Sunday, June 10, 2012

Maybe Nigerians Read

The smell of incense, the fullness of Mass and the sale of books. Absolutely interesting day, brilliant idea and a whole new experience in marketing books.

When I got to the Christ the King Catholic Church Ilasamaja about 8.15am, I wasn't entirely sure how the day was going to go and if it would be worth our while at all.

We hurriedly set up since we were informed first Mass would be done at 8.30am. It didn't end until 9.15. So there I was beginning to be sceptical because I already thought, this is a church not a reading community. Not that my thoughts was too far from the truth.

First mass finally ended and there was an influx of Parishioners coming to see what books we had, I panicked, thinking, how the hell were we going to cope with not just the books which they thought looked interesting, but with all the questions they asked. I might as well have been a lecturer with all the explanations I gave concerning books today.

Amazingly though, I virtually witnessed what I had taken to be a cliché, my very first experience dealing with a group of non reading Nigerians, who believe reading or buying a book isn't so important especially for children. The shock of it as I saw kids who looked clueless and parents who made me feel I was Einstein was truly disturbing.

Thankfully there was to be a competition, so they had to buy books, well if that was what made these Parishioners buy the books, I had to applaud.

All in all, bottom-line we raked in sales. Would our presence today translate into a reading awareness? I'm not entirely sure about that, unless of course more competitions are organised and prizes as an incentive to get more eyes stuck to a book. Maybe.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ebedi Writers Residence


Three writers have commenced the June 2012 residency program at the Ebedi International Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State.  The writers, who will be in residence for a period of six weeks include: Richard Ali who was born in Kano, Nigeria and obtained a LL.B. from the Nigerian Law School. He presently practices Law in Jos, Nigeria. His novel, City of Memories, was published by Black Palms Publishers.  He served as Editor, Sardauna Magazine from 2005 to 2007. He was shortlisted for the 2008 John la Rose Short Story Competition, and attended the British Council Radiophonics Workshop the same year. He has been active in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), serving as Secretary for the Plateau State chapter for two years and is presently Publicity Secretary [North] of the national body. He is, at present, Editor of the Sentinel Nigeria [online] Magazine and is Chief Operations Officer of Parresia Nigeria Limited, a new Publishing company based in Lagos, Nigeria Publishers. He will use his time at Ebedi residency to carry out research on a historical fiction and finish work on his debut poems, The Divan of the Four Winds, which his publishers are eagerly awaiting.

The second writer, Niyi Fasanmi is a Lagos based writer and teacher. A polyglot, who speaks Yoruba, English, French and Russian, Fasanmi is the holder of a Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos. Some of his works include, The Story of Ajantala, BARRICADES, AGAINST THE CULTURE OF SILENCE, and THE FLOODS. Niyi will use his time in the residency to complete his ongoing novel and interact with students of secondary schools in Iseyin in the areas of fiction and nonfiction writing.

 The third writer, Awwal Sakiwa, a Book Illustrator, Artist and Comic series writer is presently the Director, Hill Top Art Centre, Minna.  He also teaches Fine Arts in Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger State.   As a testimony to his good standing as a versatile artist, Awwal illustrated most of the books published in Minna Niger State and designed the Niger State logo. He founded the Arts In Vogue Gallery, Minna where he trained many apprentices who are mostly now self-employed.  A passionate comic series writer, he is the author of a comic book, “The Story of Bayajiddah”. Some of his other works include, designing the mural on the  walls of institutions such as:  Hill Top Art Centre Minna,  Ijah Central Mosque,Wuse,  Tunga Central Mosque Minna,  Calvary International School Aware Ondo State, Will Bright International school Akure, Ondo State to mention just a few. While in Ebedi, Awwal will work extensively with secondary school students from Iseyin on his pet project called: “Let The Children Live” through which he hopes to mentor children in the areas of Fine Arts and Comic Book writing.

The Ebedi International Writers Residency Programme, Iseyin, Oyo State is an initiative to give emerging and established writers an all-expenses paid convenient environment in which to complete their ongoing works. Since its inception two years ago, the Residency has played host to several Nigerian and Foreign writers who in return have also mentored many secondary school students in Iseyin.  The residency is being managed by a Board of Directors made up of Akintayo Abodunrin, Alkasim Abdulkadir, Uche Peter Umez and Maryam Okediran who is the Chairman. Applications stating a Curriculum Vitae and a 500-word excerpt of ongoing work should be sent to the Board Chairman at

Uche Peter Umez

Books and more

I liken Book reviews to the story of the 3 blind men and the elephant. 3 men were brought before an Elephant, stood on different sides and had 3 different reports to give about what they felt they had touched.

That's just like a book, the book being the Elephant and each reader a potential blind man. A book with this illustration, is even worse when it comes to expressing opinions. Readers come from different backgrounds, think differently and so will have different opinions. What's amusing however is the different opinions that could be generated from one single book.

I love reviews really. Its a peek into another person's mind. Some reviews leave you excited, some leave you wondering. Some will take you looking for the closest book store, some leave you wishing you shouldn't have bought the book.

At the end of it all, a review is that which it is; one person's opinion and thoughts on what has been read.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 2012

I'm back and if an award for the laziest blogger exists, I should get it.

This year has been pretty amazing. Not sure where I should begin from. But maybe the fact that from loving books to finally printing them sorts of summarizes it nicely.

Okay I also seem to want to write more. So forgive me Bloggy for staying away so long, but hey I'm back aren't I?