Learn more about ‘Voice of America’!

We are so excited about our new book, Voice of America by E.C. Osondu! If you missed the book reading on Saturday, 21 May, well, here’s another chance to know more about the book. Here’s an review by writer and poet, Jumoke Verissimo published in the Guardian. Enjoy!

VOICE of America (Farafina, Lagos; 2010) by E. C Osondu is a collection of short stories that squeezes grim, sinister lives and sometimes humour in tales of departing and arriving for, and from dreams. There are 18 stories in this book, which deal with themes like loneliness, anger, destitution, longing, frustration and displacement. One of these stories won the Caine Prize for fiction in 2009. The book examines the struggles of immigrants who are caught in the shocking realities of finding out that America is not as they imagined.

Osondu sets his stories between the lives of Nigerians in America; Nigerians dreaming of America or people in an unnamed war zone in Africa, whose sole desire is to escape from the predicament they are enmeshed in. Thus, the reader is thrown into a socio-psychological milieu where America is not just a country, but the Promised Land.

‘Waiting’, the first story in the collection, also the story which won the Caine Prize, tells us of life in a refugee camp through the boy Orlando, who is named after the inscription on his T-shirt like the other children around him. From him we learn how things work in the camp he lives and his relationship with the other boys, who like him, look forward to being adopted by a rich white family to escape life as a refugee. From this first story, the reader realises that the characters in Voice of America are easy to know, but could also be too easily forgotten, as they dissolve too quickly the moment a new story begins. Perhaps that is why Osondu juggles memory with a stringing familiarity in characterisation, like repeating the characterisation of children named after the words written on their T-shirts, again in ‘Janjaweed’ which is also a story set in a refugee camp, just like in the story ‘Waiting’.

‘A Letter from Home’ is not as confident as the other stories in the collection. It is in an epistolary form, yet it lacks the intimacy that a reader should feel privy to as one reads; too much information. There’s also a struggle with situating the main character’s setting and social class; is he an illiterate rural dweller or an urban dweller in one of the ghettoes? ‘Going Back West’ is a simple story that does little from ignoring the normalcy of reality, yet finds a way to fascinate us with the expectations of fiction. Our character tells the story of his cousin, his mentor, Dele, an intelligent boy with prospect who becomes rascally in America, loses his place in his university and he is deported to Nigeria. He tries many attempts to return to America—borrowing money from a usurer takes him out of the house to involve himself in a crime that takes him to prison where he is killed. The story is told from his mentee’s point of view. There is something else this story does to you, because it does not end with the narrator, giving room for traditional belief of wandering souls.

Continue reading.

Have fun this weekend!

Well, what are you doing this weekend? There are a couple of events which we believe you would find interesting! If you love to shop till you drop, then Fusion is the place to be! The Fusion Lifestyle shopping event is a quarterly event organized by the Fusion team. From fashion accessories to home décor to beauty services and books, there is something for everyone! Of course, Farafina would be there to offer your favourite African titles to you at steep discounts! Do visit our stand tomorrow at the Shell Hall of the Muson Center, Onikan. Fair begins at noon.

Also, Farafina’s latest release, Voice of America is up for discussion tomorrow, 3pm at TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island. Join Abimbola Adelakun and Chiedu Ifeozo as they read from Osondu’s short story collection. Event promises to be exciting as Wana of Inspiration FM will be moderating! Also, Marden Intergrated Services, will be providing wine for the event! Plus you get to win a free book! You can’t afford to miss this!

See you there!

Chimamanda selected for Radcliffe Institute fellowship

Hearty congratulations to Farafina author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as she has been chosen as a fellow for the 2011/2012 session at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Chimamanda was chosen alongside 51 others for the one-year programme. Adichie is expected to work on her fourth novel during this period.

Every year, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University accepts applications from several individuals who wish to pursue advanced work across a wide range of academic disciplines, professions, and creative arts. Also selected for this year’s programme is Beasts of No Nation author, Uzodinma Iweala who is expected to work on his book, Speak No Evil.

“These exceptional scholars, researchers, and artists are poised for a year of discovery, innovation, and creation,” said Dean Barbara J. Grosz, Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “As they work within and across disciplines, transformative ideas emerge during the year that have a lasting impact well beyond the fellowship itself.”

Criteria for selection included impressive accomplishments and the potential long-term impact of the projects they seek to undertake during their fellowship.

Voice Of America Book Reading This Saturday!

Farafina’s latest release, Voice of America by E.C. Osondu is up for discussion this Saturday , 21 May at TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, 3pm! Come join Punch columnist, Abimbola Adelakun and poet, Chiedu Ifeozo as they read from Osondu’s short story collection. Inspiration FM presenter, Wana will be moderating.Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ prize, Voice of America is full of wit and humour and you are sure to have a good time! Plus you get a chance to win a free copy of the book! Don’t miss it! 

Voice of America Flash Fiction competition

Finally, Voice of America is out and Farafina will be giving out five free copies of the book to five budding writers who best step to E.C. Osondu! All you have to do is read a short excerpt of your choice from Voice of America below, continue the story in your own words and email it to voa@kachifo.com on or before May 31st 2011. The lucky winners will be announced two weeks later. Entry is free.

Excited right? Well, before you start, here are the rules.

 Voice of America Flash Fiction Rules

  •   Entry is free and open to everyone except Farafina authors and Kachifo staff.
  •  Entries must be 300 words or less, and should be pasted in the body of an email to voa@kachifo.com on or before May 31st 2011.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • You can use a pen name but please make sure your real name is included in the email.
  • The three winners will be announced on our blog, facebook page and via email, and will need to arrange to collect their prizes from our office in Yaba, Lagos.

Excerpts (please choose one)

Voice of America

We were sitting in front of Ambo’s provision store, drinking the local gin, ogogoro, mixed with Coke and listening to a program called Music Time in Africa on the Voice of America. We were mostly young men who were spending our long summer holidays in the village.

The presenter announced that there was a special request for an African song from an American girl whose name was Laura Williams, and that she was also interested in pen pals from every part of Africa, especially Nigeria. Onwordi, who had been pensive all this while, rushed to Ambo the shopkeeper, collected a pen, and began to take down her address. This immediately led to a scramble among the rest of us to get the address too. We all took it down, folded the pieces of paper, put them in our pockets, and promised we were going to write as soon as we got home that night.

We were sitting in Ambo’s shop one evening when Onwordi swaggered in holding a white envelope with a small American stamp. There was a bald eagle on the stamp. He waved it in our faces, smiling. He called for drinks, and we all rushed to him, trying to snatch the envelope from his hands.

“She has replied,” he said, looking very proud, like a man who had unexpectedly caught a big fish with a hook in the small village river…  

The men they married

Ego married a certified nursing assistant who claimed to be a medical doctor. He sent her glossy, smiling pictures of himself in a lab coat. When he came to pay her bride price that December in Lagos, she was the envy of friends and neighbors. Everyone referred to him respectfully as “Doctor.” Her parents were very proud of her achievement. 

She joined him a few months later in America and discovered that he had not been anywhere near a medical school. He worked at Duyn Home, a retirement home for the elderly. He came back home every day smelling of the aged, and complained about the ninety-eight-year-old Rose Kelly, who grabbed him by his shirt each time he tidied her and whispered into his ears, “Tell me about lions, did you ride a cub like Tarzan back in Africa?”

Miracle baby                                                                          

Every summer Ijeoma’s mother-in-law asked her to come to Nigeria to seek a solution to her childlessness. The previous year she had sent Ijeoma a video recording of Nigeria’s latest miracle pastor.

The weekend after Ijeoma arrived, her mother-in-law chartered a taxi to take them to a church in Badagry, on the outskirts of Lagos, where the prophet’s church was located. The prophet …. took Ijeoma by the hand and led her to a pond behind the church…. Pointing at the fish in the pond, the prophet spoke to Ijeoma.

“These are all children; these are all babies waiting to be born. Look closely, and tell me the one that you like.” … Shortly after Ijeoma got back to the United States, she discovered she was pregnant. At first she didn’t believe it, but after two further tests, the result was the same. She was indeed pregnant.


Voice of America out in stores!

Now available for N1, 500

Finally, Voice of America, a collection of short stories by E.C. Osondu is available in stores!

Voice of America is set in Nigeria and America and 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.

Full of humour, pathos and wisdom, Voice of America is Osondu’s first book and was shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book (Africa region).


*Voice of America is availablat these bookshops:

TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island

Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi

The Hub, Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki

PatabahShop B18, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere

Bogobiri, 9, Maitama Sule Street, South West, Ikoyi

LifeHouse, 33 Sinari Daranijo Street, Off Younis Bashorun Street, Off Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island

 More bookstores to be added soon! You can also purchase a copy at the ongoing Nigerian International Book Fair; our stand is D12. Alternatively, you can buy directly from us by calling 08077364217 or visit our website at www.kachifo.com. We also deliver, charges may apply!




We Are Nigerians, Yes We Are!

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In June, Farafina Educational will be releasing We Are Nigerians: Civics and History for Primary Schools 1-6. Based on the national civics curriculum, We Are Nigerians will introduce primary school students to their rights and responsibilities as Nigerian citizens, and teach them about what they should expect from the government. Our hope is that the books inspire young Nigerians to become engaged citizens and future leaders!


Farafina @ Nigeria International Book Fair

The Nigeria International Book Fair has come a long way. Now in its tenth year, NIBF has continued to promote the reading culture by bringing books closer to the people for better education and self-empowerment. It is also a great networking opportunity for publishers, authors, poets and book-lovers. Organised annually by the Nigerian Book Fair Trust, NIBF is a splendid opportunity to buy those books you have craved at unbelievable prices! So come Monday, 9 May, we would be at stall D12 in the Muti-Purpose halls of the University of Lagos! See you there!

*Fair begins on Monday, 9 May by 9am and ends on Saturday, 14 May, 2011.


An Excerpt of ‘Voice of America’

As you all know, E.C. Osondu’s Voice of America will be in bookshops this May. Well, one of the stories in it, JanjaWeed Wife was awarded the 2011 Pushcart Prize

You can read an excerpt below. Enjoy!

Our tents at the Zagrawa Refugee Camp looked like the humps of thousands of ocher camels crouching in the sand. We all liked to call them tents, but they were not real tents. Some were merely old rags tied together; others were made of old plastic bags, while a lucky few had real tents constructed with tarpaulins. Children from whose tents smoke rose were jumping around and playing, the smoke an assurance that they would soon have something to eat. Tents like ours from which no smoke rose filled with the sullen faces of those of us waiting for our mothers to come back from where they had gone to look for irewood. Nur and I would always watch the road for dust rising into the air, our sign to go get our buckets and water basins and go form a line and wait. Sometimes we were lucky to be among the early ones in the line, because after the first few people, the line would scatter. I was happy that the wells had dried up. Each time I looked into the well while fetching water, I would usually see Father’s head floating around in it. I would close my eyes and continue to fetch the water without looking. I never told Mother; I did not want to add to her worries. Since we had come to the camp, she had thrown silence around her like a black-colored shawl. These days she smiled only with her teeth, unlike in the past when her smile rose from her heart and I could see the three wrinkles on each corner of her eyes.

When there was still water in the well, fighting went on all day as boys and girls struggled to grab the long rope and tie it to their buckets. More water was spilled in the fight over the rope than was fetched. The strong boys helped the girls they admired to fetch water. I remember that it was while standing by the well watching the fights that I first saw Deng. I cannot talk about Deng now.

Mama did not frighten us with the Janjaweed anymore. She did not even want us to mention the word around her. The only time she had been her old self was when we came back from the office to our tent with clothes that were sent to the camp from America. The Red Cross people had made us wait as usual, and then we were told to walk to the bundle of clothes and pick one T-shirt each. Nur picked one with the inscription “I’m Loving It”; I picked one that said “Shake What Ya Mama Gave Ya.” It had a drawing of a girl with long hair and large breasts, who was pointing at her breasts and smiling. I was lucky to get a shirt that was my exact size and was very proud to wear it. I was hoping that Deng would see me wearing the shirt.

“Where do you think you are going to with the picture of that half-naked girl with a hump on her chest?” Mama shouted at me. Nur covered her mouth and began to laugh behind her fingers.

“Answer me, or has someone suddenly cut off your tongue? Or you think because your father is not here, you now have the license to dress like a wayward girl? You better remove that flimsy piece of cloth and return it to wherever you got it from,” she said. She walked into the inner tent, where she began to blow on the firewood, her eyes quickly filling with tears, whether from the wood smoke or from her shouting at me I could not really tell.

Nur was still laughing. I turned to her and whispered that I was going to tell Mama that the inscription on her T-shirt said something bad. “What does it say? How can you say it is saying something bad? Or is it because you love the girl with the hump on her chest?”“Yours says ‘I’m Loving It.’ What exactly are you loving? You are loving being with boys, eh?”

Want to win a free copy? Well, watch this space!