Showing posts from April, 2013

April in Review, Projections for May

April was an okay-month. I read a total of five books: two non-fiction, one play, and two novels. Withe the exception of Ian McEwan's Saturday,  I read most of the books I projected to read this month . In place of McEwan's book, I read  The Government Inspector  for The Book and Discussion Club book of the month. Antifragile - Things That Gain from Disorder  by Nassim Nicholas Taleb . This book continues from Black Swan - the Impact of Highly Improbable Events . In this extraordinary, myth-busting book, Nassim discusses how we can position ourselves as individuals, organisations, companies to benefit from such Black Swan events. He also proposes that predictors should have their skin in the game if they are to continue to predict and that the gradually increasing phenomenon where some people take the upside of events whilst others take the downside should be eliminated with we are to build systems that would be antifragile. Economists, forecasters, banksters, and the beli

Call Out: Write for Light

Write for Light is a writing programme that seeks to raise money from book sales towards Light for Children Ghana, a charity that helps disadvantage children in Ghana. To do so, the programme invites individuals from all parts of the world to write a story about a time in their life when they found light in the darkness. This could be overcoming obstacles, finding inner strength to succeed in hard times, finding hope in a hopeless time, etc. Stories sent to Write for Light will be published as a paperback book and also sold as an ebook on Amazon's Kindle. All of the money raised from the sales of the books will go to Light for Children Ghana. Participants of all age groups are encouraged to submit their stories; however, children below 18 will need consent from a parent or guardian before submission. The deadline for submission is May 31, 2013.  Guidelines: The story must be submitted as a Word or PDF document.  It should be at least 500 words (longer submissions are

Yari Yari Ntoaso: Continuing the Dialogue – An International Conference on Literature by Women of African Ancestry

The Organization of Women Writers of Africa (OWWA) and New York  University (NYU), in collaboration with Ghana-based Mbaasem Foundation and the Spanish Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for Africa Foundation), will present Yari Yari Ntoaso:  Continuing the Dialogue – An International Conference on Literature by Women of  African Ancestry. This major conference will put writers, critics and readers from across  Africa, the USA , Europe, and the Caribbean in dialogue with each other in Accra , Ghana , from May 16-19, 2013. More than a dozen emerging and established Ghanaian writers and scholars, including Ama Ata Aidoo, Amma Darko, Ruby Goka, Mamle Kabu, Esi Sutherland-Addy and Margaret Busby will speak about their work on topics ranging from identity, to the craft of writing, to literary activism. These authors will be joined by other international writers such as:  Angela Davis ( USA ), Tess Onwueme ( Nigeria ), Natalia Molebatsi ( South Africa ), Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro

237. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children (Vintage, 1981*; 463) by Salman Rushdie is a magical realism cum historical novel about India and its partitioning. It is also the story of Saleem Sinai, born at midnight of India's independence. However, Sinai was not the only one who was born on the stroke of midnight - the eve of India's independence. Altogether, there were one thousand and one children born at or seconds after midnight and these children have been endowed with the special powers. There is a direct relationship between the time of a child's birth and the strength of the powers he or she receives. The closer the time is to midnight the stronger the powers. Saleem and his arch-nemesis Shiva were born on the stroke of midnight and consequently consider themselves as defacto leaders of the children. However, their vision for the children are in direct conflict with each other; whilst telepathic, runny nose Saleem wants to work with all the children for the common good of India, Shi

Call for Papers - Chinua Achebe: Father of Modern African Literature

There is a call for scholarly articles and papers from Scholars, Critics and Academicians before 31st May 2013. Requirements: The work should be on A4 with Times New Roman font type of size 12; it should be single-spaced and a margin of one-inch on all four sides. The title of the paper should be in bold, centred and in sentence case. the text should be justified. References should the MLA style (only Author-Date or Number System) strictly. Don't use Footnotes, rather use End Notes. The titles of the books should be italicised and the number of pages should range between 6 and 11. The paper should evince serious academic work, contributing new knowledge or innovative critical perspectives on the subject explored. Mode of Submission: Each contributor is advised to send full paper with brief bio-note, declaration and abstract as a single MS-Word email attachments to Selection Procedure: All submissions will be sent for blind peer reviewing.

Kwani? Manuscript Prize Longlist

Nairobi, 12 April 2013: The Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new one-off literary prize for unpublished fiction from African writers, is delighted to announce a longlist of 30 titles. The Kwani? Manuscript Project was launched in April 2012 and called for the submission of unpublished novel manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the diaspora. The prize received over 280 qualifying submissions from 19 African countries. The 30 titles are spread across 10 countries in West Africa, 3; East Africa, 3; Central Africa, 1; and Southern Africa, 3. Kenya led the pack with 7 titles; followed by Nigeria with 6, South Africa with 4, Ghana with 3, Zimbabwe with 3,  and Botswana and Cameroon with 2 each. Liberia, Uganda, and Tanzania both had a title each in the longlist. A Night Without Darkness (Nigeria)   Across the Mongolo (Cameroon)  Azanian Bridges (South Africa / UK) Becoming God (Nigeria)   Born Different (South Africa) Carnivorous City (Nigeria)  Diary of a C

236. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Black Swan - the Impact of the Highly Improbable , the second book in the trilogy referred to as Incerto, discusses rare and consequential events, which, because they occur at the tails are almost always ignored and easily explained away after they have occurred. The experts, in the fullest exhibition of their epistemic arrogance, predict that such events are one-time events and would never occur again and so are always fooled by the randomness of their occurrence. These events, in the 4th quadrant, are extremistan events. In Antifragility - Things That Gain from Randomness (Random House, 2012; 519), Nassim explains how we can benefit from these rare and consequential events by decreasing our downside to it or by employing the technique of skin-in-the-game. The book shows how we can avoid becoming the turkey which was surprised on the 1000th day after having been fed consistently for 999 days.  According to Nassim, Black Swan events are needed to make a

235. Breaking Silence - a Poetic Lifeline from Slavery to Love by James Robert Myers

Breaking Silence (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013; 148), edited by James Robert Myers, as the subtitle suggests, is a collection of poems about slavery and also about love. The anthology has contributions from many varied sources such as Australia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, Spain, United States, South Africa, Belgium, Nigeria and others; however, the majority of the poems is by Ghanaians. The anthology contains such experienced and well-known poets, such as Mbizo Chirasha and Phillip Oyinka (Nana Asaase) and completely new and young voices. However, these youngish voices are not innocent with their words. The idea of bringing love and slavery together is unique and one that could be difficult; for juxtaposing love and slavery requires a lot of balancing and subtle transition. What this anthology portrays is that though massive wrongs were done against a people, though they were inhumanly treated and traded as properties and tools, though on them their masters unl

SHORT STORY: The Lump in Her Throat by Aba Amissah Asibon

This year's reading objective did not include short (single) stories; this excludes short story anthologies. However, when I clicked on the link to this short story, I knew I would read and talk about it.  The Lump in Her Throat  ( Guernica , 2013) by Aba Amissah Asibon is the story of an unnamed but young girl dealing with the effects of her father's death as she goes through her day as any other child with childish tendencies. She, and her suddenly-taciturn standoffish sister, play with their friends in the neighbourhood, as usual, as they share stories (and sometimes the lies) about their lives. Preparations towards the burial of her father is underway; their hair have been shaved, the coffin has been purchased, except that it is of such low quality - unpolished plywood nailed together into the required rectangular box - that she wished she could have purchased the fancy type - polished with golden handles. What makes this story interesting and reminiscent is Aba&

234. Smouldering Charcoal by Tiyambe Zeleza

Smouldering Charcoal  (Heinemann, 1992; 183) by Tiyambe Zeleza belongs to the immediate post-colonial African literature, which includes such texts as Ayi Kwei Armah's The Beautyful Ones are not Yet Born , and Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat . More specifically, it belongs to those collection of works which exposes the disillusionment of independence and questions the integrity and vision of the post-independence leaders, usually the first presidents, who became harsh, corrupt, and more cruel. However, published in the early 1990s, when the equalisation of the genders had become the song and aim of government policies and therefore major themes of every work, the novel could equally be pushed into the social commentary sub-category of African literature aimed at instigating a social change. Consequently,  Smouldering Charcoal is a socio-political novel. But its deficiency is the subliminal and sometimes conspicuous social commentaries it makes. In a word, it is m

March in Review, Projections for April

In my last monthly update, I projected to read only two books : War and Peace  by Leo Tolstoy and  Smouldering Charcoal  by Tiyambe Zeleza (for our Book and Discussion Club). The sheer size of Tolstoy's book made it impossible to meet the average monthly books of 6, for that book alone is worth four books (at an average of 348 books). Per my plan, if I stuck with at least 50 pages a day, it would have taken me 28 days. In the end, it took me a day or two less. In addition to these books, I read one poetry anthology and one short story. The following are the books read: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy . At the macro-level it is a story about a nation; at the micro-level it is a story about some aristocratic families. But there is more to this book than this. It gives an excellent window into life during that Napoleonic war period. Tolstoy also brought in his personal essays on predetermination, free will, power, causes of events, and more. War and Peace is more than a novel. The