Lesley Nneka Arimah: Book Readings in Abuja and Lagos

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This January, we’re happy to invite you to #FarafinaReads with Lesley Nneka Arimah in Abuja and Lagos. The author will be reading from her debut collection What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky . The events will also include discussions and book signings.

What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky has been described as ‘a rare combination of daring and nuance’ by The Guardian UK, and her writing style as ‘a blast of fresh air’ by Igoni Barrett, author of Blackass. The book won the Kirkus Prize in 2017 and is on the 2018 9mobile Literature Prize longlist.

Details for the reading in Abuja are below:

Date: 18th January 2018

Time: 3 p.m.

Venue: The Booksellers, Ground Floor, City Plaza, 7 Rubuka Close, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki II, Abuja

Moderator: Salamatu Sule

Host: Orpheus Literary Foundation

 

For Lagos click HERE to register.

Date: 20th January 2018

Time: 2 p.m

Venue: Herbert Macaulay Library, 233 Herbert Macaulay way, Sabo, Yaba

Moderator: Adebola Rayo

Supported by: GTBank YouRead

 

You can order the book on Jumia here, or at Terra Kulture, V.I. and Patabah Bookstore, Shoprite, Surulere.

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6 Spoken Word Artists We Absolutely Love

There were poets long before there were printing presses, poetry is primarily oral utterance, to be said aloud, to be heard. – Knight Etheridge

A poetry performance is an experience like no other. You get to travel through the world of the poet on words that  are rich with imagery, so much that you can see, smell, feel and maybe even taste what you’re being told.

We compiled this list of those who make these magical experiences happen, and with lyrical voices too!

Here they are:

Thuli Zuma
Thuli Zuma is an actor by training and poet by passion, Thuli, who is from South Africa, has shared her work and heart on stage and screen alike both nationally and internationally, from Johannesburg to Paris, the glowing city of lights.

Thuli was placed second at the 2012 Individual World Poetry Slam, represented New York at the 2013 National Poetry Slam, and represented the United States of America at the 2013 World Cup of Poetry Slam in Paris. She is the 2013 Urbana New York Grand Slam Champion.

Lebobang Mashile
Lebogang Mashile is a South African actor, writer and performance poet. Lebo Mashile has won the 2006 Pan African book prize, the Noma Award, for her first published collection of poems. Mashile regards  poetry’s expressive powers as the most effective tool to bring about those changes that are needed in the aftermath of socio-political changes in South Africa.

Her lyrical and gutsy poems in the collection “A Ribbon of Rhythm” (2005) also speak about life in the new South Africa. Issues such as the diversity and unity of the “Rainbow Nation”, the status of women, violence and the fragility of individuals are all treated with a sense of urgency, humour and at times with melancholy and a certain rawness.

Mashile has performed in Bern, Switzerland at the Schlacthaus Festival of South African Contemporary Art and attended Yarri Yarri Phambari Writers Conference in New York City with African American writers such as Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Maryse Conde, Nawal el Saadawi and Patricia McFadden.

Shailja Patel

Shailja Patel is an internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, theatre artist, and political activist. CNN has characterized Patel as an artist “who exemplifies globalization as a people-centered phenomenon of migration and exchange.”

Patel is best known for her book Migritude, based on the 90-minute spoken-word theatre show with the same name. The name of the play is a term Patel coined herself. Derived from the words “migrant,” “attitude” and “negritude,” it refers to, in Patel’s words, “a generation of migrants who don’t feel the need to be silent to protect themselves.”

Titilope Sonuga

Titilope Sonuga has, no doubt, won many hearts with her lyrical dance with words. It is therefore no surprise to find her listed in many articles on top African Spoken Word performers.

She has won awards such as the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award in 2011, as well as the 2012 Maya Mangelou Poetry Contest. In May 2015 she became the first poet to appear at a Nigerian presidential inauguration, after which she published a poetry collection in 2016. Sonuga has performed regularly at the Lagos International Poetry Festival and is a brand ambassador for Intel Nigeria.

Probably the most indelible of her recent achievements is Open, a 3-part spoken word performance series she organised at 3 different locations in Lagos this year.

Koleka Putuma

Maybe the most memorable thing about Koleka is her record of selling 2000 copies of her debut collection of poems, Collective Amnesia, in less than 5 months. Her poetry collection has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities.

Her awards include: Winner of the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. She has also been named One of Africa’s top 10 poets by Badilisha, and named one of the young pioneers who took South Africa by storm in 2015 by The Sunday Times and one of 12 future shapers by Marie Claire SA.

Dike Chukwumerije

Dike Chukwumerije is a writer, author, and Performance Poet. He is the Creative Director of the Night of the Spoken Word (NSW)Performance Poetry Show. He is also the host of the Abuja Literary Society (ALS) Book Jam and Poetry Slam, as well as an event anchor for the Enugu Literary Society (EnLS) Open Mic. His videos can be seen on YouTube.

Truth be told, 2017 was a good year for these artists, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for them.

Or is it just us?

 

Wet Hair by Eghosa Imasuen

“That is not dead, which can eternal lie.
Yet with strange eons, even death may die”
HP Lovecraft.


Why do you turn away from me, Papa?

Why do you ignore me? This is not like before. This is not my melancholia, not more evidence of my unhappiness.

Listen to me, Papa. Let me tell you what happened.

I ran through the bush. I ran till I felt my heart burst inside my chest.And I ran some more. My torn wrapper felt wet beneath the white shirt. Branches – canes and flogging sticks not yet plucked from the mangrove saplings – left bright wheals on my face and my arms, slapping me as I ran away from him.

Continue reading

Flashback Friday: It’s Farafina Magazine!

Imagine that you had Wole Soyinka, Okey Ndibe, Chimamanda Adichie, Yemisi Aribisala, Ikhide Ikheloa, Petina Gappah, Funmi Iyanda and Chika Unigwe all in one room.

Talking. Laughing. Sharing.

Well, no need to run wild, we had all that imagination come to life with our Farafina Magazine.

Before we stopped printing in September 2009, 16 issues of the magazine were published. These issues featured works of the likes of Wole SoyinkaSegun Afolabi, Uche James Iroha, Funmi IyandaDinaw Mengestu, Barbara Murray, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jackee Budesta BatandaHelon Habila, Tosin Oshinowo, Patrice Nganang, Jide Alakija, and a plethora of other writers and graphical artists.

Guest editors of the publication include Olajide Bello, Okey NdibeMolara WoodToni KanUzodinma IwealaPetina GappahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Laila Lalami.

Here are excerpts from 5 of the 16 issues:

Issue 1: “Men of God as Superstars”, with its cover story written by Yemisi Aribisala, author of Longthroat Memoirs. Continue reading

10 Memorable Pieces of Literary Advice from Twitter

Over the years, Twitter has grown from just being a social network to a platform bursting with amazing ideas, brilliant opinions and a source for knowledge and learning. We find new perspectives and insights in tweets and threads and the literary sphere is not absent from all of this. Some of the best pieces of literary advice on writing and for writers this year are contained in tweets and threads.

In no particular order, these are 10 pieces of literary advice from Twitter that we can not forget.

1. Roxanne Gay on how to succeed as a writer and the myth of overnight success:

In this thread, one of the most influential writers of the year, Roxanne Gay, articulates her journey as a writer and how much work has gone into getting to where she is today. She reminds writers that the journey may be difficult, but never impossible.

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You can read the full thread here

2. J.K Rowling on rules of writing:

When a follower asks J.K Rowling, award winning author of the Harry Potter Series, amongst others what the rules of writing are for writers, she brilliantly replies with a truth writers need to hears – the only rule is what works for you. 

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Read the rest of the thread here.

 

3. Akwaeke Emezi on finishing your book manuscript

Starting a book can be relatively easy, but following through to the end is one of the hardest things. Recognising that this is a common struggle for writers, Akwaeke Emezi, author of soon to be released Freshwater (which will be published by Grove Atlantic in the U.S. and Farafina in Nigeria), breaks down her writing process, telling us how she finishes her book manuscripts and completes general goals.

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Read full thread here.

4. Matt Haig on reading

If there’s one thing you also are as a writer, it’s that you’re a reader. Before many of us became writers, we were first readers and being a writer shouldn’t change that. Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive and a constant number one best selling author reminds us in one of the most beautiful threads this year on the power of books and the magic in reading.

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Read full thread here.

5. Carmen Maria Machado on advice to her younger self

We really can’t overemphasise the importance of reading for writers and Carmen Maria Machado, fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in the New YorkerGranta and elsewhere hammers on this in her tweet. For her, if she could go back in time and advice herself as a young writer, this is what she would say:

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See tweet here

6. Abubakar A. Ibrahim on advice to aspiring writers

Abubakar Ibrahim, award winning author of Season of Crimson Blossoms, gives sublime advice to aspiring writers in this tweet. If you’re looking to grow and develop as a writer, hold on to these words.

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7. Nnedi Okorafor on reading for pleasure

Still on reading (are you still in doubt of how important it is for you to read as a writer?), Nnedi Okorafor, international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, and author of Zahrah the Windseeker reminds writers of the importance of reading for pleasure and the ability to enjoy writing in this thread.

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8. Rae Chang on Filtering

Ever heard of filtering? We too, until we read Rae Chang’s thread on it. She is a young adult political fantasy writer, and editor who breaks down extensively what filtering is and how it affects your writing. If you’re looking to learn a thing or two as a writer or editor, read the full thread here.

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9. Nayyirah Waheed on the value of words.

Nayyirah Waheed, poet and author who has been described as one of the most famous poets on Instagram, reminds us in this tweet that our words, no matter how little can be valuable. So just write.

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10. Christopher Paolini on writing advice

Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance Cycle, sums up major advice for writers in this tweet. Figuring out how to go about writing can be confusing, but Christopher reminds writers to plan ahead, understand and move accordingly. The story will fall into place.

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There you have it! Did we miss out anything? What piece literary advice resonated with you this year? What do you wish you learnt earlier as a writer? Let us know.

Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Dear Writer,

Writing is an act of self-exploration and submitting your work to a publisher can be the scariest act of your life. As publishers, we are aware of this and sympathetic. In the event that we select your work for publication, we would do our very best to make the process pleasant for the writer.

However, to increase the chances of your manuscript being picked up by a publisher, we advise that you adhere to the rules of grammar, punctuation and submission.

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Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Some mornings, we log into the submissions account and there are hundreds of emails waiting to be read, most of them with manuscript excerpts. Unfortunately, our request for more hours in a day hasn’t been granted (yet), so we can’t afford to waste any of the 24 we get. If you are a writer submitting your work to a publishing house, here’s how you can make our lives (and the lives of other editors and editorial assistants) easier.

Do Not Show Off

Contrary to what your friends and family members might have told you, you’re not the best writer since Shakespeare or Soyinka. But even if you are extremely talented, we won’t read your manuscript unless your email contains a synopsis of your novel and an excerpt of reasonable length (we suggest three chapters). We do not want to read a list of every award you’ve won since Primary School. We know every book we’ve published; don’t list them in your email or tell us that your work is better than those of seasoned authors. Allow us to judge that.

The moment we see emails like the one below, we know we won’t download or read the submission.

“If kachifo would like peharps, a demonstration, i would e-mail them my worst poem and they will be bewildered by beauty and admiration my stock of quality can give. I do not beg because i know writers like me would catapault the industry. My goal: to exceed Ngozi Adichi, ECHEBE, WOLE SOYINKA and to messure above SHAKESPARE and MILTON. Please e-mail me! (Sic)”

Do Not Send Your First Draft

Do as much work as you can in cleaning up your manuscript before sending it in. Does your story flow? If we can’t make sense of it, we won’t read past the first paragraph or chapter. Spell check! It doesn’t say much about your commitment to the written word if your manuscript is riddled with grammatical errors.

Send a Synopsis

Besides doing all the work you can on your manuscript, do even more on your synopsis – it often determines if your manuscript will be read or not. We rarely spend more than a minute on each email. In that minute, we read the synopsis and decide if we should download the manuscript excerpt or not. Do not send your manuscript without a synopsis, and do not send your synopsis without a manuscript. Both are important! And please, do not send a link to your blog, telling us to read your works there. We can, but we will not.

Obey Instructions

Often, submission guidelines request that you send in a synopsis, and attach an excerpt from your work to the email. Your synopsis can be sent in the body of the email (we prefer this), but do not send your sample chapters in the body of the email. We don’t have the time or inclination to copy text from the body of an email into a Word document for offline reading. If we can’t download the excerpt for offline reading, we’ll forget about it. Save your excerpt as a Microsoft Word document and send it as an attachment to the mail. However, do not assume this is all a publisher will ask for. Every publisher is different. Find out the guidelines of the publisher you want to send your manuscript to and follow the guide to the letter! If you will not dedicate time to reading and following the guidelines, the editor will not dedicate time to reading your work.

Copy Editor vs. Fairy God Editor

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We are copy editors, not fairy god editors. There are no fairy god editors waiting in the wings, dedicated to turning ALL writers’ rags into fine cloth. We won’t edit your story and send it back to you “even if it won’t be published.” Also, it’s very unlikely that we’ll to send you an email when we are done reading your excerpt just to tell you what we didn’t like about it… jeez. There are simply too many submissions and like we said, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So if you don’t get a response within 8 weeks, it means Kachifo will not be publishing your work under our Farafina imprint but we wish you all the best.

Here are our submissions guidelines:

To have your work considered for publication by Kachifo Limited, please send an email to submissions@kachifo.com, including a strong excerpt of about three chapters or 10,000 words saved in Microsoft Word, a one-page synopsis of the work, and a short author bio. (Note that a synopsis is not the same as a blurb or a teaser. A synopsis should contain ‘spoilers’, and should give a summary of the entire story, including and especially how it ends.)

The sample of the manuscript should be properly formatted (double-spaced, left-justified only, 12pt Serif font). Our preferred font is Courier New.

Introduce yourself and your work in the query letter in the body of the email. The subject of your email should be the title of your manuscript followed by the word “Submission”. Your submission will be acknowledged and assessed by our editors. We will respond within eight weeks if we are provisionally interested in publishing your work.

At this time, Kachifo Limited is not accepting unsolicited poetry or non-fiction submissions. The submissions window will be re-opened on the 31st of December, 2017.

Please note that we only accept submissions via email to submissions@kachifo.com. We do not accept hard copy submissions.

Unsolicited submissions sent to other Kachifo email addresses may be overlooked. Hard copy submissions will not be acknowledged or returned.

Please see the FAQs or email submissions@kachifo.com for further information on how to publish with us.

If you would like to know more about Prestige, our publishing services imprint, visit www.prestige.ng

All the best!

Intimate Portraits: A Selection of Five Essays

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Image by Kristi Bonney

There has been a remarkable and continuous upsurge in the creative non-fiction genre coming out of Nigeria in recent times arguably giving us some of the best literary works this year.

Catapult, one of the literary platforms telling the stories of extraordinary writers, published in the course of the year essays by five writers who we are proud to say are alumni of the Farafina creative writing workshop; a testament to the beauty that comes out year in year out after each year’s rigorous experience.

These essays are some of the most intense, thought provoking personal essays we have come across. The writers have immersed us in their intimate writings, from which we share excerpts below.

We Need to Talk about Snails by Tola Rotimi – (class of 2014)

“The day I confessed to being a witch I had no idea what I was doing.”
A couple of months ago, while researching examples of prose poems to share with my creative writing class, I came upon the poem “Snails” by the French poet Francis Ponge. They are heroes, Ponge says of snails, beings whose existence alone is a work of art. In a dream later that night, I was back in Lagos, in the marsh surroundings of my childhood church, foraging under the cover of night, wading through wet grass as tall as little boys’ chins. I was alone then not alone, my younger brothers were away then suddenly appearing.

We were children again, the three of us. All the world was in slow motion…

Read the full essay here.

 

How to Gossip about African Writing in Geneva by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (class of 2014)

“…In the early months of 2016, I visited Switzerland. At the airport, hungry or eager to see this old country new to my eyes, I bought a bunch of bananas for a few Swiss francs. I yelped inside after converting to naira. Back in Lagos, on any given day, you could find me haggling with a lady selling better bananas under the Computer Village bridge. If the bargaining process is a battle of wills, ours was attended by jokes and mock horror from the start. Some days I win and have for trophy a black bag laden with a bunch or two. Other days I feel I have parted with too much for unworthy loot. On a few occasions, nobody wins: She doesn’t make the sale; I leave empty-handed.”

Read the full essay here.

The Things We Never Say: A Family History by Amara Nicole Okolo (class of 2015)

“I first experienced love in the arms of my mother on a Sunday morning. I stood beside the rose bushes, watching my father slowly drive out of the garage. One year, seven months. She came from behind, plucked a lone pink rose from the bushes, still dripping with dew, and tucked it in the hair around my right ear. Then she circled her hands over my shoulders and chest in a warm hug.

Twenty-eight years later, my mother will die on a hospital bed, her left hand clasping mine.”

Read the full essay here.

Ógbuágu: The Lion’s Killer Depression by Keside Anosike (class of 2014)

“In Igbo, Ogbuagu literally translates to “a lion’s killer.” It doesn’t entirely suggest cruelty, but bravery. It is the highest title that can be given to a person in Igbo land, and reserved only for the strong, the brave—those who walk into a lion’s den without saying goodbye to the people they left at home.

I began to know my mother in my early adult life. Before then, what I knew of her was in a stream of memory so thin it was difficult to distinguish it from imagination. Her body in a wedding dress, laying eyes closed in something metallic on four wheels, right in the center of our living room in Mbieri…”

Read the full essay here.

 

Don’t Let It Bury You by Eloghosa Osunde (class of 2015)

I know the sound of my mother’s voice better than I know anything else. As a child, I didn’t like the way the soft and smooth of it could explode into a growl in sudden seconds, shouting and overheating the house, sending my small anxious heart darting through my body, displaced. I never liked how it fractioned my breathing and slowed my movements into a drag. But I liked that it always prepared me for trouble, at least. I like that it helped me get ready.

Read the full essay here.