AWO UNFINISHED GREATNESS: A REVIEW

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. Chief Obafemi Oyeniyi Awolowo took an interest in his country’s well-being and transformed the economy of Nigeria.  AWO Unfinished Greatness presents to us a disciplined, yet stylish man who was dedicated to God and his country. The book covers Awolowo’s career from 1947 to 1987 and answers our most pressing questions: What did Awolowo do for Nigeria? What part did he play in the civil war? What was the cause of the tension between Awolowo and the Igbo people?

Ogunsanwo briefly narrates Awolowo’s beginning years; his experience as the son of a farmer and the sudden change that his father’s death effected in his young life. Despite the challenges he faced, Awolowo finished his education and was called to the bar in 1946. Ogunsanwo skips forward from there and focuses on the pertinent years of Awolowo’s life, the years during which he became one of Nigeria’s founding fathers.

Perhaps I speak for myself, but it was ethereal to read about people like Awolowo, Herbert Macauley, Ahmadu Bello; names that I am familiar with because I often drive on those streets. The book was a living breathing time machine and allowed the reader to step into an era that is long gone.

Were you aware that Awolowo loved sports? He showed his commitment by approving the building of the impressive Liberty Stadium. Did you know he was the first gender-sensitive leader in Nigeria? Or that he brought the first television network to Nigeria’s doorstep? In this book, Awolowo becomes more than just a political leader but a man of passion, vision and conscience. It is worth reading the Awo Unfinished Greatness in order to put a character to the familiar face (after all his face is plastered on our currency).

In 1979, Awolowo was asked,

 “Who takes over if you drop dead?” He replied: “I don’t know. What I know is that people will meet and select someone with outstanding discipline in a peaceful and orderly manner. There should be no problem about a successor. When I was in jail, the party went on all the same…”

Awolowo may not have known who would take over from him, but he made sure  his legacy was so great that you cannot but compare all his successors to his governance. Ogunsanwo does Awolowo justice with his words and the biography is simple, seamless and a pleasure to read.

 

Awo Unfinished Greatness is available now from Kachifo in hardback for N3,500 and in paperback for N1,500. To order please call 0807 736 4217 or email orders@kachifo.com.

Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Dear Writer,

If our previous post deterred you from submitting your manuscripts, read on:

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

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.

All the best!