Well, I was meant to have put this up a long time ago but I forgot to… So, here is me sending my very brief post…dated 13th July, 2018…
It is always fun when you have the crazy people I have in my literary circles – and that includes a whole squad. Well, the good folk at Thoughts Pyramid Art Centre gave us a platform to have literary fun. And boy, did we enjoy ourselves.
So, it was fun times on Thursday 12th July, 2018 as we had a reading or more of a think session with Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (aka KIS) winner of the 2018 GT Bank Dusty Manuscript Prize (with his Devil’s Pawn, which was shortlisted for the Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Prose 2017) and Yunike Karmila Dewi (who was shortlisted for the same prize with her Home to the Hill manuscript), who was shortlisted for same prize. Salamatu Sule convened the gathering and was my co-host for the evening.
I arrived the event after a serious wardrobe malfunction. I had taken a cab to the venue and midway my cab man decided that I should alight since the amount we had agreed on was no longer okay for him. I tried to go down and cross the road to the other side and lo and behold, my bamn jeans decided to tear from the middle of the buttocks part to the front. How does that work?!! Well, in the end, I had to go back to the cab man with my emergency, accept his terms and head to a shop where I bought a new pair of jeans, unbudgeted! I got the venue and rushed to the toilet to change while I am sure everyone would have been thinking that the kind of shit that was holding me was from hell fire… Oh well. Wetin consign me? So that I will sit in front of everyone and be showing them property that is for one Doctor… Any way, back to the event…
It is known that KIS’s manuscript is about nine years old. What several people don’t know, which he told us then, is that when he had completed the manuscript he had sent it to Farafina Publishers who had declined the book. He had kept cleaning it each year till it won the Farafina award.
So, we spoke about the journey of the book. It was easy for me to moderate on that since I have been privy to most of the development and history of the manuscript. He had even wanted to send me the work to look at again before he sent it in for the competition and it won. The same book had been runner-up for the Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Prose the previous year. Yes, I was there with KIS on that night in Makurdi at the ANA convention when we picked his certificate. KIS told stories behind the tale, of perseverance, of faith, belief and just going on, while hoping for the best.
Yunike told us of her manuscript and her fascination with the fantastic. She read excerpts from her work, Home to the Hills. She mentioned that she wasn’t used to official writerly things and we were the ones unveiling her to the public for the first time. We spoke on and it was nice to see her answer questions from us, as well as the audience.
We discussed a lot of things at that event and TJ – or was it David – said a lot goes unrecorded in our country. Some of the finest conversations. I thought of this too, shaking my head sadly at the various jewels we have that fade into shadows. Wither to the air, never to be remembered or kept in a corner of the minds of the few who were there… Well, this is my effort at ensuring that at least a snapshot of the event is remembered…
We had amazing people like the multiple award winning multi-genred writer and actor, R. C. Ofodile; my sister Alheri Dee-dee Loma-Osinuga; my brothers David Ishaya Osu, TJ Benson and Oko Owi Ocho Afrika, Silas Audu Onyilo, among others, at the event.
We really should meet up more and just parley up… Not just the formal meetings but the informal ones. Yeah. But to end the post… When we were through, I drove home with KIS, TJ and Afrika. We spoke about a lot of things and it left me smiling. There’s great hope for poetry and literature in Nigeria. I believe it.
The times will smile for us all. I know. It will.
2019 and the year has sure taken us a long way as everyone at that event have added feathers to their cap. Here is a toast to TJ Benson whose debut collection, We won’t fade into darkness was published late last year to great appeal. He is doing tours everywhere! That man is a superstar. David Ishaya Osu is pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Kent. Everyone else has loads of things happening for them but let me not bore you…
May this year smile for us all.