Showing posts from August, 2013

August in Review, Projections for September

Reading has become a part of me, through dedication and perseverance. I am not one of those whose home overflowed with books. There was none, almost. Not that my parents were illiterates. They weren't. My mother retired as a Principal Nursing Officer. No problem. But that was the days nurses were almost paid in coins and so there were more important things to think about than filling-up a bookshelf with fiction. First, there was school, good but affordable school, to consider. If you thought my father who described himself as a farmer, with no commercial farm, was an illiterate you should see his signature; his handwriting is a thing to envy, the best in the family. He thought us how to read. My reading book - the school-text - was defaced and plastered all over such that even with a microscope you cannot identify the colour nor the text on the cover. If books could cry, that 'Here is Aku' book could have wept gallons. Hang on, I am not reviewing my family. I am review

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize

About the Prize   Commonwealth Writers has re-focused its prizes to concentrate only on the Short Story. It will no longer offer the Commonwealth Book Prize. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part of  Commonwealth Writers  the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation . Commonwealth Writers develops the craft of individual writers and builds communities of emerging voices which can influence the decision-making processes affecting their lives. The Prize aims to identify talented writers who will go on to inspire their local communities. There will be five winners, one from each region. One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5,000   and the remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money:  £2,000 for the overall winning story and £1,000 for a regional winning story.

Readers' Top Ten - Kinna Reads

Last week I introduced a new series I wanted to run on ImageNations called  Readers' Top Ten . I said one of its aims was to introduce readers to the rich literature Africa has to offer. The series begins today with Kinna Reads.  About Kinna:  Kinna is a book blogger at  Kinna Reads  among many other things. On her blog Kinna says I grew up in literary, bookish household. I love books, reading, nurturing and developing my appreciation for the art form. I read mostly fiction, both contemporary and classic. I really  enjoy world literature. I'm partial to women writers and their works, especially African women writers. Below is Kinna's Top Ten . Note that I have linked the titles and authors to posts within ImageNations, where available. My views and Kinna's might not be the same and so beware when reading them. ____________________________ Where do I begin?  So first, I consider this blog’s owner, Nana Fredua, a friend.   He is reader kin. And the best ki

254. A Review Interview of 'A Heart's Quest by Elikplim Akorli'

This interview is meant to replace the usual review I do for books I have read. There are several reasons for this but the chief one is that I failed to make notes when I read. This will not be a routine. How do you introduce yourself to people, especially the literary side of you? Hmmm, basically I'm simple and down to earth. With literary side of me, I would say I was not trained to write. Writing came to me when nothing else would. I found writing young. It wasn't my first love though; sketching was though I have not developed it as much as I would have loved to. When I write, I write to set myself free irrespective of whatever someone may think or feel. That was the way writing started for me. The more I wrote and experienced life, the more I discovered there were other things to talk about apart from using writing as a personal tool. I write articles and essays sometimes apart from poetry which I consider my usual domain. I have tried short stories but not yet compl

Readers' Top Ten

Readers' Top Ten is a series that will feature the top 10 African books - written by Africans - as selected by identified readers. Each participating reader will pick his or her top 10 favourite African books and briefly discuss the books - why he or she like it, what it means to him or her (if any) etc. The reader will make his or her own decision considering the definition of an African. At ImageNations it includes citizenship of an African country, naturalisation, or dual citizenship. Also if an author has African ancestry and do identify himself or herself to the continent, she or he is considered an African. The other condition is that the book should have a literary merit, even if it is non-fiction. No other imposition is made and this literary merit will be determined by the selector and not ImageNations. The aim of this project is to introduce to readers of ImageNations the rich literature the continent has to offer.  It is meant to move beyond the 'one-novel Af

NLNG Longlist

The Advisory Board of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, sponsor of the Nigeria Prize Literature, on Monday announced a shortlist of 11 books out of 201 books submitted for the 2013 edition of the prize. This year, the biggest literary prize on the continent, will focus on poetry. The list was arrived after after months of intensive scrutiny by a panel of judges led by renowned poet and literary critic Prof. Romanus Egudu of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. The shortlisted books are: Letter Home and Biafran Nights by Akeh Afam Symphony of Becoming by Eke Iquo Birthcry by Nwakanma Obi Wild Letters by Ogochukwu Promise Globetrotter and Hitler's Children by Ede Amatoritsero Marsh Boy and Other Poems by Egbewo G'ebinyo Length of Eyes by Gomba Obari The Sahara Testaments by Ipadeola Tade Seven Stations up the Stairwel by Launko Kinba (pen name for Femi Osofisan) Through the Window of a Sandcastle by Nnadi Amu Sea of My Mind by Raji Remi The winner of the US$

253. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy*

"All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" are the famous opening words of the tragic love story Anna Karenina (FP: 1877; 813) by Leo Tolstoy. This is perhaps the most famous first line one would read. Anna Karenina is a novel of many dimensions with ebbs and troughs. Set in Russia around the time of the liberation of the serfs, the novel deals with society: the people, the laws and the government. The main story revolves around Anna Karenina, the eponymous character of the novel.  Anna Karenina had returned from Moscow, where she had been to solve a problem between her brother, Oblonsky, and her wife, Dolly [Darya], after the former had cheated on the latter with his children's English governess and the marriage seemed destined for disaster. Initially, one would have thought that the story revolves around the Oblonsky family. However, it quickly settles on the Karenins. In Moscow Anna had met the playboy Vronsky, w

#Quotes: Quotes from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina*

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. [1] Yet, as often happens between men who have chosen different pursuits, each, while in argument justifying the other's activity, despised it in the depth of his heart. [16] The aim of civilisation is to enable us to get enjoyment out of everything. [35] Oh, you moralist! But just consider, here are two women: one insists only on her rights, and her rights are your love, which you cannot give her; and the other sacrifices herself and demands nothing. What are you to do? How are you to act? It is a terrible tragedy. [41] You know that capitalism oppresses the workers. Our workmen the peasants bear the whole burden of labour, but are so placed that, work as they may, they cannot escape from their degrading condition. All the profits on their labour, by which they might better their condition, give themselves some leisure, and consequently gain some education, all this surplus

Additions to the Library

Chibundu (left) at Sytris As I stated in my review of July's Reading and Literary Activities, I attended a fair number of book readings. One beautiful thing about attending a book reading is that you get to meet the author, ask him or her questions and then finally, and most importantly, you get autographed copies of the books. Autograph copies for readers is the 'thing'. Reading a book whose author you have met adds a different 'vibe' to the reading. I am digressing. I purchased the following two books at a reading I attended at the PAWA (Pan-African Writers Association) House, which was organised by Invisible Borders under their Trans-African Project: The Spider King's Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo . This book was buzzing all over the book blogging community on the internet. From the blurb: Seventeen-year-old Abike Johnson is the favourite of her wealthy father. She lives in a sprawling mansion in Lagos, protected by armed guards. A world away from Abike

NEW PUBLICATION: Brave Music of a Distant Drum by Manu Herbstein

Brave Music from a Distant Drum by Manu Herbstein is a sequel to Ama - a story of the Atlantic Slave Trade . In my review of the first book, I stated that this is a book that needs to be read by all. It is an introduction to an understanding of what really went on during the slave trade. It takes the story away from statistics and figures - this number of people were taken, that number of people died. It shows you the human dimension of that unpardonable activity. It shows you that slaves were not taken out of Africa; rather people were taken out and made slaves. It is a human story with unrestrained treatment. I expect the sequel to follow similar lines. To continue the story and to peel off the wounds. For instance, one would want to know what happened to Ama after the death of Tomba. And will their son be as rebellious as the two of them were? The following are some reviews of the sequel: [ Glenys Bichan, Cambridge High School Library, New Zealand, May 23, 2012 ]  Today Ghana i

252. God Dies by the Nile by Nawal El Saadawi

God Dies by the Nile*  (Zed Books, FP: 1976; 175) by Nawal El Saadawi is a compendium of political, cultural, social, and religious oppression of a people by a demagogue through a supposed ruling class whom he gets to do what he wants. In this book, Nawal El Saadawi, whose subject of interest revolves around [religious] oppression in a patriarchal society, discusses how a people blinded by religion could become delusional in their depravity and even deemed it the will of God. In this story, set in the village of Kafr El Teen, the Mayor is God, his word is law, and his passions reign supreme. And when this lascivious Mayor set his eyes on the children of an old woman, Zakeya, there was nothing anyone could do but to submit, even if it had to take the Sheikh to turn the words of Allah around to deceive the masses and an unfortunate and helpless woman. Everyone was blinded to the Mayor's deeds and all worked to not only protect him but also praise him to the hilt so that in gro