Showing posts from September, 2012

Two Books and a Reading

Chuma On Septeber 26, 2012 I attended a book reading organised by the Writers Project of Ghana at the Goethe Institute dubbed the Ghana Voices Series. There I happened to meet one of Nigeria's great writers Chuma Nwokolo, whose short story Quarterback and Co  I read and reviewed in the first edition of the African Roar anthology . If there was an author who was in charge of his work and who read with passion, vigour and complete control, it was Chuma Nwokolo. I followed Chuma on his facebook page ever when I read that phantasmagorical short story of his and heard of his works, some; however, I never really took the time to search more about him. In fact, after that short story, perhaps because I erroneously thought most of the contributors were new authors, I didn't delve deeper into any of them until recently when his collection of short stories - The Ghost of Sani Abacha - popped up again. Chuma read from this and also from his Diaries of a Dead African and a poem

192. The Repudiation by Rashid Boudjedra

Repudiation (Three Continent Press, 1995 (First Pub. 1969); 195) by Rashid Boudjedra investigates the lives of a people from the home to the nation-state. This focused investigation begins at the mirco or family level and progresses gradually, adding on several limbs, to the macro or national level. Regardless of the issues being investigated – religion, sex and sexual orientation, the state, plight and rights of women in a patriarchal state – the theme of ‘repudiation’ runs through them all. Boudjedra investigated the Algerian family unit in certain chosen facets. At this level, he discussed three main issues which are also characteristic of the larger society. The first is the repudiation of women in the household by their husbands; the Algerian family household, like most households in Africa, is of the compound model where sons and daughters and husbands and wives live with cousins and nephews and aunts and uncles and grandparents with, mostly, an older male playing the

Your Prediction for this Year's Nobel Prize in Literature

It is that time of the year when followers and lovers of literature begin to predict or speculate about the possible winner(s) of the highest award in literature - the Nobel Prize in Literature. Every year several names pop up at several sites and blogs in articles that explain why one author deserves to be awarded more than the other and why others need not to be awarded . In fact, some of the arguments, debates and discussions have been geocentric with some readers and followers bashing the Swedish panel for being too Eurocentric ; this is because no American has won the award since 1993 when Toni Morrison - that intelligent writer and Champion of the African (sorry) Black American history - won the award, though several names like Philip Roth, Bob Dylan, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon are always bandied about at various places. Since the award began in 1901, only four Africans have won the award;  Wole Soyinka , 1986; Naguib Mahfouz , 1988; Nadine Gordimer , 2001

191. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

There are some books that have been widely read and which have become a cult onto themselves that what one says can do nothing to change perspectives, more especially if one is only adding on to the positive reviews that abounds. The Godfather  (Signet, 1978 (First Pub. 1969); 443) by Mario Puzo is one such book and I don't intend to do any detailed review or analyses of the book. Much has already been done. All I want to say is I read and enjoyed this book. My sympathy towards the Corleones sometimes made me feel that I am also a maniac for aside all the Luca Brasi did, the Don still appealed to me. Puzo's writing does that; he makes you have sympathy for the protagonist even if he is involved in several illegalities. I like Michael and the way he handled issues and how he did away with the threat towards the empire. There is nowhere where the phrase 'honour amongst thieves' has more meaning that in this story of the Sicilian Mafia and their rise in the United S

190. Unjumping by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Unjumping  (erbacce-press, 2010; 36) is a collection of poems by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva. The poems in this collection are diverse in themes but are all short and pithy. Beverley succeeds in putting a lot with few words. Themes range from love, sexual harassment, politics, motherhood and more. The first poem which is the title poem talks about regret and that proverbial impossibility of unwinding of time. It is a wish to get a clean slate and to begin life anew. Undo Me  is a plea by a woman, perhaps to her loved one, for reconciliation and fulfilment of their love. This love piece of just six lines and twenty-eight words show is an example of how much Beverley could put into a poem with a few words. Please Boss  is a piece that recounts some of the sexual harassment that goes on at workplaces. Beverley found a way of putting humour in a rather humourless and tensed situation. She writes Please if  we must Then not on the desk You're the boss You deserve the

Man Booker 2012 Shortlist Announced

The Man Booker Prize shortlist for this year has been announced (today, September 11, 2012). The shortlisted books were selected from a longlist of 12 books . The following are books selected by the judges chaired by Sir Peter Stothard: Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists   (Myrmidon Books) Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories/Faber & Faber) Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies   (Fourth Estate) Alison Moore, The Light House   (Salt) Will Self, Umbrella   (Bloomsbury) Jeet Thayil, Nacropolis   (Faber & Faber) According to Peter Stothard After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of twelve, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates. We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose - and in the visible confidence of the novel's place in forming our words and ideas. Trivias The shortlist includes two debut novels (Alison Moor

Young Blood by Sifizo Msobe wins the 2012 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa

From a longlist of 15 books to a shortlist of 3 , South African Sifizo Msobe has emerged as the winner of the 2012 edition of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa with his book Young Blood  beating Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo ( Roses and Bullets ) and Bridget Pitt ( The Unseen Leopard ). Sifizo takes home the US$ 20,000 prize award; the ceremony was held at the Civic Centre, Lagos on September 8, 2012 and was attended by the former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kuffuor.

189. A Month and a Day & Letters by Ken Saro-Wiwa

The Ogoni people number about 500,000 and are a separate and distinct ethnic grouping in Nigeria; since the arrival of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited in 1958, the Ogoni land has been producing oil for the greater good of the country. However, from the over 40 billion dollars the country was estimated to have earned from oil, the Ogoni people received nothing; instead, their lands and water bodies and forest resources have been misappropriated, polluted, and used at will by Shell working in complicit with the military regime running the country at the time. Like a classic case of the Dutch Disease, the wealth of this community has triggered extreme poverty amongst the denizens and with no pipe-borne water, electricity, tarred roads, schools, clinics, they are unarguably the most poorest of communities in Nigeria. To cap it all, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria employs none of the people of Ogoni at any meaningful level. Devoid of the lands for farming and a

Shortlist of 10 for the Nigeria Prize (NLNG) for Literature 2012

The Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature led by Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo has announced an initial shortlist of 10 books in the running for the 2012 literature prize. According to the Chair of Judges, Prof. Francis Abiola Irele, it took months of intensive scrutiny by the panel to produce the shortlist drawn from 214 entries from Nigerians at home and abroad; this happens to be the largest number received since the prize was inaugurated in 2004. The following are the shortlisted books: Ngozi Achebe Onaedo :  The Blacksmith's Daughter Ifeanyi Ajaegbo: Sarah House Jude Dibia: Blackbird Vincent Egbuson: Zhero Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: I do not Come to You by Chance Onuora Nzekwu: Troubled Dust Olusola Olugbesan: Only Canvas Lola Shoneyin : The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives E E Sule: Sterile Sky Chika Unigwe: On Black Sister's Street The Advisory Board announced that the final shortlist will be released soon. The Nigeria Prize for Literature r

Shortlist for the 2012 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa

The Lumina Foundation has announced the shortlist of the Wole Soyinka Prize 2012 for Literature in Africa. The longlist of 15 books have been whittled down to 3, with the winner to be announced on September 8, 2012 at the Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe in Nigeria. The shortlisted books are: The Unseen Leopard by Bridget Pitt (South Africa) Roses and Bullets by Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (Nigeria) Young Blood by Sifiso Mzobe Read more about the award here .

August in Review, Projections for September

August happened to be another slow month (looks like the second half of the year is not going that well). To begin with, I read only one of the four books I decided to read  and other three unscheduled books. That's I didn't stick to my reading plan. At 4 books and 898 pages, I recorded my lowest reading average this year with only 25 pages per day, half as much that of the target. Can I attribute this to excessive watching of TV? You know our president died in the last week of July and was buried in August, so I was glued to my set. A good excuse? Nah! The following were the books read: A Month and a Day & Letters by Ken Saro-Wiwa . This book recounts the last days of this human rights activist who was arrested by Nigeria's president Ibrahim Babangida and sentenced to death by hanging by General Sani Abacha. It talks about his life in prison, how he cope and his work with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and his struggle against Shell, t