Showing posts with label Nigeria literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria literature. Show all posts

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Virulent Part 5 (The end is only the beginning)

I walked to the communication hub and as I dialled Chike’s call code on their high-end video phone, I could feel Bisi’s hostile eyes burning holes in my back. At least she is not crying anymore, I thought.

Chike’s face came into view on the large view screen; he seemed relieved to see me. “what is going on?” I asked.

“Mr. Dotun. Thank God. I can’t talk much. Thinks are getting crazy out here. Things are worse than I thought. But tell me, the rats, did you notice any strange thing as you buried them?” Chike was tense, he kept looking over his shoulders, even though he appeared to be in a sort of enclosed lab.
“Yes,” I said, somehow knowing what he would say next.

“That means the plague has already reached the mainland and will soon climb up the food chain. You have to leave Eko now. Please take my wife with you; force her if you have to.”

I was about to inquire further when the screen went blank, but not before I saw the door behind Chike burst open and two burly soldier types enter the room.

We left Eko the next morning, way ahead of the mass exodus and death that turned that beautiful city-state into hell-on-earth, but not fast enough. By the time we made it to Benin four hours later, the quarantine was fully in place in Eko. We hoped to cross Benin and make it to Enugu where Chike’s brother promised safety in the form of a close-knit clan of hill dwellers, but a hastily set up quarantine zone for people coming in from Eko negated our plans.

All through the drive, we had kept abreast with developments. Though the truth was still scanty and bitterly guarded by the Eko government, Chike had managed to get the story out and the net links were abuzz.
I worried for a while, when we could not get clearance to travel further into Chike’s ancestral home where we felt we might find safety.

In the quarantine camp, which grew by the minute as more refugees flowed in, we waited two weeks for the second round of test results to either clear us, or sign our death warrants. My wife and Bisi, more like sisters now, comforted each other, they both lost family in Eko. Then Bisi died, not from the scourge, no, I think of heartbreak. Of Chike, we heard little. Some say he they placed him in a government facility safe from the plague; others said he tried to help the afflicted and contacted the late stage of the infection.

Because we left when we did, we managed to cross Ogun before the militia blocked all exits. From there, only horror tales escaped.

‘Sir...sir,’ an urgent voice intruded on my thoughts, drawing me back to the present.

I look up to see a Guardsman looming over me, blocking the rainbow hue from the cathedral windows.

‘What?’ I ask, grateful for the intrusion but wondering what he wanted. The Guardmen were notorious with how harshly they’ve been treating people since emergency law came into effect last week. Adunni says it is the tension, they are human after all.

‘Please head to the meeting tent, the result for the tests are out,’ he say, turning to walk away.

‘Wait,’ I call out, stopping him in mid stride, ‘What happens now?’

The Guardsman looks at me as if he was pondering how much to tell me, then he just shrugs and continues on his way.

I stand up from the plastic chair, take one last look at the Cathedral, and enter the tent to fetch my family. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My next BIG Thing!

Social media will be celebrated whenever and wherever the story of the generation of Nigerian writers that I belong to is written. And that story will surely feature how writers of my generation, managed, despite the odds, to create something grand out of the possibilities inherent in social media. The story will be big and surely, the tales of how aspiring writers searched for and connected with thousands of like minded individuals would be an integral part of it. While I don’t particular feel I am qualified to write this story, I won’t deny the fact that what you are reading now is a facet of that story.

I met Gbenga Awomodu, online, I can’t recall if it was on Facebook or in the early days of Naijastories, but we connected online and since we both live in Lagos and shared an interest in event reviews and journalism, the chances of us meeting outside of the electronic world of social media was high. We met a couple of times outside of social media before the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop brought us face to face again in August 2012. The story of my generation of writers actually played out in that workshop. Of the 22 participants, I had only ever met Gbenga in person before the workshop, but Richard Ali, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, and Samuel Tosin Kolawole were already (Facebook connected) friends of mine, even though I had never met them in person. I still shiver at that social media strangeness that allows you know people intimately before you meet them in person. I was also meeting Yemisi Ogbe for the first time, but I knew her work as a food writer with the now sadly defunct Next Newspaper, where I also had the privilege of contributing articles, and we happen to have mutual admiration for each other’s work—I  discovered that out during the course of the workshop. I summarised my workshop experience here and Yewande Omotosho did here, so we can skip all the long tori and bite into the meat of this one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book N Gauge: Filling a Literary Niche

It would not be farfetched to declare that the literary scene in Nigeria is on fire. There might not have been any corresponding reverse in the reading culture of Nigerians as it is – yet. However, the prevailing atmosphere within literary circles is one of itchy expectation, with an endless line of aspiring writers itching to find some form of relevance. Here, the internet, of course, has become a ready tool for the willing.

Years past, aspiring writers sent their works to the few newspapers and magazines that published works of that nature. This is usually done without recourse to any form of peer review and more often than not, the works are rejected, with the attendant knocks on the ego of the writers.

These days, things have changed, and drastically for the better too. The coming of the internet has provided avenues for savvy youths to meet, interact and coalesce into groups that are now driving Nigerian literary industry—yes, it is time we start calling it that and run it as such. These groups are revolutionising the way literary events and discussions are handled, causing even semi-retired old timers to crawl out of the woodwork and take notice.

While there are several groups with similar purpose, this article intends to highlight one of them, Book N Gauge.
Continue reading here