Showing posts from September, 2009

20. African Trilogy (2): No Longer At Ease by Chinua Achebe

Title: No Longer At Ease Author: Chinua Achebe Genre: Novel (Life, Transition) Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 154 ISBN:978-0-435913-51-9 Year: 1960 (this edition, 2008) Country: Nigeria No Longer At Ease  is the second book in a series of books, which have come to be called the African Trilogy. It was set in Lagos, Nigeria within the period prior to independence. In this novel, Chinua Achebe merges the traditional with the modern, creating a story that tells of the genesis of corruption and the culture of demand. The plot deals with how the culture of expectation leads to corruption and decadence of the individual and the institutions they work for. This story is similar to Ayi Kwei Armah's Fragments   and fits a quote in Amu Djoleto's novel The Strange Man : "Convention and conformity are the foundation stones of decadence". Obi Okonkwo, son of Isaac Okonkwo (or Nwoye) and grandson of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart , had

Concierge of the Dewy Garden

At the meeting of my poetry reading club, The Talk Party, a consensus was reached that poetry should not necessarily be indirect and there is nothing profane in poetry. As a result I have decided to post a poem I wrote so many years ago but which I have scarcely taken out for people to read. Here I am posting it for the first time on blogspot and for the second time on any social site. Rooted at the intersection Of the double flapping doors At the entrance strewn with the nectar Of sweet-scented straggling roses Is the Concierge of the Dewy Garden of Even Shivering, yet supinely erect The sensuous concierge ushers in In grumbles and murmurs And in deluge of fast-paced paroxysms The Adonis of this florid flexuous Gothic sepulchral catacomb Which had singularly caused The downfall of greater nations And chosen men of greater faith Slipping past the concierge In lecherous arrogance, Through the gooey squirting nectar Frictionless, but fitting fully and

19. African Trilogy: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Title: Things Fall Apart Author: Chinua Achebe Genre: Novel (Traditional, Historical) Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 166 Year: 1958 Country: Nigeria Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is one of the most widely read African novel. It is the first of Achebe's body of work and also the first book of what is usually referred to as the African Trilogy. Other novels in this trilogy are: No Longer At Ease  and Arrow of God . Set in Umuafia in the 1930s or so, Things Fall Apart, tells the story of the rise and fall of Okonkwo. Okonkwo was widely known throughout the nine villages of Umuafia for his warring prowess, where he is famed for having brought home five heads from all his wars and for his wrestling prowess for having thrown down the Cat. He was also industrious and rich, had three wives and many children, had large yam farms and had taken three of the four available titles in Umuafia. However, Okonkwo's bravery, belligerence

Burt Award for African Literature

This blog is dedicated to supporting African Literature. As a result I try to bring to my readers anything related to promoting Literature and reading in Africa. Hence, as I was reading through Wednesday 23rd September 2009 edition of the Daily Graphic, the largest selling newspaper in Ghana, I came across an advert which I think should be posted on this blog and should be encouraged. BURT AWARD FOR AFRICAN LITERATURE: CODE and the Ghana Book Trust have the pleasure to invite Ghanaian authors to take part in a writing competition to produce engaging and educational stories for the youth (12-15 years old) that will be published through the Burt Award. The Burt Award for African Literature is a newly created award programme that honours and supports the writing and publication of excellent young adult literature and for Africans. The Programme recognises outstanding authors and ensures publication of their work by local publishers. The award is sponsored by CODE, a Canadian NGO, with

18. The Changing 'Joys of Motherhood'

Title: The Joys of Motherhood Author: Buchi Emecheta Genre: Historical Novel Publishers: Heinenemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 254 ISBN: 978-0435-913540 Year: First Published in 1979 (this edition 2008) Country: Nigeria The Joys of Motherhood is a story set in Lagos, Nigeria, between the 1930s and the period leading up to independence in the 60s. It recounts the metamorphosis of the joys attached to motherhood from the traditional period to the period of colonisation. Before the European influence leading to western-type of education, the joys of a mother is to have many children and many sons who would look after her at old age when her bones would no longer permit her to farm. Children were prized possessions and the choice between seeking wealth and raising children were mutually exclusive events. It was common to be poor in wealth but rich in children and any woman who had such was considered with high esteem, whereas any woman who is unable to conceive

The Baobab Prize

The Baobab Prize is an annual international literary award established to encourage the writing of African Literature for young children. Its mission is to identify the African literary giants of the next generation and produce classic African stories that will be appreciated for years to come. The competition is opened to African citizens of all ages. Entries should be in English and should not have been previously published in part or in full and it should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words. The prizes fall into three categories: the best story written for readers aged 8-11 years the best story written for readers aged 12-15 years Rising star prize (given to a writer below 18 years of age) The award was instituted in 2008 and has therefore had only one set of previous winners. These are: The Baobab Prize for a work of fiction aimed at readers aged 8-11 years: Lorato and her Wire Car by Lauri Kubutsile , Botswana; The Baobab Prize for a work of fiction aimed at readers aged 12-15

17. Dimples on the Sand by Henry Ajumeze

Title: Dimples on the Sand Author: Henry Ajumeze Genre: Poetry Publisher: Hybun Publications International Pages: 81 ISBN: 978-978-900-836-0 Year: 2009 Country: Nigeria Dimples on the Sand is a collection of 36 poems by Henry Ajumeze. The collection is divided into five parts. For convenience sake I have tried to put the parts of the book into different subject matter. However, this should not be seen as a straight jacket categorisation, for it is easy to find a subject in more than one part. Thus, the reader could also name the parts according to how best he decides to group them. Part One celebrates the Poet's father and his people, the people of Anioma commonly referred to as the Delta Igbos. Poems such as 'In the beginning, was Anioma', and 'My Anioma' celebrate the land and the people of Anioma, whereas 'Okanga', and 'To my father, flutist of all time' celebrate his father. It is clear that some of the poems here could

Epiphany: A Poem from My Manuscript "Black Pathology"

You came from nowhere at the night of a thousand gods when in frustration of deserted Muses I sat under my bed's dust and wrung my inkless pen around a naive housefly's hands and invited him to play I was eager to write on a plain white paper to fill my heavens with countless palm trees In eagerness of lost lambs and talking drums I pulled up the drawbridge and opened the doorway to my heart's hideaway and there beyond a gossamer of fossil veil shrouded in a mystery of an eight-legged eight-eyed spider was your vanished face carved from the lonely river speaking to me to the depths of my heart's spirit to the lengths of my mind's soul drawing from the unctuous well... There you stood with bright eyes burning blue-- the lost lamb in lonely wanderings wearing the scratches of countless foxes yet you stood still with your withering soul cast in a shell of shamelessness your drooping eyes piercing the wells of my mind scooping to the last atom the contents of my lost s

16. The Thing Around Your Neck

Title: The Thing Around Your Neck Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Novel Publisher: Fafarina Pages: 218 ISBN: 978-978-48012-3-2 Year: 2009 Country: Nigeria Ms Adichie's third novel, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a collection of twelve short stories set in Nigeria, America, or Cape Town  and sometimes switching between Nigeria and America .Though the stories are not linked, a common theme runs through, the life of Nigerians. More detailed subject matter includes religious fanaticism (a clash between Christians and Nigerians), interaction between traditional religion and Christianity, and marriage life. Set in Kano, Northern Nigeria, 'Private Experience' tells the story of religious intolerance existing between the Igbo Christians and the Hausa Muslims in Northern Nigeria. However, amidst  the bloodshed, two women, one Igbo and one Hausa, worked in cooperation to ensure their survival. Thus, whilst the bigger picture shows lack of restraint a

The 10th Caine Prize (2009)

The Caine Prize for African Writing is named in memory of the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker Plc. The prize is awarded to a short story by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. The short story should have between 3,000 and 10,000 words. For the sake of this award an African writer is taken to mean "someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are Africans, and whose work has reflected African sensibilities." The First Prize was awarded in 2000, at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair 2000. This year's (2009) short list included: Mamle Kabu (Ghana) The End of Skill from "Dreams, Miracles and Jazz"; published by Picador Africa, Johannesburg, 2008; Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) You Wreck Her from the St. Petersburg Review, NY 2008; Alistair Morgan (South Africa) Icebergs from The Paris Review no. 183, NY 2008; E.C. Osondu (Nigeria) Waiting from, Oc

15. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda's debut novel, Purple Hibiscus  (Farafina, 2003; 298), was published three years before the much-acclaimed and award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun . It won The Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Hurston-Wright Legacy award and was short-listed for the Orange Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and long-listed for the Booker Prize of 2003. Set in Enugu and Nsukka, in Nigeria, 'Purple Hibiscus' is a story by fifteen year-old Kambili whose life and the life of her immediate family members (brother and mother) are imprisoned by a father, referred to only as Papa, whose attachment to the doctrines of the Catholic faith and to Western Culture is so strong and entrenched that it borders on insanity at best. Papa expects absolute obeisance and subservience without questions. His demand for perfections ranges from academics, where he would not accept a second position when there is a first position, to religion, where he considers the Igbo language as not good e

14. "Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy" by David Rooney

Title: Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy Author: David Rooney Genre: Non-Fiction (Political) Publishers: Sub-Sahran Publishers Pages: 338 Year: 1988 (this edition, 2007) Country: Britain The activities marking the centenary celebration of Ghana's first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would be launched next week, in addition to this, and as part of the celebration, his birthday (September 21) has been declared a national holiday by the present government (see the September 4, 2009 edition of the Daily Graphic: Nkrumah's birthday declared a holiday). However, how many Ghanaians truly know the man, Nkrumah, apart from being the person who won Ghana its independence. Most of us born way after the Nkrumah era (1950 to say 1970) know little of this son of Africa who has being both deified and demonised in one breath, whilst being labelled as a "great African and not a great Ghanaian" by academicians such as Professor Ali Mazrui. David Rooney

"I am, and I will always be the President of all the People of Gabon"--Ben Ali Bongo

Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy, a threat or a statement of peace? These are the words of the newly elected president of Gabon, Ali Ben Bongo, son of the late president Omar Bongo, who ruled for 42 years. I have already discussed this issue together with other pressing political issues on the continent with respect to the gradual transition of democracies and autocracies to dynasties. Read my comments here under the heading ' Dynasty- sation of Africa's Democracies and Autocracies '. This morning, the Daily Graphic, Ghana's leading daily newspaper, has reported on its 'Inside Africa' page the riots that has unfortunately marked the aftermath of the Gabon election. It is a pity and sad to know that greed has taken over the very fabric of our being. Omar Bongo, is alleged to have enriched himself with his country's oil revenues, and as a result and before his untimely death, was being investigated or facing trial with Denis Sassou - Nguesso (of the Repu

Drunken Dreams

I dream of you in my drunken desert dreams I dream of you in my wireless wawa awakenings I dream drunken dreams at the point of my awakening I dream meeting you at the point of my phoenix transformation Ancient of Days the Beautiful One conceived not by the seed of man nor in the womb of the venerable woman it is you I drunkenly dream of in my dreams lead me by hand take me to your altar of knowledge fit my feet on The Path yet leave me a human but cut me into pieces suck out the wormwood and the poisonwood and the log-wood and all the wooden nerves and the mechanical processors re-arrange me to my primaeval innocence I dream drunkenly of you in my sea-dry dreamy dreams leading me into the Sun to see the face of me and my creator to transfigure me into innocence and from the ashes I would awake refreshed, emboldened steep in the ways of The Path and lead them to you... Copyright 2009 by Nana Fredua-Agyeman Notes: