The Abuja Writers Forum continues with its Guest Writer Session on 24th November, 2018 at the Fountain Hall of Nanet Suites from 4pm to 7pm. The guests in focus for November are Madeline Agoba and Chiemezie Onqubalili. The session, which is open to the public, will feature entertaining readings, live music and a raffle-draw for books, amongst other fun literary stuff.
Madeline will be reading from her debut publication, Ahmadu Bello, which is mash of fiction and fact based on the life of the Saurdana Sokoto and first Premier of the Northern Region of Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello. I had spoken to her some time back and was impressed with what she had in mind on the project. We were talking to see if we could agree on terms for publishing the work but that did not work out. From what I believe, the book is researched, and a fusion of passion by someone who loves stories plus telling them. Madeline wants to ensure that history is not lost and that somehow people will embrace them through the medium of entertaining reenactment of the past. If you want to know more about the book or just want to have fun, you should come around to the AWF GWS.
Chiemezie Onwubalili, on the other hand, is an economist and prominent member of the Abuja Writers Forum. He started writing as a means of release after some personal crises. After some adventures including dumping a financial blog where he would advice on incredible investments while he barely had anything in his account, Chiemezie decided to go the route of simply telling tales. Sometimes, tall tales. He also resorted to building websites and building people, through the art of fiction. No cause for hypocrisy there, right? 🙂 He will be reading selected works of his at the AWF GWS November 2018.
The Abuja Writers’ Forum has remained consistent with their activities which include literary contests, readings, the Guest Writer Session, and so much more. The Abuja Writers’ Forum ‘Guest Writer Session’ takes place every last Saturday of the month at Nanet Suites from 4pm to 7pm. It is open to the general public and features sessions with readings from guest authors; music; questions and answers with the authors; and a raffle draw for fantastic prizes. The Forum also has critique sessions every Sunday except for the last Saturday of the week.
For more information on the event or on the Abuja Writers Forum, kindly contact Edith Yassin on 08092227705 or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit the website, http://www.abujawriters.com.
The Abuja Writers’ Forum, one of Nigeria’s premier literary organisation is set to host Dul Johnson, incredible writer, scholar and film maker alongside poet Jide Badmus and the sensational musician, Austine Oroko.
If you are in Abuja, do make out time to go to Nanet Suites (beside Bayelsa House, down the road from Federal Secretariat) by 4:00pm for an offering of this great event. SEVHAGE Author, Dul Johnson will be reading from his latest novel, ACROSS THE GULF, a book on the civil war written from a new angle as would leave readers intrigued. This is the third book of Dul’s we have worked on and one of his finest. We had an argument on it – considering he prefers DEEPER INTO THE NIGHT, which is more literary. In his office a month or so ago, I told him that ACROSS THE GULF was a finer read considering it is more entertaining, thrilling and grasping. Being the fine scholar he is, he prefers the one with more lessons.
‘Well, it isn’t as if THE GULF doesn’t have a lot of lessons. But can you imagine that I edited the book and kept smiling all through!’
It is like a continuation of part of the stories in SHADOWS AND ASHES. I am always glad when I come across new narratives, especially when they are engaging. Across the Gulf is a book like that and I think we set the bar with the production of that book’s cover. I will be uploading it soon. But let me not talk too much.
Dr. Emman Shehu has done a good job of consistently hosting writers and artistes every month to a thrilling reading where the public can interact, have fun and get a feel of good literature. I have been a beneficiary of the event – as an invited artiste and as a member of the audience. I think – I don’t think, I know – that it is a place worth going to. IF you can make out time to be there, it would sure be worth the hours.
Did I mention that there is usually great music, a conducive cool (AC chilled) environment, great gifts from raffle draws, amongst other amazing things? Don’t say I didn’t tell you…
For a limited time, Dul Johnson’s book will be selling for a thousand naira at the event. Don’t forget,
Saturday 29th April, 2017; 4:00pm; Nanet Suites. Be there or be square – or whatever they say.
In conclusion, here is the writeup for the event by Ibrahim Ramalan, for Blue Print newspaper… Do share:
The Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) will on Saturday host Jide Badmus, Dul Johnson and Austin (Aush) Oroko for the April 29th edition of its Guest Writer Session which holds at the Aso Hall, Nanet Suites, Central Business District, Abuja by 4pm.
According to a statement signed by the Forum’s scribe, Edith Yassin, in Abuja, one of the guests, Jide Badmus was born and bred in Ilorin, and hails from Omido in Irepodun LGA, Kwara State. The first of four children, he studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Ilorin and bagged a Master’s degree in Information Technology Management at Binary University, Malaysia. He is a practicing Electrical Engineer in building services.
Badmus has had a flair for creative writing as a child and started writing poetry in 2002. He has a wide range of collections on various themes and shares his short stories, critical opinions and poetry on his blog http://www.inkspiredng.com. Some of his works have been published in national dailies and online platforms.
His debut book collection,There Is A Storm In My Head, appeared this year on the imprint of Words Rhymes and Rhythm Ltd (WRR). The poems depict a storm of emotions as a result of life’s uncertainty, disparity between dreams and reality, and the thin line between love and lust. The author’s writing style is defined as simple and deep; his poems are usually brief and fast-paced, the readers are left out of breath and asking for more. He is inspired by nature and beauty.
Jide is married to a beautiful wife, Linda and has an adorable daughter, Nora. He is a Christian and a soccer lover; he is a Manchester United fan. Watching soccer, reading, writing and watching movies are his hobbies. He lives and writes from Lagos.
Dul Johnson is a filmmaker and author from Plateau State and currently lectures, as a Professor of Literature, at Bingham University, Karu. He began his career as a drama director with the Nigerian Television Authority, Jos, and worked for many years before retiring into Independent Filmmaking and teaching. He has won national and international awards with his films and dramas, including There is Nothing Wrong with my Uncle (a cultural documentary), The Widow’s Might (a feature film), Against the Grain, Wasting for the West, Basket of Water, and many others.
Johnson began writing in his undergraduate days, trying his hand at drama, poetry, journalistic writing and short stories. From the mid- to late 1970s he wrote plays for radio (Rima Radio, Sokoto) and for the stage – some of which were produced in his undergraduate days.
Johnson has published five major works: Shadows and Ashes, Why Women Won’t make it to Heaven (short story collections), Ugba Uye: The Living Legend (a biography), Deeper into the Night (a novel) and Melancholia (a play). The last two were presented to the public on 28 October 2014.
His latest publication, Across The Gulf, is a novel that explores loyalty,resilence, nationhood, love and tradition bridging two generations and an entire nation.
Austin Oroko hails from Utonkon, Benue State and is a graduate of the department of languages and Linguistics Nassararwa State University, Keffi. He speaks French and Italian as well as a little German.
Born in Lagos, he likes to describe himself as growing up all over the world with his six siblings as they accompanied their father, a former diplomat, on his official postings.
At the age of fifteen he started writing and singing his own songs with a dream to become a star that will influence the world through his music. Although he owned a keyboard when he was younger, it was his love for the guitar that caught his fancy and has become his mainstay as a performer.
Oroko has been on several notable platforms including AM Express, AIT,NTA Entertainment among others. He spent a lot of time listening and studying classical musicians and the likes of Tracy Chapman and Stevie Wonder who have had a deep influence on him.
His music can be classified as Indie rock with a touch of soul and has recently released a single, Oxygen,
The Guest Writer Session which also features a raffle-draw for books, runs from 4-7pm and is open to the public.
If you know anything about Abuja, then you know it is the new city of sin. Not so new. It has taken over from Lagos and all those other evil lands. Preachers have done their best but it seems there are a lot of people who are fighting the prophets… Have you heard about the church of Satan? There’s much happening in the capital city.
So, I came to Abuja but there are several people who know that already. I should blog about what has been happening since Sunday. The capital city is burning with activities and every day has been some day of book and book magana plus one religious this or that. Now, let’s talk about yesterday, Saturday 30th April 2016. It was the Abuja Writers’ Forum’s Guest Writer Session at Nanet Suites. The artistes of the day were Obinna Udenwe (author of Satans and Shaitans), Ishaya Bako, a film maker, and a musician, Austin Oroko. Yeah, Obinna was the Satan holder. Of course, you know that is what this piece is about, no?
The session started with a musical interlude – okay, maybe an opening – by Austin Oroko. Next, Obinna Udenwe read some pieces from his engaging thriller, Satans and Shaitans, which was joint prize winner for the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Prose Prize 2015. The book is about terrorism in Nigeria and shows a backstory of what might be happening – of collaborations between the most powerful and wealthy people in the country; Christians, Muslims and everyone else. All of them working to ensure that they maintain power and get stronger in their caprices. This book if looked at critically might be confused as the testament behind what has become Boko Haram today. Remember it is fiction though. Obinna hinted that when he wrote the book, people had mentioned that he would be killed. Well, he published the book in the United Kingdom in 2014 and Nigeria in 2015. Still, he was still alive.
Ishaya Bako took the next turn showing his twenty-minute movie, Henna. The movie is set in a typical Northern Nigerian environment. It is centred around Reina, a girl of puberty age who is meant to be given out in marriage to a Mallam, just a few days after seeing her first menses. Now, we are shown Reina is a very brilliant student. It becomes disturbing that her dreams would be cut short because tradition dictates she must submit to the whims of a husband. I was touched because when I served in Bantaje, a community in Taraba state, some years ago, I had some of my finest and most beautiful students just disappear from class. It is like, you just don’t see them again. Much later, you might find them in town or get the memo from someone – they are married. The end. Somewhere else, her friend Amina, dies after being married at a very early age. Ishaya’s narrative is engaging and he puts a twist to the tale that defies what would ordinarily happen in society. This was the second time AWF was hosting Ishaya. I was there at the first when he screened Fuelling Poverty, which I hear has been – or was – banned.
During the screening, Ishaya moved around, getting comments from members of the audience even as NTA interviewed him. Luckily, we didn’t say anything wrong or he would have caught us! Hee hee hee. Anyway, it was time for questions and answers.
Several questions were asked. Notably, Paul Liam challenged the love angle of Obinna’s narrative and said that the character, Donaldo, had not been properly developed and there weren’t pointers to what he eventually became – a murderer or so. Then, we were whispering, and the idea mainly from Paul Liam that there was a link between Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Obinna’s Satans and Shaitans was raised. There is this thing about the wicked Christian father who deals with the daughter in the two novels. In the case of the Obinna’s novel, the father is an Evangelist. Nana Sule, who sat beside me, was the one whose mouth we chewed the question into. The question was if it was possible that the author would have made a different person the wicked one, say the mother, or made his narrative markedly different from Chimamanda’s. Obinna replied that there was no way he could have done so because in Igboland, where he comes from, ‘fathers especially Christians like that are known to be the callous and wicked ones.’ Mothers are caring so there is no way he could have written it differently. Oh well. Now, we know that Igbo renowned Evangelists are all abusive and vicious. Thanks Obinna.
There were other questions thrown the way of Ishaya Bako the film maker and Austin Oroko – the Otong Kong smooth sounding musician. Oh, I should add that Nana Sule after asking Obinna the question above threw some words towards Austin: ‘I like – scratch that – I love your voice!’ Hmm, no be small blush o! Before the event started, he had passed by us in the restaurant and the girl had complimented his hat with a twinkle to her eye. We noticed the blush then, though I tried to cover up for my guy. So, the house went all rowdy at her ‘I love your voice’ compliment o. Dr Emman Shehu, our AWF President had to hold Austin’s head down so that it wouldn’t swell too much and blow.
There was a raffle draw for books to be won. Almost all of my people from Aidee Erhime to TJ Benson [who was shortlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Prize, Fiction Category], Nurudeen Temitayo [publisher of AMAB books who published the Nigerian version of Satans and Shaitans] Nana Sule…won. Halima Aliyu was the only one who didn’t win o. Halima is the Lead Editor at AMAB, the author of Fire on the Tip of Ice (a collection of short stories) and a brilliant mind. We sat together through the event – did I say that before? I was touched when a father brought his son, Favour, to me to sign Home Equals Holes for. I pray more parents would expose their children to such forums early enough.
It was soon time to head out after taking pictures and all those good stuff of chatting, yabbing and all. I tried to convince two new acquaintances, Aisha and Hadiza Obi to follow their thoughts to join AWF. I hope they will.
Did I mention some of the other guests that attended the event? Okay, there was Abubakar Adam Ibrahim [award winning author of Whispering Trees and A Season of Crimson Blossoms], Emma Shercliff, the fine critic Mike Ekunno, Dr. Abigail, Amina Aboje, the Galadima of Lokoja, Hajo Isa…amongst others. The AWF Guest Writer Session holds every last Saturday of the month at Nanet Suites, Central Area, Abuja while they have critique sessions every
other Sunday in the month but the last at Terazzo Lounge, Port Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street in Area 11, Garki Abuja. 4pm prompt for all events. Hola if you need any more info or if you want to register into the forum. Anyways… back to that Saturday night…yesterday.
I got my stuff and took a walk with three friends – Laolu was one. The literary discussion had only begun. But let me not bore you too much. There’s so much to be discussed on the literary scene and new narratives to be written with others meant to be rewritten. I only hope we are courageous enough and get the platform to engage meaningfully.
Now, are you in Abuja this Friday (25th) and on Saturday (26th)? Well, are you looking for a place to chill out on Friday and/or Saturday evening(s)? Better still, are you a literary enthusiast in any form?
Now, whether your answer is YES or NO, you are in luck!
The Silverbird in collaboration with Abuja Literary Society Book Jam and Abuja Writers’ Forum’s Guest Writer Session are taking place this weekend! The venues and timing are as follows:
Silverbird Abuja Literary Society Book Jam
Venue: Lifestyle Stores, Silverbird Galleria, Central Area, Abuja
Date: Friday 25th October 2013 (and every last Friday of every month)
Time: 19:00hrs – 7pm.
Abuja Writers’ Forum’s Guest Writers’ Session Venue: Nanet Suites, Beside Federal Secretariat, Central Area, Abuja
Date: Saturday 26th October 2013 (and every last Saturday of every month)
Time: 16:00hrs – 4pm,
THE SILVERBIRD/ABUJA LITERARY SOCIETY BOOK JAM
The Book Jam is an evening event that take place at the exclusive Lifestyle Stores of the Silverbird Galleria, one of Abuja’s hottest hang-out spot. The Galleria is beside the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre which is adjacent the Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers (Just saying!) You can check out the last BookJam here…
The event is usually compered by Jide Atta, and of recent, different established poets/writers notably Reward Nsirim (author of Fresh Air and other short stories), master performance poet, Dike Chukwumerije; and yup, I had cause to be host on an occasion or two. In addition to the lovely writers they usually bring and the beautiful environment, other attractions include winning cinema tickets to watch any movie of your choice at the Silverbird Cinema. How? There are several ways and the different hosts do it differently depending on how many tickets are up for grabs. Compulsorily though, there’s usually a raffle for those who bought books of the guest writers. You could win from coming early – be among the first three; winning one of the small writing challenges and the like. The audience is usually a mixture of celebrities and writers including Eddie Iroh, Kabura Zakama, Chinyere Obi-Obasi and expatriates e.t.c. The Book Jam has featured writers/personalities like Mrs. Eugenia Abu, Nze Sylva Ifedigbo, Reward Nsirim, Iquo Diana Abasi, Olugbemiga Ojo, Nnamdi Eboh, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Caine Prize Shortlist 2013) and the like.
This October session has on the menu, one of the top three finalists of the 2013 NLNG Prize for Literature Amu-Nnadi Chijioke. He would be reading from his new poetry collection Through The Window of A Sandcastle. Also making an appearance is lawyer, playwright and novelist R. C Offordile , author of the prose fiction Thou Shall Not.
Note that the Abuja Literary Society meets every, 1st Friday of the month at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, 7 p.m; Second Friday @ Silverbird Entertainment Centre Abuja 7pm, Third Fridays @ Salamander Cafe, Abuja; BookJam holds every Last Friday of the month at Silverbird Entertainment Centre Abuja 6pm; Abuja Poetry Slam (performance Poetry competition) holds in March, June, September, and the Grand Slam will be in December. Special Guest writers will normally feature at the First Friday readings @ the Hilton. Special workshops, retreats and exchanges are part of our programmes. ALS can help you with manuscript editing ,organize a book presentation, marketing or special literary nights/events.
For more information, you can send a text to Chinelo: 08067958680; Ken: 0803-155-2555; or Victor: 0803-311-7246.
THE ABUJA WRITERS’ FORUM GUEST WRITER SESSION (Google it…)
This event has grown from simply being a guest writer session to a guest artiste session. This year alone it has featured award winning and skilled writers including Musa Idris Okpanachi, Obari Gomba, Obemata; the photographer Numero Unoma; the economist Tope Fasua, (I actually read with the last two); the film directors and producers, Ishaya Bako and Kasham Keltuma. Past guests at the writer session and/or workshops include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Uwem Akpan, Richard Ali, Gimba Kakanda to mention a few.
The audience is always a rich selection of the literati with regulars like the regular Dr. Kabura Zakama, Mike Ekunno.
The event is usually hosted by Dr. Emman Shehu, the President of the Abuja Writers’ Forum with assistance from the acting Secretary, Elvis Iyorngurum.
Each Guest Writer Session keeps evolving such that sessions now include live viewing of short documentaries and movies like Ishaya Bako’s ‘Fuelling Poverty’, photo exhibition from various artistes; musical presentations from artistes like Tokunbo Edwards, David Adzer. The AWF is renowned for creating events that set the pace leaving audiences thrilled. There’s usually a raffle in every guest writer session where members of the audience win fantastic prizes.
For October 2013, two budding Amazons, Hajo Isa and Ananga Stella Iyimoga, working in poetry and film will feature at the Guest Writer Session of the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF). Hajo has been a guest at the event previously and would be set to exploit her charm and talent to entertain the audience. Ananga Stella Iyimoga would present a feature film “For Love or Country”, which tells the story of Bala, a Nigerian, a Medical Doctor based in the UAE who is frustrated with Nigeria intends to settle in the UAE. He proposes to his girlfriend Kemi also a Nigerian studying in the UAE, but she has plans to return to Nigeria to make a contribution to its development and wishes Bala would do the same…. There would be a fashion exhibition too and soooo much more. Remember the venue is Nanet Suites, Beside the Federal High Court in the Central Business District of Abuja. Time is 16:00hrs (4:00pm) to 19:00hrs (7:00pm).
The Abuja Writers’ Forum meets every Sunday (except for the last Sunday reserved for the Guest Writer Session Saturday) for its critique session by 16:00hrs (4:00pm) to 19:00hrs (7:00pm). The critique session affords writers the chance to share their works with fellow writers and get their response to it. The Guest Writer Session holds every last Saturday. Call
Abdullahi Abubakar, Public Relations Officer (PRO), AbujaWriters’ Forum (AWF), Abuja.
Oh well, I hope you get there safe and in time. Much to be won, much to be expected…. Cheers!
It was Saturday and four o’clock. I was already shivering in literary thrill as over just the span of two days I had been in three exciting literary events including a book presentation I anchored; a Book Jam at the Silverbird galleria featuring Iquo Abasi et al; attended and had my poem read at the much talked about 2013 edition of Abuja’s 100,000 poets for change. There was the last to crown it all: the Abuja Writers’ Forum monthly Guest Writer session. I have made it a habit not to miss any of these and have been present at the last five or so ones that have included amazing award winners and outstanding artistes from the poet, Musa Idris Okpanachi; the photographer Numero Unoma; the economist Tope Fasua, (I actually read with the last two); the film directors and producers, Ishaya Bako and Kasham Keltuma; Obari Gamba… The audience is always a rich selection of the literati with regulars like the regular Dr. Kabura Zakama, Mike Ekunno.
As I hurried on to Nanet Suites, the festivities started with an unscheduled tribute session to KofiAwoonor, the slain Ghanaian poet who slumped to Somali terrorist bullets in Kenya in the Westgate shopping mall attack – a true diplomat up to his very last breath. Copies of his poems were shared to the audience. The poet/actor, ALS Book Jam moderator, Jide Attah took the next turn to perform some of Kofi’s amazing famous works, ‘The Cathedral’, ‘Across a New Dawn’ and ‘Songs of Sorrow.‘ I am particularly fond of ‘The Cathedral’ and the thought of it later, the rendition not met, brought memories but as they say, that’s a post for another time. So, Jide went on to speak on Kofi’s life and times. It was a solemn moment and no one who came in there at that second would have missed the atmosphere declaring a mourning of one of Africa’s versed monarch. He was supported at some point by Tokunbo Edward’s strumming strings.
Jide’s talk on Kofi was deep and heartfelt. Elvis Iyorngurum describes the talk as one that made even one who might not have known Kofi feel very familiar with him. It was like the talk of one on the demise of an old friend. Yes, Kofi was old, 78, but a friend that we wish might have stayed longer with us all. Award winning poet, Kabura Zakama and one the guest writers for the day, Obemata read their tributes to the slain poet. It was now time for the scheduled business of the moment: the Guest Writer Session.
Like is becoming usual of the sessions, there were three artistes billed for the day; Temi Sode, founder of the fashion label, Veronica’s Closet (VC) – and nope, not related to Victoria’s Secret in anyway; Abdul Mahmud (who writes under the pseudonym Obemata – which we shall refer him to in this piece), poet and activist who was once National Association of Nigerian Students President, an ex housemate of the famous Kirikiri prison; and Peter Michael Egwudah, a member of civil society who was around to make a presentation on efforts done by civil society after the floods of last year in Ibaji, Kogi state. Temi Sode’s did not make the appointment and so, the fashion flavor was not to be had. Sorry ladies! The two others however were set and Obemata took the first swing.
He read from his collection of poems, Triptych published by Sentinel Poetry Movement in the United Kingdom. The lovely poems without titles and with few or no punctuation read with interruptions – sorry, explanations – and notes from the author kept the audience held. After every few lines, Obemata explained the meanings behind certain lines, allusions, metaphors and influences. He drew a connection calling on certain poets in the house including Richard Ali, Gimba Kakanda, Kabura Zakama who shared certain aspects of his work. The style was that of a teacher/philosopher hoping to pass as much information to everyone in as short a period. Well, it would seem Obemata had also been part of the resource people for the just concluded AWF Student course so it made sense. Poem and poem passed on, recited in a very calm and silent voice that was lost on a lot of people behind because of the quietness of the poet. I got a bit impatient with his interruptions and missed certain explanations which mercifully, Elvis got to capture thus:
Obemata’s recollection of the history that inspired his writing of Triptych revealed the travails of a young man who as the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), organized the largest students protest in the history of Nigeria, against the plans of the Babangida regime to remove government subsidy for petroleum products. Obemata was arrested and detained in 1991 at the Kirikiri Prisons under the dreaded State Security and Detention of Persons Decree Number 2 of 1984, on account of his opposition to the military dictatorship led by General Ibrahim Babaginda. He was again arrested in 1996 and detained by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and the State Security Services (SSS), following claims that he knew or participated in the killing of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, the wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Abiola.
Everyone tried to get a copy of the book which is also finely produced with off-white pages. The copies were limited and so most of the audience had to get to write their names so that as soon as copies come in, they would have them sent. I couldn’t wait. I collected a copy from Kabura Zakama and read as many of the poems that I could. I was instantly caught up almost forgetting the presence of the reciting poet in front. I wrote two of the poems on a page (the author graciously signed them later). The poems in Triptych have a certain sadness and longing to them. Well, naturally, that should be as they are of exile and as the poet explained, inspired by his travails fighting for his country in several ways, his frustrations, deep love, never ending faith and hope in his fatherland – Nigeria.
Obemata had to give way. There was a brief musical interlude by David Adzer who with strung tunes with his guitar in praise to Aondo in a Tiv song that found translation much later in a different verse. He sang another and had Dr. Emman Shehu do
backup singing in a feminine role that saw the latter both dancing and dropping backup notes to the amusement of the audience. You couldn’t have missed the voice even if it was funny. I looked around and took in buddies and fellow writers: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (author of What can words do? and curator, Word Rhymes and Rhythm)Gimba Kakanda, Richard Ali, Kabura Zakama, my companion, the lovely Dr. Agatha Aduro, the grey Jim Pressman, the musician Tokunbo Edwards (who performed at some point with a violinist and David Adzer), Dr. Emman Shehu (of course, AWF President and organizer – who would be there if not him?), Elvis Iorngurum… wow! Okay, back to the business of the day…
Peter Michael Egwudah lit the room that had its light switched off after David’s singing with a short documentary on efforts of the Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE) and the United States of America based International Rescue Commission (IRC) in Ibaji local government of Kogi state to bring succor to that community after the floods. The latter had invested a huge sum for the project – One Million Euros – partnering with CISCOPE and the results were evident. The government of Kogi weren’t too happy about the development wondering why the intervention had not come through them. Well, who cared? The
results were showing. The documentary and explanations later by Egwudah highlighted the Nigerian Meteorological Agency 2011 warning of the floods. The government at all levels did nothing to avert the floods. The floods came eventually and we are all witnesses to the devastation. The government once more did little or nothing in the aftermath. There were broadcasts here and there, relief talk and all but what was on ground amounted to little. CISCOPE got the grant from IRC after sending a proposal and set to work immediately. Government were reluctant to work with the organization at first but eventually … The testimonies were evident and it was lovely to see the appreciation all written on the faces of the people of Ibaji.
Yup, there was the question and answer session… we have spoken much already and included the talk in the spirit of the piece so mind we jump? Certificates were presented to students of the AWF Creative Writing Workshop. Obemata, Jide Atta and previous Guest at the AWF monthly session, film maker, Kasham Keltuma were on hand to present these. Oluchi Agbanyim, an AWF member and alumni of the just ended AWF September creative writing workshop thanked the forum for her efforts which have been nothing short of great, creating platforms for the honing of skills of writers and giving them a chance to be far better.
Next there were the prizes for winners of the AWF monthly writing challenge. A prompt is given for writers to work on. The best in the different genres get different awards. The general aim is to exercise the brains of the writers and give them more to add to their writing vault as well as sharpen their skills to respond to prompts more easily in future.
Need I mention that there was the photograph session…
Before the prize session, I had had to find space to sneak out. The event had lived up to its beat. It was time to think soberly on all the happenings especially the documentary. Come to think of it, with the inclusion of more of other artistes – musicians, film makers, development practitioners, economists and the rest, isn’t it about time the AWF stopped limiting the extent of the beauty of the event to just a ‘Guest WRITER Session’? Is October knocking already? Who’s next on the list AWF? For those of you who haven’t had the chance, the AWF Guest Writer Session is a monthly event that hold on the last Saturday of every month at Nanet Suites (beside the Federal Secretariat), Central Business Area, Abuja. Start time is always 1600 hrs (4:00 pm). Well, as I rounded my sneaking, these weren’t the thoughts on my mind. That too is a post…for another day 🙂 Cheerio!
Well, it’s back to Abuja for me and I am reading at the Abuja Writers’ Forum. As part of the monthly Guest Writers’ Session that the Dr. Emman Usman Shehu led organisation conducts at Nanet Suites every last Saturday of the month, I would be reading with Tope Fasua and Numero Unọma.
It’s been fun, you know. There have been calls from everywhere with the ‘Hey! I saw you in the papers’ and all. Surprising that the calls only started coming in after Dr. Shehu called to ask if I hadn’t seen any of the papers… Well, I still haven’t seen any. I copied the link from THISDAY online and discovered that I had been described as a ‘Cultural and development enth’ … Whatever that means! Had mon belle note the error to me and I got to check the dictionary to see if perhaps some editorial mishap had blessed me with a name to go for ages. Oh well! It wasn’t to be. So, for the record, I believe that’s meant to be ‘enthusiast’.
The AWF Readings are always a thrill and there is hardly ever a dull moment. I have been at most of them since the very start – was that 2008? It gets better each year and with each passing month. This year has been really cool! Only last month the AWF session had three guest ‘writers’ – artistes more of – at the session – all of them award-winning in their own right. They included poetry maestro, Musa Idris Okpanachi who read from his From the margins of Paradise which left lots of people grabbing copies to learn new vibes for their boos. Fortunately, he’s my paddy so I got lots from the original himself! SEVHAGE had organised an event for him two months earlier so it was only a reliving of that experience. Two filmmakers, Kalsham Keltuma and Ishaya Bako thrilled us all with breath-taking short films. There were celebrities in the house including the lovely Mrs. Eugenia Abu (who came with her daughter and in her trademark kindness bought books there that were donated to the students and Corp members in the audience); Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and ElNathan John (journalists, writers and yup, Caine Prize nominees); Elvis Iorngurum; David Ishaya Osu and the like. It is usually like that. Lots of people come from far and wide. Dr. Kabura Zakama, Jim Pressman Mike Ekunno, Steve Fiberesimma are notable faces there. Now, in my bid to post this quick all the names do not come to mind but trust me, there are usually lots of interesting known, famous and infamous faces at this event. There are also lots of gifts won at the raffle where one qualifies by simply being present! Wow!
But to the August reading…
Tope Fasua would be reading, I believe, his book Things to do before your career disappears. He was at AWF last year – I was at that reading – where he read from his book, Crushed. Tope an economist and chartered accountant, prides himself as one of Africa’s young modern historians and sociologists , by choice. Apart from keeping a column with the Abuja-based Sunday Trust newspapers and writing occasionally for other media houses in Africa, he is passionate about contributing his quota to the debate about Africa, using his home country, Nigeria, as case study. A position showcased in his debut book, CRUSHED, which is increasing garnering attention as a major out-of –the-box perspective. Tope is an engaging writer and personality whose brilliance shines in his speech as well as books.
Numero Unọma, whom I can tell from our gist today, would be expecting to show some photos and making an attempt at sounding intelligent – or so
she says. Hee hee hee. She said she would be expecting some questions…curious ones, cheeky ones, perhaps even rude ones. Hopefully, she wouldn’t be disappointed. For the record, Numero is a Nigerian visual artist and writer, with her deepest roots in photography and poetry. Calling herself an Afro-neo-feminist, she has lived and worked in many different cultures, and studied first psychology, then photography & multimedia. All these inform her work, bringing to the fore a perceptive subtlety in her visual work, and a brutal candour in her writings. Her visual work has been described as photographic poetry and her poetry as semantic imagery. She is as fun as she is fair skinned and yup, I can assure you you just would love her exhibition which has found lots of applause in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe and West Africa.
Su’eddie… What would I be reading? Have you ever heard me read a short story? Okay, maybe once. But there is the chance to hear the other part of me that isn’t completely verse. Well, a short story and poems from Bring our casket home: Tales one shouldn’t tell. I guess I would have lots of buddies around since AWF is home so I would have to gear up. As I write now, I remember that a prophet has no [what’s the word?]…. eh, no something not nice [I would remember the word later if I am so honoured 😉 ] so I would have to be at my best. The Association of Nigerian Authors (in Benue and Abuja and other parts), the Benue State University‘s Writers’ League, and far more, the Abuja Writers’ Forum have given me some criticism that has helped me get better each day. I think I am still improving – even as I write. We would put all that to the reading tomorrow in addition to all the other talents gotten in the increased readings.
If you are in Abuja, please make it a date to come. If you can pick copies of our books, that would be great. I can assure you, they are affordable and definitely worth it. And if you can’t, just ensure you come. Have fun. What would you lose? If you are not in Abuja tomorrow or can’t make it to the Guest Writer session, make it a date to attend the next (and all subsequent) AWF readings.
The place is Nanet Suites, beside the Federal Secretariat. Time is 4pm and date, of course (for this month’s reading), 31st August 2013. Our hosts, the Abuja Writers’ Forum. See you there.
Why are they being so harsh and against protesters? Why didn’t they show this aggression when certain people protested against the anti-gay marriage bill?
Not in a long time has Nigeria seen this kind of unity. It simply speaks of a people determined to overhaul the draconian laws of a supposed democratic government.
Whether fuel subsidy is right or wrong is no longer the question. The question is ‘Do Nigerians support it?’
The various pictures and protests from all over the country simply say the same thing: ‘NO!’
Writers, Doctors, Traders, Journalists – the general masses are saying ‘NO!’
Why is the government being obstinate?
We are together across the lands from every part.
I salute all those standing for their voices, Seyi Balogun (Rest in peace Sir), Emman Shehu, Chika Unigwe, Jeff Unaegbu, Richard Ali, Doowizi Akegh, Nasir El Rufai, Gimba Kakanda, The NLC, TUC, Citizen Musa, Citizen Chinasa, Citizen Titi, Citizen Terdoo, and us all….
Let Aondo (God) help us. We are together and trudging on.