Writers In Residence: Call for Participants

writingThis is a call to interested writers who wish to take advantage of this once in a lifetime prospect to be recognised on an international platform such as the Port Harcourt World Book Capital is offering. Application is open to emerging writers from all parts of Nigeria with interests in fiction and creative non-fiction.To participate, writers must be Nigerian citizens or permanent residents of Nigeria, be at least 21 years old and possess a portfolio of good quality written material.

Applications for the Writers in Residence programme must include a statement of what they hope to achieve during the residency, a detailed curriculum vitae and a 1200-1500 words excerpt from a published or unpublished work.

The Writers in Residence project will bring together 12 selected writers (published and unpublished) from all over Nigeria to reside in the city of Port Harcourt for 3 weeks. Throughout their stay, they are expected to exchange ideas and engage in intense training sessions that will be anchored by seasoned literary professionals. They are also expected to draw inspiration and ideas for new works based on the theme of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014: Books- Windows to our World of Possibilities, which would then be published in an anthology.

The objectives of the programme include inspiring a new generation of creative writers from all over Nigeria, showing the importance of inter-cultural communication and exchange in order to encourage creative collaboration, raising the profile of aspiring writers participating in the programme and enhancing the exchange of ideas, skills and experience amongst the participating writers.

The Residency is expected to foster cooperation, unity and friendship among the writers thereby encouraging national integration and promote tourist activities in Rivers State.


Applications can be submitted through the form below, or mailed electronically to wir@portharcourtworldbookcapital.org not later than Friday 22nd August, 2014.
All enquiries should be addressed to the Writers in Residence Programme Coordinator via wir@portharcourtworldbookcapital.org or via telephone on 08023187731.

Read more here.

Photo credit: www.arcolatheatre.com

Solitude | Saraba Magazine 16 is out, and Meet my Quiz Winners!

Solitude1_ 640x302Today, let me start by announcing the two winners of the short photo quiz from last week *drum roll!*:

  1. Chioma Nkemdilim
  2. Sunkanmi Akinnifesi

Each winner will receive a voucher worth 10,000 NGN ($60) to shop at Laterna Bookshop in Lagos by Friday, August 29th, 2014.

Saraba Magazine, Issue 16 is out!
Saraba is a literary magazine that aims to create unending voices by publishing the finest emerging writers, with a bias for Nigeria, and Africa. They also publish individual and joint poetry chapbooks. The latest edition of Saraba Magazine is focused on Solitude. Here’s a note from the Publishers of the magazine:

Saraba Magazine, Solitude editionHow do we contemplate solitude?

With silence, hands cradling chin, eyes staring into space in an empty room without articles of interest, an atmosphere of quotidian existence of devotion to matters of the heart?

The matters of the mind, perhaps, might be a more fitting description. The heart is often misconstrued as software; it is rather a fist-size muscle lodged in a rib-cage compelled to whip the body into inevitable exhaustion. The mind is the place of memories, the parlour of thoughts, the hacienda of imaginations, the bedroom of introspection, the bar room of puzzlement. The go-to place when confusion dares one’s sanity, when insecurities threaten, when decisions are to be made, when expositions are to be grieved.

Here at Saraba, it might have sufficed to approach the Solitude issue as a blank document made available for download. We could have made our readers write their remarks on solitude. Self-help. Solitude is best experienced not read about—silence makes home in the crevices of the mind, not outside it.

Find here a cache of short poems and short stories from promising writers from Africa, writing in Africa. Follow them as they grapple with different phases of solitude: from avulsion of romantic partners to a search for solitude that leads to a brief stint in a mental institution. And in your solitary experience, while you grasp at the realities of others, ask yourself what it means to be alone.

Have a good read.

Read more about Saraba Magazine here and download the Solitude edition (Saraba 16) here.
Till I come your way again next week be safe.

Call for Submissions! Straining at the Seams – Poems for Nigeria at 100

Nigerian FlagDeadline: 31 March 2013

Kairos Productions is pleased to invite submissions from poets for publication in an anthology titled Straining at the Seams: Poems for Nigeria at 100. The anthology, intends to discuss the life and times of Nigeria since the merger of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, will be published in the third quarter of 2013. This will contribute to the celebration of the centenary existence of Nigeria.

There is no restriction as to form or length of the poems to submit but each poem should address the challenges, achievements and hopes of the 100-year-old Nigeria. Authors can submit a maximum of 3 poems for consideration. You may submit unpublished or published poems. In the case of published poems, you will be required to certify that you own the copyright. Authors retain the copyrights to all their works.

Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please send an email to the editor at strainingseams@yahoo.com with your name and Straining at the Seams as the subject line. Please send all submissions as an attachment in one MS Word document. Your submission should also include the following:

i. Name
ii. Email address
iii. Mailing address
iv. Mobile phone number
v. A short bio of not more than 80 words

Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.

Submissions are open until 31 March 2013 and final decisions made by 30 April 2013.

No submission fees are required and no royalties will be paid to authors. Every author whose poems are published in the anthology will receive 2 complimentary copies of the book and can purchase additional copies at 30% discount.

Editor: Kabura Zakama
Editorial Consultant: Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
Publisher: Kairos Productions

My Next Big Thing!

Last August, I had the privilege of participating in the Farafina Trust Creative Writers’ Workshop, annually organized by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in partnership with the Farafina Trust. It had been my third attempt and the quality of writers who made the final shortlist of 22 was a testimony to how much the workshop had grown and how competitive it had become. A total of 987 entries had reportedly been received from around the globe. Every participant at the workshop brought a unique trait and contribution to the table and I still battle the sense of nostalgia when I recall the two-week life changing experience.

Yewande Omotoso

One of us (the participants) whom we would all have voted as Class Captain if such was allowed is Yewande Omotoso, a young Nigerian born in Barbados. She grew up in Nigeria with her Nigerian father, West Indian mother and two older brothers. She and her family moved to South Africa in 1992 and have lived there ever since. She is an architect; space and buildings being a passion of hers second only to words and literature. She has lived in Cape Town and currently in Johannesburg, working as a designer, freelance writer and novelist. Later in the year, she would go on to win the English First-time Published Author Award at the 2012 South African Literary Awards for her debut novel BOM BOY. The Nigerian edition is to be released in the first quarter of 2013. I can’t wait to lap up the story and interview her exclusively! You can follow her on twitter @yomotoso and read her blog at 1of6billion. One more thing, you can purchase a copy from Amazon here: Bom Boy or an e-version on African Books Collective.

Recently, Yewande invited me to participate in The Next Big Thing, “an opportunity for writers in the blogosphere to tell readers what they’ve been working on, and introduce them to the works of other writers they may or may not already be fans of. A kind of chain cake except there’s no baking involved or a relay race without the baton or hotpants and everyone’s a winner.” She answered questions about her next big thing HERE. Its working title is “Your House is on Fire” [what a title! :)]. We had a privilege of listening to her read excerpts from it at the Farafina workshop, and I tell, you just have to be on the look-out!

The last two paragraphs have been about Yewande, and I guess I should await my check already, right? Let’s get to Part 2 of this post!


Gbenga Awomodu

I can imagine the joy people feel when hold copies of their first book, novel, short story collection, poetry collection, whatever it is! I have stories to tell, but I am not in a hurry to get them out there. The Next Big Thing (literature) I am working on slowly but surely is what could be my first published novel. Here’s more about it:

What is the working title of your book?
Ababuo. Incidentally, that happens to be the name of the main character at the moment.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I had been obsessing over the Ghana-must-go bags and the story behind the name. I heard many tales about how really good/competent Ghanaian teachers were, especially those who taught Maths and English in Nigeria. I had some childhood friends whose parents hired a Ghanaian as a private tutor in the 90’s. It is fascinating how a nation whose citizens were kicked out of Nigeria a few decades back is beginning to find its bearing. I also find it intriguing the huge amounts of money Nigerians now spend sending their children over there for education and other benefits. I imagined how some of those Ghanaians who were brutally evicted from Nigeria felt at the time, and how those of them still alive reflect on that experience now. I wanted to explore various characters and ideas surrounding bilateral relations, etc.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction; hope nothing much changes about that in the end.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Would I want to even get the novel or parts of it adapted into a movie? Maybe, but I am wary of filmmakers and actors/actresses not interpreting the characters adequately. One thing I am sure of is that the movie would cast a handful of Ghanaian actors alongside that beautiful accent.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young girl, trapped in a foreign land, is fascinated about returning to her home country amidst news of economic resurgence, and she has to overcome vices and inhibitions, both internal and external, to lift her family; but she must also survive the political intrigues she stumbles into in her journey.

When will your book be published?
2015. I would rather not follow the self-publishing route for this particular book. Hopefully, my final draft in the first quarter of 2014 would catch some lovely agent’s fancy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Now, that’s a tough one. The final draft is still in my head!  I am still having those lengthy conversations in my head, and getting to know the characters better. If my baby-steps approach works, I would have spent between 9 months and a full year writing the first draft. That would include lots of research and perhaps stealing into Ghana if I ever get a holiday this year. I agree with Yewande Omotosho who wrote in her post “I find it takes longer in the beginning and then it speeds up at the end.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The multifaceted analyses transformed into a narrative might interest the geeks and political analysts. Nevertheless, fiction should also be interesting and entertaining, so I’m not lost on those.

Oops! The chain cake stroke relay race moves on to Adebola Rayo and Mazi Fred Nwonwu who will blog about their next big thing on Wednesday 16th January 2013.

Adebola Rayo is a full time writer and editor. She works at Kachifo Limited, publishers of Farafina Books. Her short stories and articles have been published in several newspapers and magazines. Rayo’s next big thing, she thinks, is a collection of a few long short stories. Some of the stories are fiction, and some are faction (fictionalised telling of actual events). She blogs at all4words.blogspot.com where she will be posting about her next big thing next week.

Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu, who prefers the Igbo male title, Mazi, to the English Mr. is a writer and freelance journalist. Melrose Books—who are taking a crack at fiction, away from their traditional educational publications—will publish his short story collection ‘Footsteps on the Hallway’ in the second quarter of 2013. Mazi Nwonwu blogs at fredrnwonwu.blogspot.com and publishes book reviews at 7venhillsmedia.wordpress.com. His short story ‘Masquerade stories’ was recently selected for Africa’s first Science fiction anthology. By next week, I am sure he would have decided which is truly his next big thing, either a Crime Thriller set in Lagos [Working title is: ‘Death is a Woman’] or a science fiction short story collection.

Photo credit: www.elisedillsworthagency.com