AKE ART AND BOOK FESTIVAL IS UNDERWAY

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The Ake Art and Book Festival kicked off on Tuesday 19th November and no one is more excited than us! We really, really would like to meet you at the Festival. Five of our Authors, Igoni Barrett, Abraham Oshoko, Binyavanga Wainaina, Olusegun Adeniyi and Eghosa Imasuen along with other literary voices, Teju Cole, Yewande Omotoso, Molara Wood, Victor Ehikamenor and others will be buzzing about at the various discussion panels and events.

If that’s not enough, the will be art exhibitions and plays; including the stage adaptation of the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives based on the book by author and Festival organiser, Lola Shoneyin.

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Cast of #BabaSegi’s at rehearsal

The Festival ends on Sunday 24th November after a truly amazing weekend line up. Checheck out the full programme here.

For directions to the Festival click here.

Want to know more about the Festival?  Read on…

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question: What is the Ake Arts and Book Festival all about?

Answer: The Ake Arts and Book Festival is a six-day programme of cultural, artistic and literary events. These will include readings, master classes, workshops, performances and talks delivered by both Nigerian and international authors, thinkers, poets, filmmakers, actors, artists and academics.Events will also include a comprehensive book fair, schools visits, a stage play, film showings, a musical concert, and library openings to pupils, publishers and book-buyers will be invited. Members of the public will be invited to participate in these events to promote social inclusion.

Question: Do I need an invitation to attend the festival?

Answer: No, you do not need an invitation to attend the festival. However, you need to register and registration costs N1000/ $6.50. Registration gives you access to the festival venue and to some of the free events. You will also be entitled to the festival welcome package. The registration fee is a one-off payment. We have both free events and events that can be booked and paid for online/in person prior to the event or in person at the venue. Because of the generosity of sponsors, most events are free.

Question: How do I register for the master classes?

Answer: You apply on the website, and you are required to have foundational knowledge of the classes you wish to apply for. You will be notified if you have been accepted by October. Please note that the selections will be made by the facilitators on a first come, first serve basis. We encourage you to apply early.

Question: How can I participate in the online competitions?

Answer: The online competitions is open to everyone. All you have to do is create an account on the website and you can start sending in your answers. You will be notified by email if you are one of our lucky winners.

Question: Will the books of participating authors be available at the festival?

Answer: Yes, books written by visiting authors will be available at the festival and you will be able to get your books autographed. From October if you are interested in a particular author, you will be able to buy the books online, or pick them up at our Lagos office or the Ibadan or Abuja depot.

Question: Is it only the books that I buy at the book fair that the authors will autograph?

Answer: No. You can come with copies you bought previously or the books that you ordered before the festival.

Question: I am an author and I would like to participate in the festival and showcase my work, how can I do this?

Answer: Please send an email to office@akefestival.org. We invite our guests to participate ten months before the actual festival.It is unlikely that you will be invited to the 2013 festival but there’s always next year. Each year, we will have a different theme. It is important that your work is in line with our criteria, and that your work is given the go-ahead by our guest selection committee.

 

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Abraham Oshoko, #ShugaArtist judge and author of June 12 graphic novel series on the #ShugaArtist search

Abraham Oshoko, #ShugaArtist judge

Abraham Oshoko, #ShugaArtist judge

Earlier we profiled Adeniran Adeniji, a #ShugaArtist judge. Learn more about Abraham Oshoko one of the other judges and see what he has to say about Nigerian artistic talent and the origins of his own passion for comic art.

Abraham Oshoko is a writer, illustrator and graphic designer. His cartoons have featured in NEXT newspaper, amongst others. Passionate about African art, he believes there is untapped creative inspiration in ancient and contemporary African history. He hopes to share as much of this as possible in his graphic novels.

 

Excerpt: Abraham Oshoko's June 12 1993:Annulment

Excerpt: Abraham Oshoko’s June 12 1993:Annulment

June 12: The Struggle for Power in Nigeria his first full-length graphic novel, about political upheaval in Nigeria during the mid-1990s, was published in 2007 under Kachifo Limited’s Farafina imprint. In 2013 a second instalment, June 12 1993: Annulment followed also by Farafina.

Abraham currently runs the Prolifix School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts, where he hopes to prove that everyone can learn to draw. He lives in Lagos with his wife and children.

Farafina Books hooked up with Abraham to get his take on #ShugaArtist and Nigerian talent.

FB: What was your first encounter with comic books?

AO: My first encounter with comic books was when I was in Primary 5 and I came across the then ‘Battle Picture Library’ and ‘War Picture Library’’ then later ‘Commando Comics’. These were comic books based on the Second World War. I later came across Fantasy comics like Conan and other superheroes comics much later.

FB: What was your inspiration for becoming a comic artist?

AO: I think the  ability to ‘create something’ is really fascinating and it’s a real encouragement. But it all really started from an illustration of cowboys and Indians on the wrapping on a pack of bubble gum when I was much younger.

FB: Do you have any images that inspired your passion?

AO: Yes… I’m fascinated with illustrations of armoured tanks, soldiers and classic architectural pieces. I particularly appreciate artwork that shows all the small details.

FB: When you started out, comic art wasn’t so popular in Nigeria, how would you describe the comic art industry in Nigeria today?

AO: That’s not completely correct. We had Papa Ajasco and Super Story and they were very popular comic stories in those days. Presently, I’ll say it’s quite young. Though I think with time it will gain ground. Think about it, with the release of Thor, Iron Man, Spider man, Avengers, Captain America and so on, the best selling movies in Hollywood are actually comic book stories.

FB: So, do we have the local talent to transform #ShugaNaija into a comic book?

AO: Obviously, we do. There are a lot of talented and aspiring artists out there. All they need is encouragement and perhaps a more conducive working environment.

FB: What level of quality do you expect to see from a potential #ShugaArtist? Do you have any images that depict the level of talent we can expect to see?

AO: Oh, I expect the same quality and attention paid to details as we see in American and Japanese comics.

FB: Why should Nigerian comic artists be entering the #ShugaArtist selection process?

AO: It would give them the exposure needed in order to compete with other artists internationally.

Word!

JUNE 12 Book Tour: Benin and Ibadan

On Tuesday, June 25, the June 12 Book Tour continued in Benin City, at Hotel Benin Plaza conference hall. The crowd who came to listen to the author consisted mostly of students eager to learn more about the history of their country and perhaps, to see the face of one bold enough to write about an issue perceived as extremely sensitive in political circles. Dr. Eugene Anthony Enahoro was also present at the reading. The tour came to an end on June 29, with a final reading at The Bookseller, Magazine road, Jericho, Ibadan. The author read from the book to the listening audience and autographed some copies.  

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The Booksellers, Ibadan

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Benin Plaza

Copies of June 12: The Annulment, are still available for sale to interested persons; all you have to do is contact us or come to Kachifo premises in Yaba to get yours! 

Abraham Oshoko’s June 12 1993: Annulment so hot even Nigerian Authorities won’t let it go!

3On the 12th of June 2013, Kachifo Limited was scheduled to commence circulation of its latest publication, June 12, 1993 Annulment, by Abraham Oshoko, sequel to June 12, The Struggle for Power in Nigeria.

The cargo containing the books arrived in Nigeria on Sunday, the 9th of June, 2013, and our staff went to the airport and with our clearing agents, commenced the necessary steps and clearance required before the books would be released. This was not to be, as after the Standard Organization of Nigeria had carried out their screening procedures, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, had ensured that the cargo contained no contraband and cleared the books.

Then, just when we thought we could finally deliver the books to the waiting public, they were promptly seized by none other than the Nigerian State Security Service. Kachifo Limited staff were informed that clearance was being withheld to enable the State Security Service check the content of the book and ensure that the publication was not a “violence, anti-government book”. Annoying as this was, we have to say we did feel a little honoured that one of our publications was joining the honoured State Security Service roll. Really, doesn’t it have to be an important book to get blocked by SSS?

Nigerian State Security Service

Nigerian State Security Service

As part of the clarification process by the State Security Service, the book would have to pass through a panel, set up by them, to go through its contents and ensure that it did not contain anything that would potentially spark unrest upon circulation. They also stated that this was an important measure for them due to the fragile political state of the country because, according to them, “June 12 was the root of Nigeria’s current political problems” (we withhold all comment on this but would really like to know what you think).

The State Security Service then took 6 copies of the publication for review free – which were not returned even after the books had finally been cleared for release on Saturday, the 15th of July 2013. Staff of Kachifo Limited were on hand to receive them, after which the books were brought to our premises in Yaba, and circulation commenced.

The sudden anxiety displayed by the State Security Service was surprising to us at Kachifo Limited because the first part of the multi-part series which was published in 2006 and has been in circulation since then has not caused unrest of any sort.

The June 12 elections are, and will always be, a significant event in our country because the elections were a true display of fairness and democracy. It is important that such a vital part of our history be kept alive, for generations here and to come, to know and understand our past – warts and all. What  a gaping hole it would leave if we tried to celebrate and recognise some events and people, but act as though other events and the people involved in them never existed. Never forget #june121993.

Post script: Please tell us what you think our our post and of the June 12 event in general in the comments section below or via Facebook or on Twitter using the hastag #june121993 and we’ll reweet/like your post. Our Twitter handle is @farafinabooks or finds us on Facebook as Farafina Kachifo.

Abraham Oshoko: “It was the first time in Nigerian history as a nation that an election was held that was free and fair and free of electoral violence and malpractice.”

Abraham Oshoko, author and illustrator of the June 12 graphic novels talks about his newest addition to the June 12 series – June 12, 1993: Annulment and also what it means to be a graphic novelist.

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1. What did you find most challenging in writing June 12: Annulment?

The research…piecing together all the details from numerous sources.

2. Was June 12: Annulment easier to write than the first June 12?

Yes and No. Yes because I have researched and done something like this before (even though there were differences in conceptualisation) and no because the style of this new volume is different from the initial one.

Let me explain.  The first book (being the first one), shifted between prose and reportage. It was like that because it was my first time and the amount of information gathered during the research work was so staggering that it was difficult to decide how much information should come in and how it should be presented. Should it be prose, documentary, poetry, comedy or tragicomedy?

However, for this new book, I settled for prose. I thought; why not tell the story from the perspective of each of the players? Also, why not turn the players themselves into actual characters so that even though the story is non-fiction, it could be told in a way that will be appealing and yet intriguing to the reader without compromising the truth?

So you have a story that takes us into the reasoning of Sani Abacha on why he really believed it was his ‘turn’ to be head of state; or why IBB felt he had no choice but to go along with the annulment or why MKO stood his ground that he won an election and therefore he has to rule etc.

3. How did you conduct your research?

By gathering books, journals and articles written by all sides of the controversy. So there were books written by people close to Babangida, MKO, reports of eyewitness meetings with Abacha, Shonekan and so on. There were also personal interviews from most of the leading figures of that era.

After this, the facts have to be cross checked with other research materials.

It was records from news magazines like Tell, The News, Newswatch, African Concord etc. that strengthened the chronological order in the graphic novel.

4. Why did the June 12 elections stand out for you, after all there were other elections that were sabotaged in one way or the other?

It was the first time in Nigerian history as a nation that an election was held that was free and fair and free of electoral violence and malpractice. This is also the view of all the members of the Nigerian Electoral Monitoring Group and all the international observers from several foreign countries. So it was a monumental event that should be recorded properly.

 5. Did you feel that you were objective when writing June 12?

Yes. The goal was to avoid writing propaganda and faithfully chronicle the Nigerian history so that posterity would have an accurate history as much as possible. MKO Abiola was not spared in the book. People who were close to him spoke freely of his shortcomings as a person and as a leader; events surrounding him were depicted the way they actually happened. Babangida was not spared either but he wasn’t also unduly victimized. The truth was told according to what really happened by piecing together all parts of the puzzle and fitting them together to give us the whole picture.

6. What message would you like your readers to take from June 12: Annulment?

We need to be highly informed about our past and soberly draw lessons from it as we decide where we intend to go as a nation and as individuals from henceforth.

7. Do you write the story first and then draw the graphics or do the graphics come first for you?

Of course I have to write first. After researching different materials, collation is done and then plot is built after which I write the script. It is after this that the process of illustrating begins.

8. What would you say were the differences between a graphic novel and a comic?

Apart from the volume (comics are regularly 22 to 25 pages; in other words, a single graphic novel chapter), graphic novels are more mature. Comics may be for children but graphic novels (being actually novels but in illustrated format) definitely have a wider appeal.

9. Your portrayal of Babangida and the complexities of his position is really in-depth. Would you say he is the main character of June 12?

I wouldn’t say he is the main character as there are three main characters – Abiola, Babangida and Abacha and there are several supporting characters like Shehu Yar’Adua, General Obasanjo, Ernest Shonekan, Omo Omoruyi, Beko Ransome Kuti on the side of the activists and so on.

Abraham Oshoko

10. What would your advice to other writers and graphic designers be?

Keep at it. You learn to write or draw by actually doing it. Also, take some time off to study and enjoy the works of other gifted minds!

Finally, “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding.” 

JUNE 12 1993: ANNULMENT is the second in this multi-volume series by Abraham Oshoko. The book can be pre-ordered by emailing orders@kachifo.com, calling +2348077364217 or tweeting at us: @farafinabooks

Upon release, JUNE 12, 1993: THE ANNULMENT will be available in all major bookstores across the country.

 

Coming Soon: JUNE 12, 1993: The Annulment

June 12 Cover(130529)Kachifo Limited, publishers of Farafina Books, is proud to announce the forthcoming release of JUNE 12, 1993: THE ANNULMENT the second installment in the historical graphic novel series by Abraham Oshoko. The book tells the important and intriguing story of one of the most important days in Nigeria’s history, June 12 1993 and the events surrounding it.

Release date is June 12, 2013.

ABOUT THE BOOK
On the 12th of June 1993, a presidential election, adjudged free and fair by an overwhelming majority of observers, took place in Nigeria. A few days after, its results were suspended; and barely a week later, Nigerians were given a new word to add to their vocabulary, ‘annulment’.

What really happened in those tumultuous days between June and November 1993? For the first time ever, the full story, with its intricacies, intrigue and complexities, is told from the perspectives of all its major players, in this full-colour graphic novel.

JUNE 12 1993: ANNULMENT is the second in this multi-volume series by Abraham Oshoko.

JUNE 12, 1993: THE ANNULMENT can be pre-ordered by emailing orders@kachifo.com, calling +2348077364217 or tweeting at us: @farafinabooks

Upon release, JUNE 12, 1993: THE ANNULMENT will be available in all major bookstores across the country.

June 12, 1993: The Annulment

By Abraham Oshoko

ISBN: 978-978-51084-4-6

Published in 2013 by Kachifo Limited, under its Farafina imprint