I was again opportune to be at the Island on Saturday 26th June 2010 for two literary events: the Book Jam at the galleria and the review of Nnedi Okorafor’s ‘Zarah the Windseeker’.
For some, there might be nothing worth celebrating in two book events in one day in a city as big as Lagos, but for those of us who had sought for avenues to interact with established writers, this is as big as it gets.
Yes, Nigerian literature seem to be going places, buoyed up by a resurgence that is bringing smiles to the faces of the old timers and a burst of writing energy from emerging writers. I recall not so long ago when the only avenues where one could interact with fellow writers were the monthly Association of Nigerian Authors Lagos chapter (ANA Lagos) meetings at the National theatre (dry mouth meetings, as one old timer used to say), Tosyn Bucknor’s S.H.A.R.E and Taruwa, that tough more of a weekly open-mike-night, still found it worthy to incorporate poetry readings and the like.
A couple of years back, Nigeria writing on the net, though available, was spread too thin and appeared only able to accommodate the known names, a fact that was serious source of frustration for amateur writers like me who then needed feedbacks on their attempts at stringing words together (we had to contend with feedbacks from foreigners who knew next to nothing about the environment we were writing from).
Then came neo-Nigerian sites like NigeriaVillageSquare.com, SentinelPoetry.org and the like, which allowed writers avenues to display their work and get feedback from people who understood where they were coming from.
These days, there are an abundance of sites dedicated to Nigerian and African literature and social network sites like facebook allows young writers to not only post their works but also tag established writers who offer advice and encouragements . One such site garnering massive following among new writers is Myne Whiteman’s Naijastories.com.
I missed the Zarah the Windseker’s review as my African timing failed me (I think it’s time I join the modern age) and I got to the venue one hour late, with my copy of Nnedi’s novel clasped tightly under my armpit, to find the event I was so looking forward to over. I was annoyed, but only at myself (I had hoped to say a lot about the fantasy genre in Nigeria, since I too write traditional fantasy and felt my contribution would have been welcomed), I didn’t have much time to be annoyed as I quickly bought Seffi Atta’s ‘everything good will come’ and Chimamanda’s ‘Purple hibiscus’ and jumped on the next Okada to the Silverbird Galleria where Bookjam was in full session.
It was a fulfilling session (though I came too late and didn’t get to partake in the item seven) with Toni Kan Onwordi, author of ‘Nights of the Creaking Bed’ and Abraham Oshoko, author of ‘June 12: The Struggle for Power’ giving deep insights into their work and life.
Yeah, I got to talk about writing with writers and left feeling elated. Good news is that we get to do it again on July 3rd 2010 as DADA books showcase the writers involved in what is the most anticipated anthology in the country at the moment: Lagos: 2060. Yep I am one of those writers.