Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ehalakasa TalkParty Plus--Be There or Nowhere

This Sunday, July 4, 2010, would be TalkParty Plus. TalkParty is a the name for the meeting of members of the Eha-lakasa poetry movement. Confused? Yes... the spirit moved some individuals in Ghana to take the literary scene, that has for sometime become lethargic, by thrust and literally push it with all the spiritual force it required. Sir Black, Nii Lante, Martin Egblewogbe and many others were there to plant the seed that has today grown to become a force so powerful and defining that it has become the face of the arts in Accra. And judging by the youthfulness of the participants, it is clear that the survival of Ghana's literary front is assured. If those who see themselves as having arrived (and who had always been mentioned whenever people talk about literature in Ghana) would not nurture the youth, the youth would nurture themselves and this is the pot where all the condiments and spices and leaves required for such brew is found.

So back to the meeting. The Ehalakasa movement meets every other Sunday to perform and read out poems and discuss issues. (And there is a user-contributed bar. You would love this part, especially when drinks are laced with roasted groundnut, tatale (fried mashed over-ripe plantain), kelewele (fried ripe plantain doused in spice), and value-added akpeteshie (a locally brewed gin)). In addition to this fortnightly meeting, the group dedicates its platform once a month to performances (less of reading and more of performances) and this Sunday is one of such performance night. You just need to be there.

If you are in Accra, meet us at the Nubuke Foundation, located at the back of Mensvic Hotel (Annex), East Legon. Note that the meeting place was made available to us by Kofi Sertodji, a Ghanaian sculptor and painter. 

Come and witness the flow of passion, the desire to better Ghana through the Arts...come and be part of this exciting movement that is stretching the limits of our literary minds. The Writers' Project of Ghana is part of this as its co-founder, Martin Egblewogbe, is the host of the programme.

Nana Nyarko Boateng, Martin Egblewogbe, Nii Lante, Jawai, Mamacita, Obed Sarpong, Kimi, Nana Fredua-Agyeman, Sir Black, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Nana Tsito, are some of the poets/performers you would meet.

The time is Six O'clock pm. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

After the Poetry Marathon by the Writers' Project of Ghana

The Writers' Project of Ghana, over the weekend, rolled out yet another of its series of workshops for writers in Ghana--this time dubbed 'A Day and Half Poetry Marathon'. Last weekend's edition is the third of its kind this year and focused on writing freely without any inhibitions as far as poetry is concerned. 

The workshop saw many participants producing materials instantly at the workshop on the first day. The second day focused, however, on peer critiquing of one work produced by each participants with Dr. Mawuli Adzei, a writer and lecturer at the University of Ghana English Department, steering affairs.

The project aims to improve the skills of writers, beginners, amateurs and 'already-made' writers.

Report by Obed Sarpong, A Participant Poet, Writer, Radio Host and a Member of the Ehalakasa Poetry TalkParty.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bloodlines from

Most of my postings had been from authors from the African continent in accordance to my agenda, which is to promote African Literature. Yet, there are some Africans and in diaspora and other African Americans whose works fall into the category of African Literature, most especially if the theme of the writings are related to Africans and some of the Authors also comes from the continent.

One such book is Bloodlines. According to Veronica Henry, the editor of bloodlines and co-founder of, bloodlines is a collection of fourteen (14) short stories collected through a contest launched by the website, challenging writers to submit pieces that reflects the diverse imagery of our worldwide communities and featuring a main character of African descent. I had a short interview with her and these are what she had to say:

What is the book about
The book is actually a collection, spanning all genres (literary, mystery, sci-fi & fantasy, & romance) and subject matters. Authors--all of African descent, hail from the U.S., Canada, Niger, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago and England.

How did you come to put together such an anthology
The book was the result of a contest we ran through the website, calling on authors of African descent from across the globe to submit work that featured a main character/setting of African descent. We took the best entries (with judging help from fantasy author Charles Saunders) from the contest, plus one of my previously published pieces.

Is this your first book? Any in the pipeline?
I simply edited the book, and it is the first publication for the website. We are considering doing another contest and publication later this year, but are still undecided. Publishing, even self-publishing, can be costly. As for me personally, I have 3 short stories published and 2 novels. I'm currently shopping one of my novels to agents.

What made you want to put together this book?
The general lack of diversity that I see in publishing, both in terms of published authors of African descent and the types of stories told us.

What is the agenda of
My partner and I launched the website after tracing our African ancestry (through DNA testing) to Sierra Leone. We not only wanted to reconnect with our ancestral home, but understood the power of that reconnection for all people of African descent. 

What do you intend to achieve with your site?
The website is aimed at providing news and information that will allow us to learn more about each other, the first steps in bridging the gaps of time and space that separate us. Our goal is to see a united African diaspora.

Also tell us anything you think is interesting...
Just a little about us. My partner is a graphic designer and owner of and more afro-centric spinoff, Folks really seem to love his Adinkra symbols line. I am a former IBM'er turned writer and web entrepreneur. Eric does the graphics and layouts for our websites, while I do the code and maintenance. is a cultural news and information website targeted at members of the African diaspora and was co-founded by Veronica Henry and Eric Deal after DNA testing revealed their ancestral link to Sierra Leone, West Africa. For more information, they may be contacted at:

ImgeNations would be reviewing Bloodlines soon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

At the Night with Efua Sutherland

The Literary Night organised to celebrate the works and achievement of Efua T. Sutherland, author of the famous play Marriage of Anansewaa took place at the foyer of National Theatre. And to celebrate someone who worked hard to establish the Arts and through whose effort and works the National Theatre was established, at the foyer, and not the Main Hall, of the National Theatre shows the level of significance we, as a country, attach to the Arts in General. Most often certain individuals who think they are helping the literary front have taken the arts as another form of entertainment and therefore offer peanuts. They use it to unwind and destress rather than seeing it as a creative force with the capacity of changing the psyche of a whole nation and acting as a vehicle of change and progress. Besides, since no one would want to spend half of his entire earnings on entertainment the government has also made it a point not to spend an appreciable amount on the development of the Arts; after all it is only another form of entertainment. Yet, the Germans talk of Goethe, Irish mentions Beckett and Elliot and all these figures saw to the physical, intellectual, spiritual and economic development of their countries through the Arts. Tourism have developed around these key literary personalities and it is the nation that stands to reap these gains.

Back to the Literary night. The foyer itself was less a quarter filled and children made up a chunk of this quarter and when the time came for them to leave the place seemed almost empty. The evening began at the exact time of 6:30 pm with cultural performances that was greeted with some sort of applauds. As usual there were prayers to begin the whole show and the programme itself was interspersed with performances from children from the Action Chapel. My problem with the latter is that to assume that every person present falls within the domain of the Christian faith is to believe that every individual present there had the same name. It is absurd. Events like these should be devoid of excessive display of religious jargons such as Amens and Hallelujahs. The MC was a pastor too.

After the prayer, children from the Mmofra Foundation performed a play accompanied by song. It was very interesting and had it not been the absence of a microphone to magnify their soft voices, which made it difficult to hear them even from the third row, it would have been one of the best performances of the night. The Chairman of the night was Prof. Stephen Adei of GIMPA. His speech challenged us to take to the globalisation table something that is unique to us and not just be consumers.

Prof. Adams of the W.E.B. Dubois Centre gave a speech that ended with Prof. Anyidoho's reading of a poem written to celebrate Efua T. Sutherland.
The evening ended with the review of the Marriage of Anansewaa by Dr Efua Sutherland--daughter of Efua T. Sutherland--and Prof. Abena Busia. It was moderated by Demay, the organiser of the literary night. The programme ended at about quartre to 10:00 pm.
I thought a more critical review of her works would have been proper accompanied by a question and answer section. Or a paly excerpts from the reviewed book would also have sufficed. The background had no picture of the personality who was being celebrated. A Nigerian friend poet of mine, Henry Ajumeze, came to the grounds to purchase the book on review for his research project and there was none. The latter was really important and was commented upon by Dr. Efua Sutherland.
Presents were: Dr Efua Sutherland, Prof. Stephen Adei, Prof. Abena Busia, Prof. Atukwei Okai and his wife, Prof. Adams and Prof. Anyidohu.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Called by a Book

I went to the University of Ghana, specifically to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness,  to check on some issues. While leaving, and I must say it was also drizzling, and having got to the main entrance, something questioned me whether I have visited the bookshop. And immediately two books came to mind: Osiris Rising and The Healers, both by Ayi Kwei Armah. The latter book I even voiced it out. The last time I went there I purchased Two Thousand Seasons and Fragments (by the same author). So I undertook the long walk back to the bookshop and there it was 'The Healers', sitting quietly in its rack, calling to me, saying pick me up please and as an obedient Bibliophile I picked it up and began looking for its brother/sister, 'Osiris Rising'. But the latter, I could not find and I know it would call out to me wherever it is.

The price tag of this book was Ghana Cedis 20 or about US$ 14.

The Healers, Ayi Kwei Armah's fifth novel after Two Thousand Seasons, was first published in 1978. However, this copy was published by Per Ankh in 2000.

At the Back
'The Healers' tells a story of conflict and regeneration focused on a group with a chosen vocation: to replace the toxic ignorance that breeds ethnic, class and caste divisions with the healing knowledge of African unity.

The time: late nineteenth-century Africa. Three centuries of Slaving Wars have destroyed Africa to enrich Europe and America. Now European armies push to partition Africa for more systematic colonial pillage. The continent resists. But because its traditional elites see themselves not as part of one human community but as members of hostile micronational, ethnic, class and caste groups, Africa's defenses lie shattered.

For The Healers, the cause of Africa's subjugation is clear: the poisons of division have eaten deep. The antidote is equally obvious. The time has come to replace the destructive, obsolete rituals of division with the creative work of unifiers.

This book is available at amazon. Click here

Celebrating Efua Sutherland
The National Theatre, on Friday 25th June 2010, would be the place where the works and achievement of ace Ghanaian playwright, Efua Sutherland, would be celebrated. There would also be the review of her book Marriage of Anansewaa.

As a literary night, there would also be music, drama and poetry. The time for the event is 6:30pm and admission is free. All are welcome.
Read my review here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Poetry Marathon at the University of Ghana

The Writers Project of Ghana is organising a day and half poetry workshop at the Reading Room of the Legon Hall at University of Ghana, Legon on 26th and 27th June 2010. There would be a poetry marathon on the first day and then on the second day written poems would be workshopped. 

The time is 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on the 26th June, and 12' noon to 5:00 pm on the 27th June.

If you are within the neighbourhood of Accra, kindly make it a point to attend. Come and let's push the literary front of Ghana. To confirm your participation please send an email to m.egblewogbe(at)gmail(dot)com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Opening a Bookshop

I have had this passion for a very long time. A passion to open a bookshop that would sell literary books at a low price to literary followers. The idea would incorporate the holding of book readings, literary meetings and workshops and with time the hosting of literary events. With our own website and other programs, it would be possible to have bookclub for different age categories, book discussions and prizes so that we can encourage reading in Ghana and improve the literary front. 

If you have such interest mail me at freduagyeman(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Listening to Kojo Laing from Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters

Today I bring you some quotes from Kojo Laing's latest novel, Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters.

Destiny is such a selfish thing: it not only achieves itself when particular things happen, but also when the opposite of everything is realized.

The minute you locked yourself in ultimate certainty you lost a great deal of your freedom.

The minute you thought there was greater excitement in uncertainty and in determinacy then you were severely limiting your freedom.

When all facts get finished you then entered the insights.

The thing about divinity was that the minute you discovered or invented such presence, it took on a life of its own and exhorted worship and doctrine as constant means of re-creation and re-experience.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Acquisitions

Last Friday I happen to pass by the Accra Mall, and the Silverbirds store attracted me. The books pulled me and without looking left or right I entered the store. In the store, I headed directly towards the African Fiction section and I was glad to see new books from established writers such as Atukwei Okai (Lorgoligi Logarithms and Oath of the Fontomfrom), Wole Soyinka and many others filling the spaces in the shelves.

Whilst searching for nothing in particular I came across two books which I couldn't prevent myself from buying. There are books whose price tag, no matter how absurd they seem, cannot, in no way whatsoever, prevent the book-addict from buying. One such book was Chimamanda's The Thing Around Your Neck, though I think it was more out of pure passion to collect this author's works than the quality of the book, as I have not at that point in time read any synopsis of it.

So in my search for nothing I came across Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Them and Wole Soyinka's You Must Set Forth At Dawn.

Say You Are One of Them (Uwem Akpan):
Finally I have a book that has officially been recommended by Oprah Winfrey. Though I have not read this novel, I have heard a lot of good reviews about this book and I couldn't prevent myself from picking it up. The prize tag of this book was 38.50 Ghana Cedis (close to US$ 27). This copy was published by Bookcraft.

Akpan reveals Africa's pain, pity, joy and grace, and comes closer to the truth about modern Africa than the entire outpourings of the Western mass media--GUARDIAN

Left me gasping--Oprah Winfrey

Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut collection of five long stories set in war-torn Africa. Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing...--Publishers Weekly

The humor, the endurance, the horrors and grace-Akpan has captured all of it...The stories are not only amazing and moving, and imbued with a powerful moral courage--they are also surprisingly expert... Beautifully constructed, stately in a way that offsets their impoverished scenarios. Akpan wants you to see and feel Africa, its glory and its pain. And you do, which makes this an extraordinary book.--O Magazine

Akpan's Africa is a messy violent place... and its innocent kids are what pull at our heartstrings.--The Guardian

[A] Startling debut collection... [Akpan] fuses knowledge of African poverty and strife wit a conspicuously literary approach to storytelling, filtering tales of horror through the wide eyes of the young--Tower Books

Uwem Akpan writes with a political fierceness and a humanity so full of compassion it might just change the world. His is a burning talent.--Chris Abani

An important literary debut... juxtaposed against the clarity and revelation in Akpan's prose-as translucent a style as I've read in a long while-we find subjects that nearly render the mind helpless and throw the heart into a hopeless erratic rhythm our of fear, our of pity, out of the shame of being only a few degrees of separation removed from these monstrous modern circumstances... The reader discovers that no hiding place is good enough with these stories battering at your mind and heart--Chicago Tribune

Awards and Achievement
Published in 2008, the book has won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book, Africa Region; PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Fr. Uwem was also nominated for the (UK) Guardian First Book Award and for the Caine Prize for African Writing. He is the first Nigerian writer to win the Prestigious Oprah Winfrey Bookclub endorsement.

Biography of Author
Fr. Uwem was born in Ikot Akpan Eda, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. After attending Queen of Apostles' Minor Seminary, Afaha Obong, he studied at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, USA, and at Hekima College, Kenya. Ordained in 2003, he received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. 

You Must Set Forth at Dawn, Memoirs (Wole Soyinka)
A friend gave me an old version of this book but I decided to get a copy that I could call my own. Since I have not read any book by the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, a prize tag of of 44.90 Ghana Cedis (US$ 32) could not put me off. Memoirs help us to know the make-up of authors and more especially if it is an autobiography rather than a biography. I don't believe Wole Soyinka needs any introduction, though I know there are some individuals who call themselves booklovers but have not heard of this great son of Africa. To such individuals I would beg of them to search and read him. The copy I have was jointly published by Bookcraft and Aybia Clarke Publishing Ltd.

If the spirit of African democracy has a voice and a face, they belonged to Wole Soyinka--Henry Louis Gates, jnr.

Bread, Justice, and the bread of the heart-which is the beauty of Literature, the written word-Wole Soyinka fulfills all these--Nadine Gordimer (Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1991)

As much a political history as it is an autobiography, this candid memoir....with the passionate close-up view of the past and the valuable insights. a must for anyone concerned with human rights and the global web of oil, poverty and corruption--Hazel ROCHMAN

Set Forth at Dawn gives us a measure of the author's humanity and values. Both have been honed in our country. He has been made by Nigeria as much as he has defined its conscience--Chief Emeka ANYAOKU, Former Commonwealth  Secretary-General

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Great Writer Has been Born--Irene Sabatini

My post on June 8, 2010 was titled 'The Zimbabwe I know'. In that post I bemoaned, partially, what has now become Zimbabwe; of the human right abuses and our complicity in it and our failure to recognise the good things that is Zimbabwe. I then went ahead to chastised people for treading the path of the media moguls for painting Zimbabwe dark. I especially talked about the literary talents that abound in Zimbabwe and the need for us to talk about it, shout about it and inform all. Today I have been vindicated.

Whilst surfing the net, I came across the blog entry 'Zimbabwe Writer Wins 2010 Orange Award for New Writers' at the blog 'Wealth of Ideas' managed by Emmanuel Sigauke, co-editor for the first StoryTime anthology 'Africa Roar'. I was happy and quickly went ahead to read and checked out this wonderful author. 

Irene Sabatini won her category with the book 'The Boy Next Door'. According to the Chair  Judge, Di Speirs,
'At the heart a love story, it is also so much more as, through the experiences of its charismatic protagonists, it charts the first two decades of the emerging Zimbabwe with honesty, humor and humanity. Irene Sabatini has written and important book that will enchant readers and which marks the emergence of a serious new talent.' 
What more can I add after this! Read it for yourself here...

As Zimbabwe breaks free of British colonial rule, young Lindiwe Bishop encounters violence at close hand when her white neighbour is murdered. But this is domestic crime, apparently committed by the woman's stepson, Ian, although he is released from prison surprisingly quickly. Intrigued, Lindiwe strikes up a covert friendship with the mysterious boy next door, until he abruptly departs for South Africa. Read the rest here....

About Irene Sabatini
Irene Sabatini was born in a coal mining town in south-western Zimbabwe. She grew up in Bulawayo. She left Bulawayo for Harare to attend university. After university she went to Colombia where she stayed for four years working as teacher and studying for her masters. Soon after that she started writing. According to her "The writing seemed to just spiral out of me, and if I had to pick a time when I really started this journey it would be that wonderful quiet morning on a verandah so many years ago in the Colombian countryside." Read more about this author here....

To reiterate my earlier post, let's come together and promote literature on the continent. This continent has a lot of stories that could be churned out in droves. Through literature we can solve most the problems we are facing as a continent. We can educate our children, induce a positive attitudinal change, and influence positively the thinking of posterity. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Other Crucifix by Benjamin Kwakye

Benjamin Kwakye was born in Accra, Ghana. He attended Dartmouth College and then the Harvard Law School. His first novel The Clothes of Nakedness was published by Heinemann in 1998 and it won the 1999 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region). It was also adapted for radio as a BBC Play of the Week. His second novel, The Sun by Night was published in 2005 by Africa World Press. It also won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa Region).

Kwakye's latest novel The Other Crucifix, published by Ayebia Clarke Publishing would be released on June 30, 2010.

The Other Crucifix is a unique epic novel and a welcome addition to the existing genre on the African immigrant experience in America. The novel chronicles the minutiae of the American college experience. It reveals how the most intimate details of the recollection of the protagonist's immersion in that culture leads to his alienation from home and as the years pass by, memories of Africa fade until his Uncle Kusi's death in a coup d'etat. This novel moulds the complex connections, alienations and contradictions inherent in human relations into a pulsating panorama of the African immigration experience in America.

The issue of identity has become a problem and it is one that could be shared by many homes in Africa, especially those which have a relation 'abroad'. Most often, after years of sojourn, they return home with different attitudes and mentality that sometimes affect their speech, their walk, their thinking and every aspect of their living. Thus they undergo social, cultural, spiritual, and physical changes. How are such individuals, who sometimes pretend not to be able to pronounce names of places where they were born, received in such societies. People sometimes watch with awe, whilst others call him names. How then should one balance himself between these two societies? 

It is my belief that with time Africans would come to cherish writings from the continent. We are making a mark and it is a mark that would make posterity proud. Let's all support our writers as they set down to document the happenings in society for even science fictions have elements of reality in them. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Quotes from Two Thousand Seasons

One book I enjoyed reading most is Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah. Whilst reading the book I penned down some phrases that could serve as quotes and today I am serving you with some of these. Thus, in the coming days I would be bringing you quotes from different books I have read.

A people losing sight of origins are dead. A people deaf to purposes are lost. Under fertile rain, in scorching sunshine there is no difference: their bodies are mere corpses, awaiting final burial.

Woe the race, too generous in the giving of itself, that finds a road not of regeneration but to its own extinction. Woe the race, woe the spring. Woe the headwaters, woe the seers, the hearers, woe the utterers. Woe the flowing water, people hustling to death.

It is not easy to hide any kind of love and young love loathes disguise.

Dishonest words are the food for the rotten spirits.

Purpose lends wings to the traveller.

To them that know their destination fatigue is a brief stranger merely passing in the glare of day.

A copy of this book could be obtained from amazon.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Zimbabwe I Know

Since the day Chinua Achebe published is classic novel, Things Fall Apart, African literature has enjoyed a stupendous growth that had our economies progressed along such trajectory, even at an infinitesimal level, we sure would be amongst the world's 'haves' and not amongst the 'have nots' as we currently find ourselves. Chimamanda Adichie has professed of the inspiration she got from this book and that it was this book that made her know that people with skin colour like hers can also be in books. 

In recent times news about and/or form Zimbabwe have always been political with some humanitarian  tragedy or human rights abuse twist to it. It is difficult to hear these media talking about the the greatness of this nation of stones, about the talents that abound in the country. And whilst these media giants are eagerly propagating the negatives, because that is where the news is juicy, we also follow their trail and talk negatively about it. About the human rights abuses (though G. Bush has the worst human right record), about the dictatorial regime that has become Zimbabwe, (though in the US every call can and is eavesdropped according to the PATRIOTS ACT), about every negative that we hear or is told us. 

We also hardly talk about our positives. Yet, there are many young and talented writers in that country. Many who should command our respect. My interest to promote African Literature has brought to my notice many of such writers and these individuals take their work serious. I am not here to talk about all the Zimbabwean writers I have met on this blogosphere but to bring to your notice one particular Zimbabwean writer whose work marvelled many.

Tsitsi Dangaremba
Some years ago the Zimbabwean Literary Foundation (ZLF) came out with their list of Africa's 100 best novels of the 20th century and amongst them was Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions (released in 1988). This novel made waves and was well received. However, Miss Dangarembga never added to this well received novel until in 2006 when she published The Book of Not as a sequel to the Nervous Condition.

The Book of Not as a sequel to Nervous Conditions traces 'Tambu's continuing quest to redefine the personal, political and historical forces that threaten to destroy the fabric of her community--and reveals how its aftermath still bedevils Africans today. Dangaremba's language sparkles and dances on the page as she delves into the education system, the liberation struggle and attitudes of contemporary Zimbabwean in an incisive and insightful examination of a system calculated to destabilize the sense of self. Read the rest here...'

Speaking for the Generations: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Stories

Once again a new anthology has been published. Yes, African literature is on the rise and we hope that this momentum would be maintained. The names alone speak for itself, for the future of African writing is secure and safe. 

This is a forty-eight-story anthology by 15 African writers. This anthology aims to represent the best of contemporary African short stories written in English. Some of the writers are Benjamin Kwakye, Tijan Sallah, Zahra Ramij, Freddy Macha, Arja Salafranca, Odun Balogun, Tanure Ojaide, Jackee Budesta Batanda, Lola Shoneyin, Mohamed Said Raihani and Omar Akikli. The younger generation has also been represented and these include Kondwani Kamiyala, Ayobami Adebayo, Prince Mensah, Dipita Kwa, and Khadija El Younossi.

The anthology was edited by Dike Okoro, who is a Professor of English and World Literature at the Olive-Harvey College.

Read the full report here..... Get your copy from this link...

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Old and the New, Women Writers in Africa

I have been surfing and reading some stories on the net today and I would want to share with you these two authors who have entertained readers with good novels and plays. One is amongst the old generation of writers, in the class of the Achebe's and Soyinka's and the other is amongst the new generation of authors, and both are women.

Ama Ata Aidoo (author of 'Anowa' and 'The Dilemma of the Ghost') recently visited Nigeria and was interviewed by Molara Wood. This is an interesting and intellectual interview that digs deep into the author. She talks about her life's works, her present work, her thoughts concerning the new generation of authors and the problem with the literary arts in Ghana. She also talked about her childhood, the influence of Efua Sutherland and many others. Read the full interview here....

Chimamanda Adichie (Author of 'Half of a Yellow Sun' and 'The Thing Around Your Neck') has also been interviewed on She talked about a wide range of issues both personal and literary. If you want to know more about the author please read the full interview here....

Recently Chimamanda Adichie was voted by the New York Times as one of the top 20 authors below the age of forty who are worth watching. Read the full list here...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Own First Attempt by Felix Brambaifa

Not many writers get the chance to get their work published. The publishing industry is almost as impregnable as anything one can think of, especially to writers of fiction and poetry. In this capitalist oriented world that we live in, publishers would want to publish works that would give them the highest returns. This has left most potential authors, including this writer, to their own fate. However, if one should breakthrough they troop to publish everything he or she would write. 

Whereas some become bitter and leave the writing scene altogether or even write only for a select few, those whom he can read to, others also take the painstaking approach of self-publication. One thing about such a path is that promotion of the published book becomes a problem.

Felix Brambaifa is one of such authors who has taken upon himself, the tortuous and arduous task of self publishing his book. And he has done it. Yes! Mr. Brambaifa has published is very first book titled 'My Own First Attempt'. Please don't look at this name and wonder what the story is going to be. Don't just wipe him off for even Wole Soyinka became who he is because people read him. Every great author owes his greatness to his readers. Hence, if you don't purchase his book and read, how would he grow? How would he be known and, more importantly, how would you know that he writes good.

'My Own First Attempt' is a collection of five short stories. 
EKADI: People make mistakes, the decision they make become their own undoing. Ekadi was one of such people; his mistake was his own wife. The trouble in his life blessing his every moment with pains. He had the chance to make it right but hesitated until she became his end. 
EZE LANE: About life in the inside of poverty, where people fear morality, forsake conscience for the need to survive. A tale of how an adult takes advantage of an underage girl and how nemesis came calling after him.
OKORO: An old fool who decided against common sense to invest time and money on a girl, old enough to be his grand daughter for the reward of marriage at the end of her education, only to realise that the treachery of youth is deception.

Get yourself a copy and enjoy every bit of it. Click here to get yourself a copy.... and follow the author on facebook by clicking here...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Various Reviews of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death

I have been talking about Nnedi's Who Fears Death for sometime. Though I have not yet read this novel, those who have have reviewed it and praised it. Again it falls within the agenda of ImageNations as a medium of promoting African Literature. I saw these various reviews on Nnedi's official website and I have decided to bring it to you.

You can read my blog entry of Nnedi's Who Fears Death here.

Publishers Weekly: Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu--whose name means "Who fears death?"--was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. (Click here to continue reading the review).

New York Journal of Books: In post-apocalyptic Africa in the Seven Rivers Kingdom, there are two peoples: the Nuru and the Okeke. The Great Book explains how the Goddess Ani created the world and the Okeke people, who are the color of night because they existed before there was day. Halfway through her creation, the goddess turned her back and rested. Meanwhile, behind her back, the Okeke multiplied and were creative, inventive, and became technologically advanced. When the goddess awoke and discovered this, she was enraged and created the Nuru people from the stars with skin " the color of the sun" to cast light upon the Okeke and to enslave them for their impudence. This belief has been the situation for countless generations. Now an Okeke uprising has pitted the two races against each other...and the Okeke are losing. (Click here to continue reading the review).

RT Review: Who Fears Death is unlike anything this reviewer has ever read. Onyesonwu is an unforgettable character with powerful, exciting, sad and amazing story. The cadence and rhythm of her narrative voice draws the reader in and won't let go. Okorafor is a master storyteller who combines recent history, fantasy, tradition, advance technology and culture into  something wonderful and new that should not be missed. (Click here to continue reading the review).

Neth Space: Sometimes a book can’t be easily classified, and that can be a good thing. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (Book Depository, Powell's  Books, Indiebound), her first novel aimed squarely at an adult audience, is one such book. Is it urban fantasy? Well no, it’s set in mostly rural setting, but certainly shares some characteristics. Is it epic fantasy? There is a quest, there is a group undertaking said quest, there are sorcerers and the equivalent of a dark lord, but few who read Who Fears Death would classify it as epic fantasy. Is it World Fantasy? Well, it isn’t the usual Western fantasy with its European and/or American roots – but World Fantasy is a pretty meaningless term and equally unclassifiable. (Click here to read the rest of the review). 

Enjoy reading all these reviews. Visit Nnedi's official website to read more about her.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Africa-wide Short Story Call Out by Kwani

Kwani Trust (meaning Why Not?), is dedicated to nurturing and developing Kenya’s and Africa’s intellectual, creative and imagination resources through strategic literary interventions. In this regard, especially to the latter, Kwani Press is calling out for Short Stories from all over Africa. 

Submission criteria:
  • Deadline: 31st June 2010
  • Word count: 3000 – 8000 words.
  • Theme: ‘The Africa I Live In’.
  • This is adult fiction (in the sense that it is not ‘children’s fiction’). 
  • Since we are targeting a certain generation, we will only accept entries from writers born after 1978.
  • The work ought to be in English or ‘Englishes’ – particularly since we are not making translations.
  • The story must be ‘new’ in the sense that it is ‘unpublished in book form’ (We will accept submissions which have previously been published in magazines.)
  • Please send submissions by email, attached as a WORD doc, to
  • Published authors will be paid a fee of $100. 
Formatting Guidelines :
  • Name of author (Times New Roman, 12. Bold left justified)
  • Contact address, telephone number and email (Times New Roman, 12. Bold, left justified)
  • Title of short story (Times New Roman 14, bold, centered).2
  • The story should be in Times New Roman, black, size 12, justified, 1.5 line spacing.
  • Page numbers and name of author on every page please.
  • Word count at the end of the story, bold and left justified.
If your story is chosen for any of the Kwani? publications, we will ask you to provide a few
sentences about yourself and your work (around 200 words)

Read more about this call out on their homepage...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Featured post

Njoroge, Kihika, & Kamiti: Epochs of African Literature, A Reader's Perspective

Source Though Achebe's Things Fall Apart   (1958) is often cited and used as the beginning of the modern African novel written in E...