Showing posts from October, 2009

Commonwealth Awards

I read from The Bookaholic Blog that the winners for the Commonwealth Short Story Competition has been published. Once again, Nigeria, a country known for great literary talents such as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Christopher Okigbo, Immomotime Okara, E.C. Osondu, Chimamanda Adichie, Elechi Amadi etc,  dominated the awards.  My belief in Nigerian writers has once again been affirmed by the confirmation of these awards. Nigeria abounds literary talents, and there are rich stories in Nigeria. However, just like any other country and any other profession, fame easily comes to the writer if he escapes the boundary of Africa and sojourn in an European or Western country, even if for awhile. The Regional Winner for Africa:  Kachi A. Ozumba of Nigeria for The One-Armed Thief Winners of the Highly Commended Stories include: Ayobami Adebayo of Nigeria for Dreams Akiwumi Akinwale of Nigeria for LFO Mbofun Carlang of Nigeria for The Father's Blessings Read the

An Almost 100 Books to be Read in 5 Years

After reading numerous blogs, I have decided to also challenge myself by assigning to myself 100 books to be read in 5 years, depending on availability and cost. The first set of books comes from Africa's Top 100 books as researched by the Zimbabwe Library Foundation . If I should come across interesting translations from Francophone and Lusophone writers, I would read them alongside these. As it stands now, all these writers are from Anglophone countries (except Mahfouz Naguib, from Egypt). Since this list contains mostly the classic, new writers would be read alongside these. Note: All books by the following authors would be read as and when they become available: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  Books I have read would be italicised; Books I have read and reviewed on this blog would be italicised, crossed and linked; Books from Africa's Top 100 Books by the Zimbabwean Library Foundation: Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Anowa by Ama


From behind his Window With the gods’ eyes                         Borrowed I caught a glimpse of his Tomorrow And what would next                         Follow In his genes and bone                         Marrow His seeds were on the Floor The room was without a Door And the blank blanket Immature The fowls and the cold were Allured But to the cold his skin was Inured The seeds with the cold Fought But the fowls took a Shot And what was left wasn’t a Tot His last seed was left to Rot But all I could see was a Blankspot  copyright 2007 by Nana Fredua-Agyeman

23. A Bend in the River: V.S. Naipaul (Not so African)

Title: A Bend in the River Author: V.S. Naipaul Publishers: Picador Genre: Novel (Post-Colonial) Pages: 326 Year of First Publication: 1979 (this edition, 2002) Country: United Kingdom APOLOGIES: Until the present post the objective of this blog has been to promote African writers. African in this sense was defined as 'SOMEONE WHO WAS EITHER BORN ON THE CONTINENT OR WHO BECAME A CITIZEN OF AN AFRICAN COUNTRY' either by adoption or naturalisation. It is based on this premise that I did not review Obama's Dreams from my Father  and Kafka's Trial , though I would have loved to. However, I am breaking this rule for just this post. I am doing so because this book has been highly rated and was shortlisted for the 1979 Booker Prize and on the list of many Top 100 novels, including my own Top 100 books to be read in five years . It is also about Africa.  Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (born 1938) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 and the Booke

I will Dance into the Darkness

I posted a poem titled 'Into the Darkness' yesterday, October 21, 2009. However, just as I was reading it something clicked and I was moved to rewrite it. This is the revised version. After I have searched beyond your haunting eyes behind that pile of smiles through the several turns and bends deeper into your soul I will dance into the darkness After you have pushed through my virginal thoughts coiled within a box of cries brutishly breaking the cranial lid far into my cognitive bed I will dance into darkness Your embrace is no more you flushed with conceit and fiery countenance it would not let me have my space but after I  have   pulled my self from your shadows and my ears from your lips after I have unwound my hoary heart from your clad I would dance silently into the darkness It has been said: only death must do us part but you parted your legs for that bull and suspended your ass so he can swing and scream and swing li

Winners of ImageNations' Book of the Quarter

A poll was conducted for all books that were reviewed on ImageNations from July to September 2009 and which had ratings of 4.5 or higher. In all nine (9) books excluding a book on poetry, Dimples on the Sand , by Henry Ajumeze and a non-fiction political book, Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy , by David Rooney were selected. The poll closed today October 16, 2009 at two o'clock GMT. In all there were fourteen votes and Half of a Yellow Sun won with 60% of the votes. This was followed by P urple Hibiscus , which won 21% and Two Thousand Seasons (14%). There were two collection of short stories: The Thing Around Your Neck (7%) and Mr. Happy and the Hammer of God (7%). NOVEL Half of a Yellow Sun is ImageNations' Book of the Quarter. Half of a Yellow Sun is Adichie's second novel following Purple Hibiscus . It tells of the human side of the Biafra war. The novel won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007.  Click to read my review of Half of a Yellow Sun . Bri

22. Duskland by J.M. Coetzee

Title: Dusklands Author J.M. Coetzee Publishers: Vintage Genre: Novella Pages: 125 Year: First Published 1974 (this edition, 2004) Country: South Africa/Australia This is my first reading of a Nobel Prize Winner and I wasn't disappointed. Duskland consist of two novelettes: The Vietnam Project and The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee. THE VIETNAM PROJECT: This novelette was written or narrated in the first person and set during the Vietnam war. A psychologist Eugene Dawn developed a novel psychological war strategy to be used to win the remaining phases of the war. Having been asked by his supervisor, Coetzee, to revise his propaganda, Eugene criticised himself so much that he was overtaken by the stress of the work and finally ceded to a mental breakdown. It is an interesting novelette and shows that the casualties of war are not only those whose bones fill the belly of the earth but include those whose mental constitution succumbs to the stress of war. Coe

Of Awards, Protests and Book Clubs: Flying from Sweden to Nigeria

THE YEAR OF LITERARY WOMEN WITH INITIALS H.M. Over the week, two prestigious literary awards were announced, the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize, and both were won by women whose initials were coincidentally identical. The Nobel Prize in Literature was won by Herta Muller , a German Romanian. Her choice has caused a stir in the literary circles as people are perceiving the awards to be too Eurocentric judging from the fact that the last time an American won it was in 1993 and Asians hardly ever win. On the other Hilary Mantel  has won the Booker Prize for her novel Wolf Hall, which had J.M. Coetzee's Summertime in the shortlist. This award has been accepted by all and none has as yet complained. You can read also read about these at here and there ... THE SHOCKER AWARDS Whilst I have consistently insisted on the abundance of literary talents in Nigeria, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Awards for Literature held this Saturday October 10, 2009, saw

21. African Trilogy (3): Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe

Title: Arrow of God Author: Chinua Achebe Genre: Novel (Religious, Life, Dystopian) Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 230 Year: 1964 (this edition 1986) Country: Nigeria This is the last of the African Trilogy by Chinua Achebe. Unlike Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease , Arrow of God was set in Umuaro in the years of the colonial period but some years after the Okonkwo era. It has very little to do with Okonkwo, except with the mention of the novel The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger , written by the District Commissioner and a slight reference to some incidents during  Okonkwo's era. All the same, one common thread that runs through all these novels is the clash between the coming of Christianity and the Traditional beliefs system and the complicity of the people in the former. However, Arrow of God tells more than just the clash between beliefs. It tells also of how one man's quest for vengeance led t

Advanced Lobotomy In An Infant Mind

In the Ice Age: stone tool research; hunting techniques fruit-picking technology; story telling In the Nuclear Rage: stem cell research; genetic engineering space technology; nanotechnology —the robotic lobotomy of our prefrontal brain a manipulation of the mind away from reasoning In the laboratories, a father fathers his daughter’s children another slaughters his loins and a mother murders her 6-month old baby because the presumed father refused responsibility or perhaps there is no father the bridge, a suicide zone for teenagers who would, some years ago be playing ampe and hide-and-seek in the Town-Square The skyscrapers tower our senses and the bridge between sense and nonsense dissolves amidst the cityscape —a remnant of the mental mutilation and the circumcision of the land The limbic brain has gradually been realigned with rage and with our complex unfathomable selves alone in the darkness in line with the insidious shrinking of kinship and the circumcision of the mind and the

13 Questions with Henry Ajumeze, a Nigerian Poet

Henry Ajumeze is a Nigerian poet and a proud citizen of Anioma. He was born in he Delta State of Nigeria and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Calabar. His poems have been published in art pages of most Nigerian newspapers and international literary journals and in anthologies such as 'For Ken, For Nigeria', an anthology that was edited by award-winning novelist E.C. Osondu .  Last month his collection of poetry titled Dimples on the Sand was published and has been reviewed on this blog. #1: Can you tell us something about yourself; your background both in literature and out of it...where you went to school and all that? I was born in Ibusa, a town in Anioma region in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. I am enamoured of the history of my ancestors who fought the British and Royal Niger Company in the Ekumeku war for over 12 years. I am impelled to celebrate my ancestors, their chivalry in the Ekumeku Movement, my land--from the farm groove of Ng