Farafina Authors at Ake Festival 2016

In case you somehow missed it, the 2016 edition of Ake Festival will be taking place next week in Abeokuta, from Tuesday 15 November to Saturday 19 November 2016. Don’t miss a chance to meet our amazing lineup of authors at this year’s festival.

 

Jowhor Ile (And After Many Days) and Chinelo Okparanta (Under the Udala Trees)  – whose novels are fresh off the Farafina presses – will be at the festival. Tendai Huchu, whose novel, The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician, was published in 2015 by Kachifo Limited, will also be at the festival. Grab your very own copies of these books and get them signed!

Visit the Ake Festival website to view the programme of events, register and so on.

 

New Farafina Titles: ‘And After Many Days’ and ‘Under the Udala Trees’

Farafina is excited to announce the release of two spectacular new fiction titles, both debut novels: And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile and Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta.

In And After Many Days, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.

 

Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees tells the story of Ijeoma, who comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

Copies of And After Many Days and Under the Udala Trees are available in leading bookstores across the country. You can also buy copies from our Konga store, or call us on 0807 736 4217 to order.

Lagos International Poetry Festival 2016

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The city of Lagos will play host to 35 poets from across the world at the sophomore edition of the Lagos Poetry Festival, scheduled to hold from the 26th of October to October 30th at Freedom Park and the Muson Center.

With an exciting array of events, including workshops, panel discussions and daily performances, the festival builds on its successful debut to further cement its place as one of Africa’s most important art and culture features.

The theme for this year’s festival, ‘Paging the Future’, will explore emerging trends in the global socio-political, economic and cultural landscape.

According to festival founder and director, Efe Paul Azino, this year’s festival brings an interesting mix of entertainment and intellectual engagement. “It’s four days of readings and performances, masterclasses and panel discussions. The idea is to bring poetry into engagement with society at every level without losing the aesthetic for which it is renowned.”

The program of events, recently released by the organizers, can be found here. Registration for the festival is now open. Click here to register.

This year’s guests include Titilope Sonuga, Dike Chukwumerije, Ladan Osman, Shailja Patel, Inua Ellams, Kwame Dawes, and many more.

The Lagos International Poetry Festival is proudly supported by Nigerian Breweries, Freedom Park, Muson Center and a host of media partners.

 

Books and Food at #GrillandRead

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Calling all book (and food) lovers! There’s something in store for you this Saturday, August 27. Come join us at #BookandGrill for a delicious and insightful time. There will be:

– Games
– Spoken word performances
– Grilled food to eat
– Free drinks
– A book auction for charity
– Farafina titles available for sale

Date: Saturday, 27 August 2016
Time: 3 PM – 7 PM
Venue: The Rooftop, CC Hub, 294 Herbert Macaulay Road Yaba, Lagos
Tickets: N1,500 (individuals), N6,000 (group of five)

See you there!

Celebrate World Jollof Rice Day with Kitchen Butterfly

Monday, August 22, is World Jollof Rice Day! Come join Ozoz Sokoh (aka Kitchen Butterfly) at this mouthwatering event to celebrate all that is great about Nigeria’s favourite party food.

 

Kitchen Butterfly and Maggi

The event will feature:

– An exhibition of jollof rice photographs
– A session on the history of jollof rice
– A book meet: an exploration of ‘Jollof Rice in Literature’ (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Without a Silver Spoon by Eddie Iroh). This session will feature Wana Udobang, Ozoz ‘Kitchen Butterfly’ Sokoh and Amanda Chukwudozie, and will be moderated by Eghosa Imasuen.
– Farafina titles for sale, at 10% off
Free jollof rice to eat

Date: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Time: 4 PM
Venue: A Whitespace Lagos, 58 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos

Entry is absolutely free, so come along and bring a friend!

10 Days of Unravelling: What the Farafina Trust Workshop Taught Me – Ama Asantewa Diaka

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Ama Asantewa Diaka

When Ghana-based Nigerian singer, Villy, told me that taxi drivers in Ghana are ready to cheat you the minute they detect foreignness in your voice, I didn’t believe him. I remember telling him Ghanaians and Nigerians are siblings, and all he needs to do is speak pidgin. He laughed at my naivety and told me that the only reason they couldn’t cheat him was because he knew his way around.

I didn’t know my way around. I landed at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, my ignorance obvious.

A woman in a grey suit and flats rushed to help me with my luggage before asking if I needed a cab. I told her I needed to make a phone call first. She whipped out an old Nokia and I read Okey Adichie’s number for her off my phone. After a few seconds of talking to Okey she announced that we were going to Lekki.

“You get naira?”she asked as she wheeled my bag behind her.

That was when I made my first mistake: I replied in fine fine English instead of pidgin. My second mistake was not converting my cedis to naira before getting on the plane. The woman told me it would cost 200 cedis to take me to Lekki. I told her it was too expensive.

“You’re lucky o!” she said. “Some people, we charge them plenty dollars.”

I knew I was being cheated but I also knew there was nothing I could do about it. I had to get to Lekki.

The drive to Lekki took almost two hours. After getting lost twice, the cab driver, who kept calling me aunty and apologizing for his bad cough, finally found Lekki Waterside Hotel.

I was here.

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I had applied for the Farafina Trust workshop last year. I didn’t get in, but I got an email informing me that I had made the shortlist of 70 from which the final 25 were chosen, and encouraging me to keep writing. It was the kind of confidence boost that gave me the right to admit to myself that I was a writer.

And so this year, when I got the email saying that I had been selected as a participant, I let out a loud shriek and did a 10-second dance.

And so even though Arik Air had stressed me out, even though I was overcharged for the cab ride, I was here.

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On the first day of the workshop we met Chimamanda, and I watched her with quiet wonder. We took turns introducing ourselves and it was beautiful listening to everybody gush over her. When it was my turn I had few words, not because I wasn’t blown away by her presence, but because I wanted the taste of her influence to linger in my mouth longer.

The next 10 days were an unravelling.

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Farafina Trust 2016 workshop participants, with facilitators Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Eghosa Imasuen

You can often taste the sweetness of alasa right from the first suck. But until you have eaten out the flesh and chewed it into gum, you cannot truthfully judge how good the fruit is. This is what the people I met at the workshop were like. In the first few days, I knew I had met people I could call nice; but by the time we left the workshop, I had bonded with people I wouldn’t mind being stuck on an island with. (I refuse it IJN by the way. Already struggling with dumsor, I don’t need to be stuck on an island to test my level of madness.)

Sometimes you idolize someone from a distance, and then when you meet them their humanness further confirms their godliness – not the distant memory of a god kind of godliness, but the kind that sits in your head and feels familiar – the kind you discover in yourself. Chimamanda rolled her eyes, laughed the most, loved the hardest, offered herself as a safe space and taught us what she knew with all the badassness her being could contain. She recognized bullshit and called it as it was.

We had three facilitators in addition to Chimamanda – Aslak, Binyavanga and Eghosa. What struck me most about Aslak was the passion with which he spoke of words. His love for literature was so evident in his speech and his clear blue eyes that at the end of the class I was fired up to write something so good that it would elicit a similar emotion from others.

There was something about the way Binyavanga appraised your work that made you want to give your very best. He didn’t need to dissect a story before you knew it was flawed; he let you know if a piece of writing made him fall in love or if it bored him to death.

I hope every writer has someone like Eghosa in their life: to critique, to jest, to gently insult, to praise, to encourage and to let you know how silly you look using a font an editor can barely read.

Halfway through the workshop I was overwhelmed by all I was learning and I wished there were more workshops like that of Farafina Trust, in Ghana and in Africa as a whole.

The workshop taught me to go where it hurts, because it is only then that it matters. It taught me that as a writer my responsibility is first to the story; not to society, not to friends, not to family, but to the story.

It taught me that my normal is enough.

That writing makes me god.

That detail gives my text credibility.

That there are no rules if I can get away with it.

That you can find safe spaces in people.

And that there are stories everywhere, all you have to do is look closely.

 

#FarafinaReads with A. Igoni Barrett and Efe Paul Azino

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Join us on Sunday, 31 July as #FarafinaReads with award-winning writers A. Igoni Barrett and Efe Paul Azino. The authors will be reading from and discussing their work, including their latest books, Blackass (by A. Igoni Barrett) and For Broken Men Who Cross Often (by Efe Paul Azino). There will be conversations, question-and-answer and spoken word performances.

Date: Sunday, 31 July 2016
Time: 3.00 PM
Venue: Bar Enclave, 1 Adeola Adeleye Street, off Coker Road, Ilupeju, Lagos

Entry is free, so bring a friend.

See you there!

 

To buy copies of Blackass or For Broken Men Who Cross Often, please visit our Konga page or call 0807 736 4217.