Brittle Paper Launches an African Fantasy Story Series! – and it is FREE to read and ENJOY!


So much excitement as Brittle Paper, premier blog and site for African tales launch a new story series…

The story is one of fantasy and is written by the crazy writer, Eugene Odogwu, who is also a graphic artist (aside: he has done amazing covers, I know this, because he is the official cover artist at SEVHAGE Publishers – a department under my unit. Hola in the comment box if you want us to hook you up on a cool cover… but back to his tale). The new tale series is titled

In The Shadows of Iyanibi, a fantastic tale that is sure to keep you glued to your phones and ipads.



In the Shadow of Iyanibi is a story about a brave and gifted girl named Ihumbi, who is swept up in a series of frightful encounters involving the search for a missing sister in a forest of deep, dark shadows.

The three-part tale follows the confrontation between young Ihumbi and Urunma—a forest-dwelling demigoddess always hungry for the souls of lost children. Urunma is a mother’s worst nightmare and a child’s greatest fear. Preying on a child’s desire for sweet and colorful things, she steals the souls of children lost in the forest and holds them in enchanted captivity.

The story vicariously transports you to the enchanting gloom of an old forest and a brave girl’s attempt to confront the ancient horror that lies deep within its shadows.

In the Shadow of Iyanibi is a richly-imagined and suspenseful tale of bravery and the steadfastness of a sister’s love.

It’s a three-part story, accompanied by custom illustrations, that will run over six weeks.

Monday the 12th of January is the date to save on your calendar so you don’t miss the first story. Yup, it was published and appears here

In a post on the blog, the curator, Ainehi Edoro talks about why they decided to put up the series:

One of the most talked-about projects we launched last year was Ayodele Olofintuade’s Adunni, an original Brittle Paper story series featuring custom images made by NYC-based Nigerian artist, Laolu Sebanjo.

Seeing that we received such positive response from readers, we have been working hard to release more series.

We are happy to announce that three story series have been slated for 2015, the first of which is Eugene Odogwu’s (see more here).

I had cause to work with Eugene on the story and I think it is nice – but that is my opinion. You have the chance to read through and get yours. If you love something African different from the usual Chimamanda Adichies, Su’eddie Agemas (ooops! Did I write that?!), Achebes, amu nnadi’s, Ekwuazis and the like, then this would make for some change.

So, it is back to waiting for January 26th to read the new one… So, meanwhile… Back to writing something regular 🙂


Why Su’eddie Vershima Agema Tells the Tales One Shouldn’t Tell in Bring our Casket Home… (An Essay) By Joshua Agbo


 Book Title: BRING OUR CASKET HOME: Tales one shouldn’t tell
Long list of Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Poetry 2013
Long list of Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Poetry 2013

Author: Su’eddie Vershima Agema
Publisher: Sevhage
Pagination: 83
Date of publication: 2012



Poetry being one of the vestals of art, punches the human brain hard in every attempt to study and to analyse it. But here is a volume of poetry made simple by Su’eddie Vershima Agema. It is rendered not in mystical language but in the vivid lexicon of poetics. Su’eddie makes the writing of modern poetry as easy as drinking glass of water. It is a supreme act of imagination and intelligence, the restoration of lost stories. This collection saves us of the danger inherent in the loss of tales and the longing for them elsewhere. This might quench our immediate thirst for why Su’eddie tells the tales one shouldn’t tell but it is not enough. Further exploration might  pose some helpful assumptions such as: it is either that the tales are bizarre to tell or they are too shameful to hear or a skillful artistry is required to tell them or rather an uncommon courage of a die – hard scribbler like Su’eddie’s is needed to narrate them in a grand style.

Whatever is the case and drifting away from the assumptions, this volume, however, reads ultimately as both testimony and injunction as it brings to the fore, an abiding sense of grief and disappointment. The tales powerfully show the weighting of life; the heaviness of heart. Su’eddie makes no mistakes in excavating the wounds of the past; a living manifestation of the catastrophe that was actually our past. This is an exclusive job of the ancient sage but the water needn’t be clean to quench a fire hence, Su’eddie needn’t the grey hair of the ancient sage or raconteur to weave his tales or connect to the wisdom of the old. This immediately makes him grow from a child – poet to an eminent poet of our time. We would have been stranded, no doubt, if not for Su’eddie’s courage and imaginative power to tell the tales one shouldn’t tell and also in the grand eloquent manner which he renders them. It is only when you are stranded in your own stories that you need a romance of origin. Remember, this ‘romance of origin,’ the longing to return to the old ways as a result of rupture or dislocation, is always the last resort of the defeated. This is typically justified in the lines below:

It comes to that day when we must all eternal dues pay

If that hour when we lose our way and don’t make it chimes today

Whether we fall in lands far as Rome

Please bring our casket home…

To join the pages of our ancestral tome (28).

It is sad that our defeat is marked even from the title: Bring our Casket Home… and as a shame, it becomes a tale one shouldn’t tell. The casket carries the remains of the defeated, lying idly silently in their lifeless bodies. Return is what one holds onto after he has been taken away from the origin lost. The promise of return is all that remains in the wake of exile. Come to think of it, why should we demand the dead bones to be returned when we know they can’t make any meaningful contribution to their original homeland? This ilk of return is absolutely not needed and we have no case to answer. However, the above lines in several ways, bear resemblance with other travel or emigrationist writings like, Harlem Sweeties (poem) by Langston Hughs and A Raisin in the Sun (play) by Lorraine Hansberry. The casket reminds us of a pain – filled memory, never to varnish. This totalizing claim is yet again evident in one of the poems entitled,Grave:

Where do our dreams go? In what transit [sic]

Do they jump out leaving us?

Does the reality of now

Indeed our dreams drown?

Do they stay with us

a strong force

telling of destinations unreached

in aging aches decaying (7)?


What is it that we are still in this quagmire of existence? Dreams never reached until we return in our lifeless bodies. In as much as stories open new possibilities of being, this kind of story cannot make our being hence shouldn’t be told. This is one layer that partly explains why the title reads: … Tales One Shouldn’t Tell. The poet, not a child of any race or nationality but an umpire of truth; tells the tales from an unbiased vintage point, however bitter they are.

There is another flip side of the above narrative that offers some shimmering light of hope and triumph. This gives us the balance scale of life as a marriage of sorrow and joy.

The sun is our smile

The moon our laughter


Our brother… (40).


In closing, no one goes to the river early in the morning to fetch dirty water; it must be clean water. Therefore, I encourage everyone to go for his copy as I declare this volume an all – time collection of poetry before it becomes too distilled by avid reviewers. It is still fresh and sweet like the palm wine. We know the palm wine tastes better while the yeast still bubbles.


However, no one needs to be told to discard the pot that can no longer boil water but as part of the job of the reviewer, I suggest that the grey areas in this present volume be looked at in the subsequent editions to make it retain the all – time relevance it has set out to achieve amidst several collections of poetry. Finally, we do not require either Fagg or Leo Frobenius or Ruth Finnegan or Benedict Anderson or even Frank Willet to tell us that this is fine a poetry. We know and indeed, it is.



Joshua Agboplaywright and literary scholar is the author of How Africans Developed Africa: A Forgotten Truth in History and the play, Beyond the Dark Clouds. He is a lecturer at the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Benue State University, Makurdi. He can be reached at his blog or via email at Joshua



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ANA 2013 Prizes: Longlist ANNOUNCED!!!


The following creative works are long listed for the 2013 literary prizes. They are longlisted in alphabetical order (by titles of entries) and not necessarily in order of merit. There will be a shortlist, which will be announced on the 14th of October, 2013. The eventual winners will be announced at the Award Dinner of the 32nd International Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Akure, Ondo State.


ANA/Prose Fiction Prize

A Myth and a Season by Ifeanyi Afuba

Cat Eyes by Pever X

Life Afresh by Aliyu Kamal

Lost in the Wind by Theophilus Abbah

Tamara by Ikechukwu E. Asika

The Gods Are Blind by Chinazo Bertrand O.

The Spectacle by Osundu Ugwuagbo

Thy Kingdom Come by Ude Ikpenwa

Urichendere by Dike-Ogu Chukwmerije


ANA/Chevron Prose Prize on Environmental Issues



ANA/Poetry Prize

Bring Our Casket Home by Su’eddie V. Agema

From the Margins of Paradise by Musa Idris Okpanachi

In The Wings of Waiting by Ikeogu Oke

Length of Eyes by Obari Gomba

Princess of the Harmattan by Seyi Adigun

On My Way to Azure Shores by Dike-Ogu Chukwumerije

Shadows of the Setting Sun by Ebi Yeibo

Striking the Strings by Umar Abubakar Sidi

Symphony of Becoming by Iquo Eke

The Flight and Other Poems by Ismail Bala

Through the Window of a Sand Castle by Amu Nnadi Chijioke


ANA/Drama Prize

Embrace of a Leper by Isaac Attah Ogezi

Beyond the Dark Clouds by Joshua Agbo

Shadows on Arrival by Osita C. Ezenwanebe

The Playthings of War by Opeyemi Dedayo

Oduduwa by Jude Idada


ANA/NICO Prize for Short Stories



ANA/Esiaba Irobi Prize for Playwriting (Shortlist)

Coma by Jude Idada

Under a Darkling Sky by Isaac A. Ogezi


The following creative works are short listed for the 2013 literary prizes. They are short listed in no particular order. The eventual winners will be announced at the Award Dinner of the 32nd International Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Akure, Ondo State.


ANA/Lantern Prize for Children Fiction (Shortlist)

My Father’s Advice by Nze N. Uze

The Lost Beach by Patience Ezinwoke

He who laughs last by Emmanuelle Onwe


ANA/Mazariya Teen Author Prize for Poetry

Petals of Words by Victoria T. Ifeolu

Hidden Truth by Motunrayo Olajubu



Maria Ajima

Prof. Emmanuel Sule Egya

Dr. Sahilu Moh’d Bappa

Sarpong Asiedu

Chiedu Ezeanah


source: ANA-Nigeria Website

– See more at:



Silverbird Lifestyle Store, 2013 10th May

It was the Open Mic session of the Abuja Literary Society and yup, I had to be there. First people I noticed coming in were ElNathan John and Dike Chukwumerije. Okay, this was going to be fun. Usual hi’s to friends and acquaintances and I got to my seat. Smiling. This was going to be fun. The last time I had been at any ALS event was with Chuma Nwokolo Jnr when he had had his reading. That had proved a most entertaining evening.

After some time we got started with general introductions. I noticed immediately that there were lots of fine voices – trust me to catch that. Also noticed that there was this fine lady beside me who said something about being here in the country for one thing or the other. The MC (the Bookman) started the discussion session. We settled to discuss the topic ‘Excessive Force of the Military in Fighting Boko Haram‘. The talk went far beyond that o… Of course, I wouldn’t be boring you with that, so cool! I can only say that if you want a deep flow on the topic, you can still make out time (if you are in Abuja) to come for the ALS open mic session on 14th June 2013, same venue. We were promised that military experts would come to give their thoughts too so that we don’t keep moving about with our professionally unprofessional analysis… Hee hee hee. Oh well.

The performances started with two performance poets, Alfa and Bolaji who read ‘Black Gold Biva’ and ‘My Pain’ respectively. They were well received with little admonition on how to make their art better. Bolaji was notably more impressive in his ending than start. He seemed to be a poet who gathered air with time. He introduced his poem by saying ‘He was a virgin’… Okay… Now, he stopped there. Had some of us wondering the virginity angle he was coming from: metaphoric? Unlearned in the art of eating the bearded meat? As a performer? 😉 Oh well. Except for some ugly cliches here and there, his delivery was good:

‘Once I befriended fantasy
It was beautiful but I met reality
she defied me and became my pain

pain is gain/no pain no gain
so I rise from this cold floor stronger
to pick my gain’

Next, Azeezat read a short story ‘Apprehension’, set in a town near similar to Jos. Well, Jos came to mind. It was about someone running in a time of crisis, hiding, noticing evils and falling… First draft. Most of us agreed that it could have been better. Adeyemi read ‘Cheeter‘s buzz’, a poem which some people had some time fitting into the right genre. He wasn’t conversant with the poem and it could have been written better, and performed more beautifully. I have a feeling there’s more to that particular piece… Removing some forced rhymes, overt biblical allusions that were plain and the like. Elnathan John commented of the poem that the poet took the name of the Lord in vain! Hee hee hee. Oh well. Enough said.

I read a poem next, ‘Life’. Taken from Bring our casket home, a 9 lined poem that ends (minus one line) thus:

I stayed an eternity with you
But just as my heart counted a second
The night rolled its mat

Before the audience or I knew it, I was sitting again. Wow! Felt good reading that. Some people mentioned that I should join the slammers (performance Kings). I smiled. Well, compliments that would leave anyone fulfilled. The reading continued. A hip-hop poetic performer, Ogo, read ‘Pure’. The banker rhymed on like Jay Z and not a few ladies made catcalls… Na wa o! I need to learn some romantic rhymes too!

The Musicians took over. Afolabi and Isaac came on stage. Isaac was on the guitar, while Afolabi breathed lyrics into the air that had me change my camera from still shots to video mode. The song was ‘Trueness’ and the rendition truly from the soul. It came out lovely. Some people noted that Afolabi held back and could have done better. Left a few people behind me and myself too wondering what they meant… This guy was sooooo it. Wow! You should have heard him. It was fluid and to think it was without effects or anything? C’mon!!

A lady, Kelechi read ‘Sweet Seeder’ (a story/article/narrative/instruction). Suggested that she work on making it one. Material there but too undefined. There was a poem read by Banji and Egbuche Pope read a long undefined piece too, titled ‘Its 4pm’. He was told to rework it. There was a short story read by … Another musical presentation was done by Afolabi and three other friends. Hmm. Need I say more? I respect the guy jare!

The final presentation was a lovely poem ‘Battlefields of the Mind’ written by Busola Sosannya. For some reason she didn’t perform it (shyness abi? 🙂 )… It was performed by ace performer, Dike Chukwumerije. As it moved to closing, I remembered our Makurdi ‘Purple Silver’ group hosted by Anselm Ngutsav. Miss those readings…

It was real late, some long minutes past 21:00hrs or was it closer to 22:00? Several of the people had left. There were talks, catching up and making of new acquaintances. I did some on the spot editing of Busola’s poem and asked a few questions of why the poet had not performed her piece. Lots of more talk and in the end, there was a walk…

Ask me not where to… 😉

Meanwhile, there was a journey of some two hours to get to. Home called and more activities. Oh well.

Abuja Literary Society


ABSENCE (A poem) by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

At certain moments I clutch at the physical
but catch space
gone times beckoning
as memories become shadows
widows of better times
when touch was special…
when whispers were the essence
words now echoing on and on…
denying a presence…
(From the collection, BRING OUR CASKET HOME: Tales one shouldn’t tell 2012)