Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, Uncategorized

SPARKING THE LITEROSPHERE WITH SEVHAGE (WHERE WE HAVE BEEN)

Sometimes finding titles to these posts can be a challenge… However, getting titles to publish hasn’t been so much of an issue. We have had a healthy number come in. So, where have we been?

It has been a very busy season for me and all of us at SEVHAGE. We made a call for volunteers last year due to all the work we have and also a desire to spread the literary net at SEVHAGE Reviews. We got a good number of entries – and we wouldn’t mind getting a few more. We are sorting things out and would soon be reaching out to all those who applied so that we can start work in earnest. Our Head of Reviews, the poet, Innocence Silas has been up to task. You can check our ABOUT page and see if you want to catch up with us.

stork-cover-final-copyBut other than that, we have had a rich season working with some amazing writers and getting their books ready for press. A few weeks back, we received copies of Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi’s One day I will dare to raise my middle finger at the stork and the reaper. First publication was in 2015 and it is amazing to know that we have had to get the full works in print again. The book, Ekwuazi’s fifth book of poetry is a lovely collection of narrative poem that border on the beauty of life and is a blend of verse that would make any reader smile. I wrote the Afterword and I think that it is the sort of book that you would want to read, for any season.

We are also working on two other collections of poetry which are nearly ready for press; Bash Amuneni’s There’s a Lunatic in Every Town and Tope Ogundare’s The Book of Pain. Bash is one of Nigeria’s finest spoken word artistes and his collection is as interesting as he is. We are all looking forward to the book release in March (next month) – that is for the paper back. It would be accompanied with his Freedom audio spoken word collection, for the early birds who would be picking up the collection. You sure wouldn’t want to miss it. Tope, on the other hand, is a doctor and psychologist. You can check some of his fascinating writings featured on his blog at www.zaphnathpaaaneah.com. We will be having the e-copies by the end of the month. So, that is three lovely poetry collections already – what more can one ask for?

It isn’t all poetry. We just went to press with Dul Johnson’s Across the Gulf, one of the most challenging covers we have done. In the end, Eugene Odogwu – our graphics department head – was able to rally the team and bring out something beautiful and we fell in love with the cover, as much as we did with the story. The book will be out in stores early March.

Finally, we are working on two e-books, FOOLS 101 by John Chidi and for tomorrow (Valentine), MOUNT ORGASM by Ehi’zogie Iyeoman. Aha! Yes, there’s a poetry collection brewing up by a friend that has to do with the rain, terra cotta and some other wonderful images as will leave you smiling. I wouldn’t spoil the fun by calling names…

So, you see, there’s just so much work to do. I have decided too that I would be blogging a bit on the wonderful wonderful experience of publishing, its challenges and the backstory to some of the books. Some of the posts will be on my personal blog but most will be on our official SEVHAGE blog. You would be amazed at some of the tales.

In all, the times might be harsh but the works are smiling. Keep a date with me and us, and feel free to pre-order or make orders for any of our books at info@sevhage.com. All the poetry books go for a thousand naira, in some cases, exclusive of courier. We will send account details and we can discuss mode of transportation. If you are in Abuja, Benue or Ibadan, you can be sure you have no challenge.

May this day smile for us all. Cheers!

 

PS: We are doing some discounts on editing and book vanity publishing deals [yup, we do that too]… You might want to take advantage. Send us a mail at info@sevhage.com, let’s talk and see how we can get to seeing your works ready in-print or somewhere, online 🙂

 

PPS: What are you doing for Valentine? Particularly, what new writing have you been up to? So many things happening to make the times bleak but you know you can spark the times with something beautiful, right? Whatever it is you think you can do, get to it and make it worth it. Cheers!

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Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD

Becky (A Poem) by amu nnadi

i knew you long before i knew you existed
long before you stood before me, warm
and new york said hello with her brilliant smile;
you bear in you the light of the cosmos, your eyes
two rivers leading to a great sea, your heart
warm, incarnate and inextinguishable, flame
where you carry as constellation and flower
the hopes and dreams of your people

long before i knew you existed, long 
before that warm embrace of welcome on 76th
and the fragrance of gratitude from a coarse
african, with words like the sorcery of rivers
i have felt on my brow your brightness, the
warmth of the sun that is the joy of your complexion
as the virgin plains of my homeland, with
their creased landscape of hills and valleys

i have followed, long before i knew you
the bright rays of your rainbow, your flaming
followed them as though in them the world built
a lighthouse, to bring to shore all the wayward
and lost ships of life; for in you lives the miracle
of humanity, for you love without restraint, as sun
just loving, not knowing which calyx its brightest
rays will touch and coax into the loveliest petals

in you, becky, lives a world of many gifts
in you the gift of grace and compassion
in you the fire of conviction, your veins teem
with it, touching everyone, inspiring
nursing and nourishing hope in man
in you the radiance of joy and the softness of pollen
in you the gift of warmth, like a blazing daylight
in you, becky, the gift of embrace, holding everyone

and i declare, in the lines of my poem and in the
beating of my heart, once i felt it too, your kindness
far removed from you, not knowing you existed
separated by the great expanse and strange customs
of the sea, troubled by its waves and rising tide;
you were that great sail that steadied my tremblings
that great light that led me to medgar evers, where
held in the tenderness of eyes, my heart bled with bliss

today i come to honour you, becky, with cowries
the white fowl of my poem and the freshest palmwine
i come bearing the censers of love, to honour you
as you did me, long before i knew you existed
long before you saw the dimmed light of my eyes;
today we all come bearing our token gifts, to share
with you the great wonder of faith in another; for
though i did not know you, though you did not know
me, you reached across the sea and valleys and hills

and touched me with your light, familiar as air;
for you are filled with oxygen and all that give earth life
you are, becky, what endows humanity with human
and eternity, with goodness and the light of the cosmos:
i honour you, my words honour you, my poem honours you
today i name you in the consecration of my lips;
let your people honour you too, hold you up as lantern
for you shine with the brightness of hope, warm
and inextinguishable, kind and beautiful beyond words

amu nnadi is the author of some five collections of poems including the fire within, winner of the 2002 ANA Gabriel Okara Prize for Poetry, pilgrim’s passage, shortlisted for the 2005 Nigeria Prize for Literature, andthrough the window of a sandcastle, winner of the 2013 ANA Poetry Prize and runner up to the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature. He also won the Glenna Luschei Prize for African poetry. Catch an interview with him here

amu nnadi wrote the poem ‘becky’ to a loud ovation in the United States… So, need to know about him? He writes his poetry in small letters alone. He is a great man with a fine soul, generous, and nearly never sleeping scribbler who loves literature especially poetry with a passion. He lives in Port Harcourt with his family and will be publishing his new collection of poetry, a field of echoes with his publishers, Paressia, this 2015.

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, REVIEWS

THROUGH THE DEEPENING DEPTHS OF CAT EYES: THOUGHTS ON PEVER X’S NOVEL By Su’eddie Vershima AGEMA

Open your thought bank, and see this clearly as we think it from the dark like we are viewing it all through cat eyes: You grow up not knowing your father. You have heard so much about him and though you would naturally want to see him, to catch a glance of what your progenitor is like, you despise him. You wish him to be an old wrinkled evil thing. After all, a man who has been absent and not kept touch with his family for so long would have to be an ogre! You pray him to be a hag of a man with marks all over. He left your mother with you to go overseas for further studies and because of him at a certain stage, your mother puts a hold to your education so that you wouldn’t want to know too much book and leave her—thank God for libraries and hidden books. Well, eventually a message comes one day: your father, whom you are even named after, is coming back. He comes back and the shockers begin. Your father is the complete opposite of the dinginess you might have imagined. He is handsome, cool and lovely. Your mother betrays you and rushes into his arms like a Prince Charming that has always been there. But it doesn’t end there. Your father has come from abroad with a new wife and a daughter! Chai! Did I mention that the daughter and new wife are white—and have cat eyes? What worse betrayal can he try to bring about? Think, what would you do? Or maybe you should get Pever X’s Cat Eyes to get an understanding and see what unfolds…

Cat Eyes is a coming of age story centred around Pededoo, a headstrong chap who has lots of teen issues. He tries to have a manageable relationship with his father who has come home after a prolonged silence abroad. In his company are a white woman and a daughter, Melissa-Jane—who is a beautiful intelligent blonde. Pededoo takes an instant dislike to the trio cruelly naming Melissa-Jane Cat Eyes due to her greenish coloured eyes. She likes the name to his chagrin and repays every evil Pededoo pays her with sweetness. It is not long before the teenager is falling for his step-sister.Cat Eyes Cover

But this is only the beginning of the contradictions. More things unfold as Pededoo goes on many adventures that would teach him—and readers—life lessons on love, literature, beauty and so much more. The tale is set in the imaginative countryside of Boor by mountains, riversides, an orchard, barns and the like. The entire action of the novel takes place within two weeks in the summer month of August,1988.

The book is told in the first person narrative and readers see through the eyes of Pededoo. The use of this style is quite relevant and significant to the plot progression as most of the suspense and ironies seen in the book are as a result of the views of the narrator. While the author might have pulled his suspense and slow revelations in the book differently, using this style of narration makes readers to be as blind to many things as the person through whom the story is told. After all, if a blind man leads, stumbling, wouldn’t they who follow likewise do same?

Pever X writes with a great dose of Mark Twain behind his lines. If the writings were to be like one’s breath and Mark Twain like alcohol that could be smelt in that breath, there would be a roomful or more than metre long of that smell.  From the particular characterisation of a teenager (Pededoo) on the countryside with his teenage companions and pranks, one can easily match the Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer footprints. The author seemingly admits to this inspiration and borrowing for his character and book in a scene in the book speaking through the book’s narrator thus:

I found books written by Mark Twain very interesting, especially The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer Detective. I admired Huckleberry Finn and felt we had a lot in common…[the comparisons between the both are shown] But there were times I wanted to be like Tom Sawyer… I was aware his knowledge came from reading books so I continued reading and resolved never to stop until I got as smart as Tom Sawyer… (47).

It is important to state here though, that despite the telling of a work in a Mark Twainian style, Pever X’s voice is original[ly African] in its own right, adding spices and a whole lot of local colouring to make his novel both entertaining, informing, absorbing and particularly, African.

Pever X brings to life a place that you might not find on any real landmass—Boor in setting, creation and all being far from what any town in Benue state is. This is easily forgivable noticing that his descriptions are apt and enough to make a native of Ushongo, the place where Boor is located as stated in the novel to think the place really exists. Thus, the author paints a picture that is easily viewable with the mind’s eyes.

In an age where most of our cultures seem to be swept away by an encroaching globalisation with bigger civilisations eating our own traditions, most writers make it a duty to try to salvage what they can through the introduction of native characters in their works, using diplomacy (use of native words), infusing local histories and the like. The scholar and poet, Hyginus Ekwuazi, states that this is our [African writers’] way of trying to clear the weed behind our backyard so that it remains attractive. Some might see this as being like the famous puppy trying to put out a fire with its fart. Whether or not, it works, is not in much contention. Pever X, in the tradition of the typical African writer, sprinkles a large dose of his tradition into his work. We notice in the first instance that the setting, despite its being in a countryside that would not be recognisable in the geographical reality of his locale, is in Tivland. This gives the author an excuse to put in a large cast of Tiv characters like Pededoo, Jimba, and Kaun.

We also come across the naming of certain objects such as adudu (a small basket made from reeds), akacha (musical instrument) and Kwaghir (Tiv puppet theatre). It would be easy to say that the use of these are because of the absence of a more appropriate way to address them such that they wouldn’t lose their proper representation to a person who is familiar with the Tiv background against which Pever X writes. However, we notice the deliberateness of his nativisation in the presence of such words as Bagu (Gorilla), Alôm (Hare), and the like. Note that in many places these names are pronounced aside their English meanings, in addition to a glossary being supported at the end of the whole work. We also find folktales in the novel with an example of ‘how Alôm the hare – the trickster and hero of Tiv folklore – came about with long ears’ (44).

The author tries to present a tale that is both locally and internationally relevant. Through the characterisation and dialogue, we notice a blend of Tiv, Igbo and Ghanaian names. The novel also takes us on a journey through Nigeria, Ghana, America, and Europe at different points through reminiscences of the narrator on his grandfather’s musical career, his father (Pededoo Senior)’s experiences, that of Melissa-Jane on her life in Boston and a few other cases.

Certain readers might have a few issues with Cat Eyes. The first is the confusing voice of Pededoo. This teenager is meant to be a countryside—rural if you want—African boy who stopped going to school in his JSS 3. The reader is thus shocked to hear his rich vocabulary and his seeming adult voice. The voice of the narrator—and by extension, the narrative—is somewhat American. The author tries to explain most of this away by noting in different parts of the book that the narrator is a book aficionado. At this point, a certain scene comes to mind. It is one of Pededoo and Melissa-Jane (Cat Eyes) playing King and Queen or more appropriately, lovers. Pededoo recites a line from Shakespeare and she challenges him to go on first by saying he knows only that one line. When he quotes a few more lines, she challenges him saying that he knows only short lines. He continues and soon they are exchanging lines before they are interrupted by their gnarling stomachs (129). Earlier in the book the narrator had noted: ‘I later read fourteen original and unabridged plays by William Shakespeare… I could recite many of his one hundred and fifty four sonnets in my sleep, I’d read them all. Several times over’ (48). We read elsewhere too that reading became like food to him: ‘I never stopped reading. Each free minute found me with a book’ (50).

Most of the books Pededoo reads are American and some of his favourite characters and models are picked from there (47-50). Is it any wonder then that he loves Mark Twain and his characters—Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer—with a passion? The books devoured by this character mould his persona and fashions his voice, it broadens his view and mindscape beyond his environment. Thus, we realise the power of books and reading. In addition to this are certain movies that he watches like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America (18).

The 164 book is divided into twenty-five chapters and a glossary. Each chapter starts with a quotation that acts as a precursor and/or a summary of what to expect in the chapter.  Chapter XIX, for instance, starts with ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’ from Shakespeare’s Sonnet CXVI. It is therefore not surprising to see later on in the chapter that the minds of the people involved become somewhat married. To take it a step further, this is the chapter where Pededoo and  Melissa-Jane play the Shakespearian line exchange game (as shown above). Thus, each chapter comes with that quotation from diverse sources such as Owl City, Mark Twain (not surprisingly), Leo Tolstoy, Richard Barnfield, Haruki Murakami, Euripides, Helen Keller and The Bible. Each chapter ends with the words ‘from the land beyond the seas’.

From adventures with fireflies, horse rides, mountain climbs, music, book renditions, romance, history recreated, history kept, the book deepens like the onion, layer after layer, going on various winding paths to keep you reading till the very last page. Note though that if you want a fast paced thriller, full of overt inanities and the like, if you are looking for head-over-heels sick humour, something shallow…then Cat Eyes is not for you. Like Twain’s style mentioned, it is a slow flowing endearing book that grows at a leisure pace. It is an irresistible coming of age tale that will capture the hearts of those whose spirits can still be found.

Posted in EVENTS

LITERARY BUZZ: PURPLE SILVER OPEN MIC SESSION (25th May, 2013): DISCUSSION

DISCUSSION BUZZ: The Symbols Cuisine Gallery. 7pm.

We walked in, Maik Ortserga (Executive Editor with Aboki Publishers and Secretary of Benue Association of Nigerian Authors) and I. There was Anselm Ngutsav, Apine Kenneth and Stephen Aba. I was still wondering if I had made the right choice of forfeiting my Abuja trip for this session – and something else ;). Well, seeing the guys made me know that I was in the right place – home. Purple Silver, the growing voice of literary flow and camaraderie in Makurdi, Benue that I am proud to be part of… Okay, to the point.

The event started with the discussion aspect and after some debate, we agreed to discuss Wole Soyinka’s interview with the Daily Post that Achebe is not the father of Modern African Literature. A few of us had not heard about it so it was nice that it came. I moderated the session and we all had a swell time. There were two primary voices that took the debate, Stephen Aba who supported Soyinka’s stance citing history as his strong point to show Achebe wasn’t really the father of modern African literature and Maik on the other hand who said that Achebe truly was through the validation and reinvention of African literature that had come through Achebe. The argument for was that though there were other people afore, Achebe had deeper vision and caused a revolution in African writing. He made English to speak Igbo, brought new styles and invented a new course that a lot of people followed. Through him finally, a new African literature was born. People started paying proper attention to the literature due to Achebe’s intervention. The argument against still continued that one couldn’t really say the Wright brothers were the fathers of aviation. It would be more appropriate to say it was Da Vinci… At various points, we had to define what African literature was, where Achebe was given the title first e.t.c. Wow! It wasn’t some small argument to and fro. Fortunately, the two chief proponents were cool speaking people so there were no flairs in the air. Just lots of not letting go. Kenneth, Anselm and Ode Attah put in their contributions too but there was no agreement. Well, we put it to the vote – a casual vote, and several people present decided not to cast their ballot. Achebe won though 🙂 Someone asked why Soyinka hadn’t said so when Achebe was alive. The reply was simple: ‘Blame the journalists! Why didn’t they ask Soyinka when Achebe was alive?’ 🙂
We disagreed on some points but we agreed that Soyinka wasn’t being sentimental. Achebe had contributed a lot and changed the course of African literature forever. The debate of fatherhood is one that has too many factors involved that we need to properly work and debate to make a proper conclusion.

Next, we moved to discussing Northern Nigerian Literature in a broad sense. We made it clear that we weren’t politicizing the term or brand and were only using the name for convenience to cover the literature from this side of the country. With two of the shortlisted writers from this side, Elnathan John and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim being shortlisted for the Caine Prize, what does that portend for the literature of these parts? Furthermore, why has the literature from these parts being silent for so long? What can we do to enhance our literatures here? All these with thoughts of how we can reinvent ourselves so that someday perhaps we might be called the mothers or fathers of Modern Northern Literature…

The consensus was there is a thriving Northern Nigerian literature that hasn’t been promoted enough or exploited. There is more tugging towards the established voices – voices established by other critics and/or media. The literatures of our part need to be given more attention. We have to learn to read far more of ourselves as of others to be more rounded. There’s a need to celebrate ourselves too through prizes, criticisms and the like. We need to believe in our own.

(Okay, we could hear our voices though and don't mind the flash wahala :) )
(Okay, we could hear our voices though and don’t mind the flash wahala 🙂 )

There was a performance session and we just had to cut the talk though there was far more to say…

Well, the performance continued

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in LITERARY MISSIONARY, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

Chinua Achebe: Death, Where Are Thy Claws? – Niyi Osundare

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)

 

 

Chinua Achebe is one of those epically unique individuals whose lives have been so full, so purposive and so impactful that we begin to pray that they will never die. But who doesn’t know that that is mere wishful thinking? To be sure, the Eagle on Iroko didn’t die young, but he left when we still need him urgently and acutely. He has gone, but he left so much of, by, himself behind…

 

Achebe shook up the literary world with Things Fall Apart when he was barely in his late twenties. He told Africa‘s story and gave humanity a song. Since that day in 1958 when that epochal novel intruded upon the world to this very day, hardly any week has passed without the author’s name being mentioned somewhere in this world of books and ideas.

 

But if the sheer force and range of Achebe’s fiction gave Africa a voice, the fearless truth of his critical interventions challenged so many myths and deliberate falsehoods about the most misrepresented and recklessly abused continent in the world. Achebe knew, and he tried to get us to know, that  Africans will remain mere objects of the stories told by others, until they, Africans,  have started to tell their own story their own way – without shutting out the rest of the world. Achebe challenged the 20th century philosophy of fiction as a pretty object d’art, arriving with works which foregrounded the human condition and told the wondering world that the clotheless Emperor was, indeed, naked! He entered a plea for the urgent necessity of an entity called ‘applied art‘ and emboldened us to look triumphalist Formalism in the face and demand to see its passport. Yes, Achebe told a world sold to the art-for-art’s-sake mystique that it is, indeed, possible to be an accomplished novelist who is also a teacher.

 

Controversy hardly ever parts company with a writer and thinker of his brand. He took almost as much criticism as he gave; for he was a man who never ran from a fight.

 

The world celebrates the LIFE of this distinguished story-teller and thinker. (Yes, celebrate, for to mourn is to concede supremacy to Death – and Oblivion, its Mephistophelean factotum).

 

Rest well, Chinualomogu. Rest well, Obierika, the man who thought about things. Posterity will never let you die. We regret your passing. We celebrate your Life.

 

Niyi Osundare

New Orleans, March 22, 2013.

 

 

 

Professor Niyi Osundare is one of Nigeria’s leading contemporary poets and social crusaders. He lives in New Orleans.

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS

Wordsmiths in Nigeria: Relics of a lost age? by Chika Nwakama

Art is life. Life’s art. Writing is an art, it could also be a life. What else captures the details of the past, intertwining it with the occurrence of the present, yet plodding the way for the future but writing. With just a few words, your imagination travels between time and space, thus making geographic demarcations of boundaries look seamless. The secrets of life are kept afresh and handed down to subsequent generations through writing. So why aren’t the wordsmiths leaving up to their billing?

Arts in Nigeria has gained a lot of momentum lately. The actors, musicians, painters, even photographers and make-up artistes are gaining prominence and recognition in our society. The fashion industry riding on the success of the entertainment industry is recording quantum strides. All, but the writers. How could this be, that the queen and bride of all creative manifestations be relegated to levels befitting of paupers? The beholders of the secrets that lay in the lairs of the deep are fast drifting into oblivion. Some say writers can’t survive in our society. Many others say Nigerians don’t read. Indigenous literature it seems lose their footing to foreign ones. The average girl would hastily grab a Sidney Sheldon over a Lara Daniels. The Dibias would only receive accolades but we stock up our libraries with Grishams.

However, lest we rush ourselves into hasty conclusions, based on the obvious, let us remind ourselves that our counterparts in the sister arts equally faced this clog. But unlike us, they did not hurl accusations. Like them, we need to take action. We need to start appreciating indigenous wordsmiths. We hear there is a dearth of good writers in the country. This is a farce. Ever year, my compatriots receive accolades globally. It is up to the writers to test the waters and create the butterfly effect that would enable a literary environment flourish in our country. The works of Pulp Faction book club, Naijastories, Nigerian Writers forum and Debonair Bookstores are appreciated but a lot still needs to be done. Reading competitions have to be inculcated in our primary schools. Book clubs and literary groups with emphasis on local content have to be re-introduced in our secondary schools. Arts festivals and book carnivals have to be taken to the national level. We have the capacity to host art events that would rival the pedigree of the hay festival.

Only then would the publishers, corporate world and film makers come to share in the slice of the cake. The onus is on us as writers to partake in defining a new Nigeria for our youths. Where intellectualism thrives over ignorance and sentiments. Where jingoistic views would be overtaken by enlightenment. Though it is not an easy task, nor one with immediate visible results, the fruits of such venture have generational implications. He who plants a seed today leaves a shade for the next generation. In this plethora of misguided conceptions and ideologies, what seed are we planting that would provide shades for the future one? How do we preserve our fast depleting culture , if not through writings.

Do we want our children to hear of our stories from the lips of foreigners? Let us stimulate the taste buds of indigenous literature and keep them salivating for more. More importantly for our sakes. The only way to attain immortality is through writing. A writer never dies, he merely lives in another form. Through his writings.

 

First Published on Naija Stories

Posted in AWARDS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

THE ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AUTHORS LITERARY AWARDS WINNERS FOR 2012

ANA Prose Fiction Prize 2012

Pride of the Spider Clan – Odili Ujubuonu – Winner

Beyond the Yard – Inyang E. Ekwo

A Time To Heal – Seye Oke

 

ANA Poetry Prize 2012

Inside my Head – Umari Ayim – Winner

Canvas – Saddiq Dzukogi

Go Tell Our King – Betty Abah

 

ANA Prize for Drama 2012

Hard Choice – Sunnie Ododo – Winner

Tear Drops of the Gods – Karo Okokoh

Climate of Change – Elaigwu Ameh

 

ANA/Chevron Prize for Environmental Issues 2012

No entry merited shortlisting in this category.

 

ANA/Esiaba Irobi Prize for Playwriting 2012

Children of the River – Nnamdi Okose – Winner

Tear Drops of the Gods – Karo Okokoh

 

ANA/Gabriel Okara Poetry Prize 2012

Songs of a Griot – Karo Okokoh – Winner

Pimples and Dimples – Fidelis Okoro

ANA/NECO Teen Author
Behind the Dust by Nuela Ononye – Winner
Trap in the Jungle by Chukwu Obelugu
Kidnap by Gbemisola Adeya

ANA/Latern Prize
Nkechi the Heroine by Camillus Chima Ukah – Winner
The Genius by Vincent Uduh
Mad Boy by Spencer Okoroafor

 

 

NOTE: Winners for the following ANA Prizes were announced at the 2012 Convention held at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from the 8th to 11th November 2012. Congratulations all around. All winners who were not on ground to receive prize monies for the ANA Prizes should please reach the General Secretary via email at bmdzukogi@yahoo.com so appropriate arrangements can be made.Any other clarification should also go to the General Secretary via bmdzukogi@yahoo.com

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, BOOKS, FUNNY, LITERARY MISSIONARY, POL TALKS, SEVHAGE, TALES

DAMN YOU (LETTER TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED)

(SMALL NOTE TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED: DAMN YOU!)

__________________________________________________________________________

Yup, damn you!

I am usually conservative but even for that, damn me!

Nigerian writers and its literature is largely uncelebrated in the country – for most of that, damn Nigeria!

Nigerians prefer to read foreign books – damn Nigerians!

Readers would rather read a book by a known author than a least known one – well, I can’t blame them but damn both the readers and the unknown writer!

DAMN YOU WRITERS!

We all want to be taken seriously by the society and even government but are we even serious with ourselves?

Many times we rush off to print – without getting several things right

No proper editors or editing

Shabby production with lots of typos and grammatical blunders plus the tense

inconsistencies! Grrrr….

Should we forget the horrible covers that adorn most of our books?

What about those stories that should rather be in a text book?

Furthering, we keep doing the same thing and expect something to get results that are different… Kai!

Damn us!

You don’t read at all or pay the price for writing and you expect to have something good? Hee hee hee – Damn you jor!

Other times, you don’t do anything to help other writers – no reviews, no good comments, and you expect that the reverse would be yours… this is more hilarious than the price issue! Yes, yes, damn you!

You put some exorbitant price on your book and would rather have them under your bed than sell affordably – damn you!

You refuse to buy a book by another writer – no matter how good and expect yours to be bought – haba, if you keep expecting to be dashed or don’t even buy, you should respect karma now… but still, damn you!

A book launch is called (and this is often) and if you do the mistake of going, you go only to drink the free mineral, buns or meat pie – faya your head!

Here now you find some others – yes, you who set up some awards just for the glory and then end up giving your cronies – damn you!

What about you who is selected as a judge and decide that it is time to give the favour to some pal… O! I guess I forgot to mention that other person who decided that only the one with a big name should get the prize to increase your prestige… Whether you are a judge, whether you are the organiser… hmm, need I say more? No, not damn you, have your head examined!

More, you as a literary association or its members are more political than literary – choi, go and join PDP, CPC, ACN or one of them parties! Literary associations should be L I T E R A R Y !! Shikena! Damn you!

You are in a literary association and your only aim is POSITION – nothing else… damn you!

Okay, you get the position and you can’t effect any change – damn you still.

You claim to be a publisher while you only print and get your full payment for the copies, at best collecting payments for the print job…The same you refuses to market the writers or pay royalties when you sell their work – whether it is one of these or all, Oga/Madam Printer, damn you!

In your academic circles, scorning any writing not from your literary circles, or flowing only those sent from high towers – keep those noses in the air, may mighty flies dance alanta inside! See your head – damn you!

Now, here we go with all these and we have to start to think about why this rant has come about but not to worry… It takes time and a lot of damns to get us into doing the right thing… It takes time to ignore the big names, it takes time to get to discover that we can make those small people to be big…it takes time to ensure that we make ourselves – polish ourselves right and give ourselves the utmost shine… it takes time to make people know our worth… It takes time to take time…and while we are taking all this time, why don’t we simply just damn time itself! Damn time! (If you agreed to this, damn you!) As the times grow, we have to give it its respect and let it slowly flow… After all, isn’t it with the passage of time that wine gets better? Well, you might be lucky and not need to go through all the wahala to get there… On behalf of us all who really do not have the luxury of that miracle, damn luck! Damn the luck that would make others to really suffer to make a name… Damn the pirates who help us spread our work but don’t give us pay… Come to think of it, maybe we should give them some commission for marketing … What happens to our hard work and labour? Damn you pirates! Damn! Damn! Damn! Double and double and quadruple damns to it all till it comes to a time when we have to even damn damn itself…

At that damning time, we would have to find a way to undamn ourselves in one or several ways…and if we don’t find a way to remove the damns…well, what more do I say?

Ouch! There’s a damning headache in my head and I just discovered that someone still hasn’t got this whole message – phew! Damn! Okay, here’s what I am saying and if you don’t get it still (do I need to say it? Damn you!)

IT takes one and all to bring all the change we want and we can do it…if we don’t, damn us all!

(First published in Conflate Magazine, June 2012)