sharing and a lot more to leave you thinking deep about what really matters in life.
The 2020 K and L prize is now receiving short stories on the theme, Africanfuturism. The prize money is $1,000 (New Zealand dollars) while the deadline is 1st December 2019. You have to be 18 to 25 years old to be eligible and submit a story of about 2000 words in Microsoft word format to email@example.com with the subject: 2020 K & L Prize.
I was talking only yesterday night to Jennifer and Onyinye about plagiarism and how it is the fastest route to be deported in civilised societies. Walahi, if you want to return to your country and you don’t have transport, let me give you free advice and you can thank me later: plagiarise and ensure you get caught. The only thing I will add to that one is that no (reputable) university in the western world would look at your application to study, teach or affiliated with them in any capacity. Except maybe as a cleaner or one of those other odd positions. Well, that one too na job, no be so? Na you know.
Anyways, this morning here we are and my dear uncle/friend/biggest brother Chuma has one more tale for the road: of plagiarism of a high order. Haba na, some people should borrow sense small. So, the gist is that a certain new movie, MR PRESIDENT written and directed by BRIGHT WONDER plagiarised Chuma’s short story, ‘The Ten Commandments of Nigerian Politics.’ In Africa, people’s names often portend their future or somehow they get to live lives similar to their names directly or indirectly… Walahi, this oga is a bright wonder! And to think that Chuma has been advocating the #BribeCode project which seeks to end grand corruption while there is grand corruption playing ten-ten in his backyard.
(Being the text of a talk delivered at Sussex Nigerian Society’s Black History Month event at the University of Sussex on Wednesday, October 10, 2019)
One of the things I remember while growing up in Ìbàdàn was that almost every technological item in the house was made in China. I knew this because it was written there: “Made in China.” It was hard to avoid. You just needed to look a bit under the item, or around it, and the sign was there: “Made in China.” I know this hasn’t changed as much today because a couple of weeks ago, my son, who is now almost six, asked me, “Is everything made in China?” He must have been observing too.
But it was not just electronic items that I associated with a particular place. I remember the razor blades we used — probably the same ones we still use in Nigeria — were made in Czechoslovakia. Well now, the country no longer exists, so it will now likely be written as “Made in Czech Republic”, but the association persisted long enough in my mind that I could not associate razor blades with any other place than Czechoslovakia, a country I could not place on the map, nor even properly spell if not for the razor blade.
O the Just Judge, master of these semiconducting troglodytes, O the master of cockroaches and rats, the maker of penises that’d Only sleep in a cold, unripened hearth of immature girls O the sculptor of death whose buttocks are blacker than the Haramist flag, master of my mother’s gasp, the dexterous planner of her fragile eyes
Ake Review, the official magazine of the Ake Festival which is one of Africa’s biggest literary festivals has made a call for submission for its 2019 edition and the deadline is in six days time (8th July 2019)! Oh, sorry, that is actually five days time! Ahhhhh!
I should mention that I had my poem submitted in the last edition and was pleasantly surprised when Bright Nwachukwu – a brother I made at the Benue Book and Arts Festival #BBAAF I curated – showed me the print copy of Ake Review 2018 that had not just my poem but a French translation beside it! Wawu!
The theme for this year’s festival and 7th Ake edition is: Black Bodies, Grey Matter. So, what does that mean? Ake needs creative works that interrogate the link between the mental and the physical, and explore specific phenomena such as scarification, body image, tattoos, stereotyping, gender nonconformity, colourism, and issues around mental health within an African context. Easy, right?
A total of 370 poems, 110 short stories, eleven creative non-fiction pieces and one poem for the secondary school category were entered for the SEVHAGE Literary Prizes 2019 competition. The judges had to take more time to ensure that they selected only the best in the different categories. Because only one entry was entered for the students category of the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize, it has regretfully been suspended for this year. An on-the-spot poetry competition for secondary school students will take place on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 at the J. S. Tarka Foundation by 9am.
Below are two comments from the poetry judges:
There was an electric response to our call for submission for the BBAF-organized poetry prize, containing poems that are an archive of joy, memory and resilience of the human spirit and endeavour. We were genuinely shocked by the possibilities of power, risk and surprise in the shortlisted…
As part of our Benue Book and Arts Festival in Makurdi on June 20 to 22, 2019:
THREE WORKSHOPS – And you can apply for any or ALL of them!
1. If you are interested in any of the writing workshops (Fiction with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; Spoken Word with Efe Paul Azino; Poetry with Chuma Nwokolo), kindly send us an email saying why you would want to attend the workshop and then a sample of your work (a piece of fiction not more than 2,000 words for the fiction workshop; a poem that is not longer than 40 lines for poetry; and an audio recording or video for the spoken word workshop) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindly ensure you have the subject written as ‘Interest for [Genre] Workshop.’ Don’t forget to include your name, your address and phone number. Those selected for the workshops will have to pay N2,000 for the workshop.