BookJam this evening

If you are in Abuja and you want to relax in an artistic ambience this evening, then the BookJam@Silverbird is the event.  The book for review is Lola Shoneyin’s hilarious narration of a polygamous home,  The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is a story that explores polygamy in the Nigerian context. ‘For a polygamist like Baba Segi, his collection of wives and a gaggle of children are the symbol of prosperity, success and validation of his manhood. Everything runs reasonably smoothly in the patriarchal home, until wife number four intrudes on this family romance’ and threatens to reveal a devastating secret.

Joining Lola at this event is the popular actor, Femi Branch, whose collection of plays and fifty poems was recently published in his anthology, From Senbora. Poet, Kufre Ekanem, would also be reading from about his debut poetry book, The Ant Eaters: a collection of rants and anthems.

The BookJam@Silverbird Abuja is a book party, a collaboration of the Abuja Literary Society and Silverbird. It is anchored by co-host of the Abuja Poetry Slam, Jide Attah, and consists of book readings, book signings, raffle draw and a discussion by the guest authors. In addition, there will be special Slam poetry performance by some of Abuja’s finest Slam champions.

Held on the last Friday of every month at the Silverbird Entertainment Centre, Central Area, Abuja, at 6pm, the monthly book feast has become a stable staple in Abuja’s literary calendar, promoting book sales, author-fan interaction and a literary culture in Nigeria’s federal capital city.

New titles for 2011!

Well, as you know, E.C. Osondu’s  Voice of America will be published by Farafina in April 2011. The book has generated a lot of rave reviews already. We have taken the liberty of pasting a few of these. Kinda gives you a taste of what to expect! Enjoy!

In “Welcome to America” a family patriarch who has struck it big in Lagos builds a four-storey mansion and designates it the family house. Relatives from the village are to wake up one day, pack their bags and move to Lagos to stay in this house, where there will always be room for them. Most of them don’t know each other even by sight, but they all eat from the same big bowl. This anecdote works very well as a metaphor for Caine prizewinner EC Osondu’s first collection of short stories, Voice of America. There is room here for every style of storytelling, from folktale to crime tale to satire, to the very sombre and sad – and just when you think the writer has surely exhausted his bag of uproariously funny observations of street life in Lagos, or of immigrant experience in America, he unpacks more.

Keep reading.

Just a glance at the title of E.C. Osondu’s debut collection of short stories, Voice of America, yields a small, almost obvious irony. Osondu is a Nigerian-born writer and already the recipient of the Caine Prize for African Writing. His stories overflow with ogogoro gin and Fela Kuti references and, yet, this collection is titled with a phrase that could be fitting for a Sarah Palin rally in Nebraska. Even before the final, titular story about a radio station called the Voice of America, though, the title proves to be fitting. Osondu’s stories are often set in Nigeria, but the narrative momentum is set in motion by the idea, the promise, the distance, the myth, the legacy, the gifts, or, of course, the voice of America.

In “Waiting,” a couple boys stuck in a refugee camp trade descriptions of a place they’ve never been. “There is a tablet for every sickness in America,” says one. “Everyone in America knows how to swim; all the houses have swimming pools,” says another.

The mother who writes to her son in “A Letter from Home” describes a luminous allure, “It did not surprise me when you said you were leaving for America, because you were born the year the American flag was planted on the moon. During moonlight play, while other children saw the man in the moon, you always ran back home to tell me that you saw the American flag waving to you.”

Read on.

*Coming soon also; Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen.

Read a ‘good’ book!

So you’ve been thinking, what makes a good book? Is it adherence to laid down rules and procedures even if these make the writing mechanical and uninteresting? Is it the thematic preoccupation; does it have to address certain societal issues before it can qualify as a good book? Should it be written in complex language such that you can’t understand?

So what exactly makes a good book? From our point of view, the definition of a good book is dependent on the reader. A good book is one that keeps the reader glued to his seat. It is one that keeps the reader turning page after page; it keeps the reader longing for more. It’s one that keeps the reader ooohing and aaahing! That, in our opinion is the definition of a good book and that’s what we at Farafina are committed to giving our readers. We combine quality and affordable prices while sticking to our motto of telling the African story.

Wouldn’t you rather read a ‘good’ book?

View the complete list of Farafina titles here.

Buy Farafina books here.

You could also follow us on twitter and facebook.

Happy reading!

*Watch out for new titles in 2011; Fine Boys– Eghosa Imasuen and Voice of America-E.C. Osondu

E.C Osondu nominated for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

Caine prize winner and Farafina author, E.C Osondu is one of the nominees for this year’s Commonwealth Prize for best first book(Africa region) for his collection of short stories, Voice of America. Voice of America, which is due for publication by Farafina in May 2011, was shortlisted alongside Chioma Okereke’s Bitter Leaf and Uzoma Uponi’s Colour Blind, both Nigerian writers.

Set in Nigeria and America, Voice of America moves from boys and girls in villages and refugee camps to the disillusionment and confusion of young married couples living in America, and back to bustling Lagos. It is the story of two countries and the frayed bonds between them. The collection has received a lot of rave reviews already. 

Helon Habila’s Oil on Water was also nominated in the best book category(Africa). Habila, also a Caine prizewinner, won the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) in 2003 for his debut novel, Waiting for an Angel.

“The Commonwealth Prize, established in 1987, aims to recognise the best fiction by both established and new writers from Commonwealth countries and ensure these works reach a wider audience outside their countries of origin. Almost 200 books have now been recognised with prizes since the scheme began.

The Prize aims to discover and promote up-and-coming and under-recognised writers, encourage dialogue and understanding of different cultures through reading, and share compelling stories of human experience.”

Asides the African region, the prizes for Best Book and Best First Book are awarded in three other regions: Caribbean and Canada, South Asia and Europe and South East Asia and Pacific.

Nigerian writers who have won this prize in the past include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her debut novel Purple Hibiscus, Jesuit Priest, Uwem Akpan’s for his debut collection of short stories, Say You Are One of Them and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, who clinched the 2010 prize for her novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance.

*Regional winners will be announced on the 3rd of March, 2011 while the overall winners will be announced on the 21st of May, 2011.



The Bridport Prize

It’s a new year and as usual, a lot of people have made new year resolutions. Well, if your new year resolution is to write more, here’s a story contest for you. Organisers of the Bridport Literary Festival are calling for entries; it could be a short story, a poem or flash fiction. Deadline for receipt of entries is 30th of June 2011.


The Prize is open to anyone, including non-UK applicants, over 16 years. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any website or public online forum, broadcast nor winning or placed in any other competition.

Competition Rules

  • Maximum of 5000 words for short stories (no minimum)
  • Maximum of 42 lines for poems (no minimum)
  • Maximum of 250 words for flash fiction (no minimum)
  • The title is NOT included in the word count or line count.


Entry fee is £5 per flash fiction, £6 per poem or £7 per story (you can send as many entries as you like).

Entry Format

  • Entries must be in English, typed, single sided, with pages numbered.
  • Stories and flash fiction to be double spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page, poems to be single spaced.


  • The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.
  • Judges are unable to comment on individual entries.
  • Judging is fair and unbiased. Experienced readers assist the named judges in selecting the shortlists, headed by Jon Wyatt for short stories and Candy Neubert for poems.


Prizes for both short story and poetry categories are: 

  • 1st £5000
  • 2nd £1000
  • 3rd £500

plus 10 supplementary prizes of £50 each.

The prizes for the flash fiction category are;

  • 1st £1000
  • 2nd £500
  • 3rd £250

plus 3 supplementary prizes of £25 each.

Prizewinners / Prizegiving

  • Prizewinners will be notified in writing by end of October 2011.
  • The list of prizewinners will be displayed on the website after the awards ceremony on 26th November 2011.
  • Prizes will be awarded during the Bridport Literary Festival.
  • Winners will be expected to attend the awards ceremony if possible.


Architectural Identities: An Exhibition

Farafina is proud to be associated with an upcoming design exhibition, Architectural Identities, opening at Whitespace on Friday February 11th.
Whitespace is a small boutique short term lettable space/venue for cultural and retail use. It is located at 58 Raymond Njoku St., Ikoyi, Lagos

More details on the exhibition below.

Architectural Identities: An Exhibition

Why care about an exhibition on Nigerian architecture and design, when
there is the excitement and glamour of fashion shows, live music
performances, photography and art displays? Because design is at the
foundation of everything! Everything must be designed, even the very
spaces in which we live.

Every element of a city – its public spaces, parks, buildings and
streetscapes – needs design. Yet some argue that post-1970, one of the
problems in Lagos is that it lacks a coherent and authentic aesthetic,
much less functionality. The house you live in and the building in
which you work may (hopefully!) stand straight, but do they inspire
you? The streets on which you drive may (eventually!) lead you to your
destination, but what do they illuminate along the way about the
possibilities of our city? And where is the green in Lagos? Do we have
real open and public spaces? Is Nigerian traditional architecture
completely dead or can it be adapted and worked into a 21st-century

Architectural Identities: An Exhibition seeks to answer some of these
questions and prompt you to ask more.

It showcases the work of a young crop of architects and designers who
are looking to redefine the design landscape in Nigeria, with
intelligence and boldness.

The exhibition runs from Friday 11 – 18th February 2011

We look forward to seeing you there.

Contact (tel – 017368094) for more information