Wednesday, September 2, 2015

NEW SHORT STORY ON LONG STORY SHORT

I have a story up on A Long Story Short. It's titled Letter from the Rainmaker’s Daughter. It's one I'm particulary proud of.

Here's an excerpt:
"It’s true, I wasn’t happy to hear that you were searching for your father’s people and that you were writing his memoir. One can’t be happy about reopening old wounds and digging up buried memories, but perhaps, it was all fated to happen. So I have summoned up the courage to write this letter."

Read and comment.


Monday, August 3, 2015

THE SARABA MANUSCRIPT PROJECT


Do you have a completed work of fiction and/or non-fiction but haven't yet found a home for it?

The publishers of Saraba Magazine are happy to announce the commencement of the Saraba Manuscript Project. Saraba Magazine has published the works of up to three hundred writers online, in their magazines, poetry chapbooks, and website. They are soliciting fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. Nigerian writers are invited to submit their work. 

This competition aims to produce a shortlist of ten writers. Five in fiction and five in the non-fiction category. All shortlisted manuscripts will initially be published as e-books and audio-books. The prize includes an award of N100,000 to the winning manuscripts in the fiction and the non-fiction categories. All shortlisted entrants will receive a publishing deal from Saraba, including N100,000 advance against royalties.

Amazing isn't it? So If you have just completed a manuscript you’ll like to enter for the prize, or know someone who has, please visit manuscript.sarabamag.com for additional information on guidelines. 

The judges include Rotimi Babatunde, Noo Saro-Wiwa, and Azafi Omoluabi-Ogosi.
  
If you have any questions, write Olaoluwa Akinoluwa at info@sarabamag.com.

So why don't you start writing?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ON BLACK SISTERS' STREET: A BOOK REVIEW



Title: On Black Sisters’ Street
Author: Chika Unigwe
Length: 298 pages
Genre: Fiction.
Publisher / Year: Vintage U.K Random House/2010 
Source: From Nnedinma Jane Kalu
Rating: .5/5
Why I Read It: Chika Unigwe is a terrific writer. I read a non-fiction account of how she met with these prostitutes while conducting her research.

Date Read: 26/07/15


I know I should have read this book a long, time ago. To be honest, I've been looking forward to reading it. Thank God I finally got to it.

On Black Sisters’ street follows the lives of four young African women who, by choice or fate or both, find themselves working on the red light district in Brussels. The novel opens with the death of the ambitious Sisi, an only child, who had travelled from Nigeria to Belgium in search of greener pastures. Her colleagues—Efe, Ama and Joyce—are shaken by the news. They wonder whether they will be next. Their fears are palpable and the tension in the house is so thick, it can be cut with a knife. And so, one by one, they begin to open up to each other about their past lives leading up to the moment. How did each one come to work as a prostitute. Their stories are as different as their faces and their temperaments. Chika Unigwe does a great job of sketching each portrait, of narrating each girls’ story so we get to know them intimately and can empathize with each of them.

It is a disturbing and searching investigation of the many elements that make many African women fall prey to ruthless pimps like Senghor Dele who acquire fake passports and visas for young girls to travel to Europe. These girls are then forced to pay back a whopping 30,000 Euros in monthly installments. Escape at your own peril. Senghor Dele has eyes everywhere and the police are on his payroll. And there’s the ruthless chaperone called ‘Madam’.


On Black Sisters’ Street is  a solid work of fiction, and very relatable. Joyce’s heart-wrenching tale brought tears to my eyes. At fifteen, an ethnic conflict rids her of her family and her virginity. When peacekeeping soldier, Polycarp falls in love with her and takes her to Lagos from a refugee camp, I thought she had found freedom. But no, that was the beginning of her troubles. Polycarp cannot spend the rest of his life with her because he has a duty to make his family happy. Her tale is just as sad as the others’. Efe, whose mother died and suddenly found that she had to be mother, father (because her dad was often drunk and under the table) and even mistress to a hair extensions mogul. And Ama, whose stepfather often forced himself on her while her mother pretended not to notice. At some point Ama asks why? Why did Joyce’s boyfriend abandon her? Joyce says, “Because he did it because.” No one knows why human beings do hurtful, terrible things to people who have done them no harm.

The characters are strong and make choices within the limits of their circumstances and environments. Most of the suspense revolves around Sisi’s death and disappearance. The unfolding plot reveals her choice and its consequences and how each person’s choice was influenced by different circumstance. And Sisi was petrified by the thought that if she married her school teacher boyfriend, Peter, that she’d be as poor as her parents. Chika expresses it beautifully,
“When she thought about her life, the phrase that came to her mind was omnes errant…a series of mistakes.”

I shall never forget that paragraph or the details of the girls’ job descriptions. I was grateful for Chika Unigwe’s courage as she walked the red light districts of Brussels in her mini-skirt and high-heeled boots while she conducted her research for this solid book. Frankly, I found it difficult to put this book down.

On Black Sisters’ street will remain relevant until the end of time. And I applaud the NLNG judges for awarding this beautiful book it’s 2013 prize. I have always admired Chika’s strong, almost intoxicating and confident voice. The voice of a prolific writer. I love the way she uses onomatopoeia. I recommend this book to everyone, irrespective of their class, race and creed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

And the winner of the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize is...

And The Overall Winner of the Writivism Prize is...

...Nigerian author Pemi Aguda. She was announced  the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize at a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda, on 21 June, 2015. 

 

Congratulations Pemi Aguda. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your short story, Caterer, Caterer
To read the overall winning story of the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize , CLICK HERE. Or go to: http://munyori.org/writivism-2015-shortlist/caterer-caterer-by-pemi-aguda/

Congratulations to my friend Nnedimma Jane Kalu who made the shortlist with her beautiful story, Social Studies. And congrats to the other writers on the 2015 Writivism shortlist  Adeola Opeyemi (Nigeria) who received an honourable mention for “Being a Man”, Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda, for “Devil’s Village”),and Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa, for “Dream”).

The panel of judges this year was chaired by Chika Unigwe and comprised Mukoma wa Ngugi, Tendai Huchu, Ainehi Edoro and Rachel Zadok.
 

The shortlist was gotten from a total of 277 entries and a longlist of 14 stories.

More information on the Writivism website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So You Want To Publish A Novel...

Here's your chance.

Ankara Press is looking to commission a new wave of romance titles for publication in 2016. These romance will be published first as e-books, easily downloadable on mobile devices, and then as print books.

To find out what Ankara Press requires in a romance novel, see the call for submissions previously published on our blog or go to the Ankara press website, HERE. You will also get a sense of what they like by reading some of the existing ankara titles. You can find them on the Ankara Press website.

Novels should be between 35,000 - 45,000 words , divided between 12-15 chapters.

Want to apply? Send the A synopsis, the first three chapters and a cover letter to Submissions@ankarapress.com.

Download submission guidelines from ANKARA SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.

Deadline for submissions is 29th August, 2015. Early submissions are recommended.

Confused about how to write a beautiful romance novel? May you should read this guest post from accomplished Romance Writer, Christina Cole.HERE
The romances will be published initially as e-books, and easily downloadable to mobile devices. - See more at: http://www.ankarapress.com/blogs/news/30020547-calling-new-ankara-press-writers#sthash.Lhxf1Fro.dpuf
The romances will be published initially as e-books, and easily downloadable to mobile devices. - See more at: http://www.ankarapress.com/blogs/news/30020547-calling-new-ankara-press-writers#sthash.Lhxf1Fro.dpuf

Thursday, May 21, 2015

16th Caine Prize for African Writing Shortlist has been Announced


The judges have announced the name of all the five writers who have been shortlisted for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Congratulations to Segun Afolabi, Elnathan John, Masande Ntshanga, F.T Kola, and Namwali Serpell.

Each shortlisted writer receives £500 and the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday 6 July.

All five stories are available for download on the Caine Prize Website.
congratulate the other shortlisted writers - Segun Afolabi, F.T. Kola, Masande Ntshanga and Namwali Serpell for also being selected. - See more at: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/blogs/main/23599937-elnathan-john-shortlisted-for-the-2015-caine-prize#sthash.tEUStJsz.dpuf
congratulate the other shortlisted writers - Segun Afolabi, F.T. Kola, Masande Ntshanga and Namwali Serpell for also being selected. - See more at: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/blogs/main/23599937-elnathan-john-shortlisted-for-the-2015-caine-prize#sthash.tEUStJsz.dpuf
congratulate the other shortlisted writers - Segun Afolabi, F.T. Kola, Masande Ntshanga and Namwali Serpell for also being selected. - See more at: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/blogs/main/23599937-elnathan-john-shortlisted-for-the-2015-caine-prize#sthash.tEUStJsz.dpuf
congratulate the other shortlisted writers - Segun Afolabi, F.T. Kola, Masande Ntshanga and Namwali Serpell for also being selected. - See more at: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/blogs/main/23599937-elnathan-john-shortlisted-for-the-2015-caine-prize#sthash.tEUStJsz.dpuf

An Interview: Ola Awonubi's Priceless Writing Advice!

ON the 15th of December, Ankara Press released six sizzling romance novels. My debut novel, Finding Love Again, was one of them. Ola Awonubi's Love's Persuasion is another beautiful romance in the Ankara Series.

I spoke to Ola Awonubi about her intriguing romance novel and other things.

Ola Awonubi was born in London to Nigerian parents and raised in Nigeria. On returning to England, she went on to spend three years taking intermediate and advanced writing courses at the Centerprise Literature Development project in Hackney before studying for an MA in Creative writing and Imaginative Practice at the University of East London. In 2008 and 2009 respectively, she won two prizes; one for the short story ‘The Pink House’ in the National Words of Colour competition, the other, ‘The Go-Slow Journey’ for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize in the fiction category.



CWN:     Tell us a bit about what inspired you to be a writer?
OA: I have always had a vivid imagination and used to make up stories in my head when I was a kid. I remember being about five years old when I used take my Ladybird and Enid Bryton books and write short stories around them with black characters. I have always loved writing and when I was in secondary school – English literature was my favourite subject and I would end up reading more of the African Writers Series or books from the ‘Pacesetters ‘series than my Biology or Physics books!

CWN:     What inspired you to write this book?
OA: A wide range of themes really. I would say I try to write about Universal themes really things that people anywhere in the world can identify with. Family, love, relationships are a particular interest. Loves Persuasion reminded me of when I was growing up as a teenager in Nigeria and watching how society framed and set the parameter of many women’s lives and I wanted to create a young lady who wanted more than what society dictated she should be content with.

CWN: Are you a full time writer or is writing just one of your hobbies?
OA: I work full time and I write in whatever is left of that time! Writing has gone beyond a hobby for me. I try to write whenever I can.


CWN: Where can your book be purchased?
OA: My book can be purchased on the link below - straight from the Ankara Press website!


CWN: Who are your favourite authors and what book are you reading at the moment
OA: Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta, Doris Lessing, Jane Austen and Francine Rivers.
I am currently reading – The boy next door by Irene Sabatini – it is a coming of age story in post-independence Zimbabwe.


CWN: What did you enjoy most about writing this novel?
OA: Seeing the characters develop and take shape -listen to them in my head and write the words I think they would say.

CWN: What are your current projects, any other book coming soon?
OA: I am currently working on a collection of short stories based on the African experience as well as another romantic novel based in Nigeria. I always look out for short story competitions I can submit my entries to such as Bridport, Mslexia, Short Story prize and the Commonwealth writers prize to mention a few.

Currently working on a world war 2 period romance and would love to write a screenplay one day. I like would like to write a period drama one day – Downtown Abbey and war movies like Atonement are favourites.

CWN:What is your take on the poor reading culture in Nigeria? In your opinion, what do you think can be done to change it?
OA:I remember growing up in Nigeria and books like Pacesetters, Mills and Boons, James Hadley Chase and Danielle Steele were widely read. Libraries were probably better stocked than they are now and if you could afford to buy a new book you got it second-hand or exchanged with friends.

I don’t think there is a poor reading culture – I think that with the emphasis on getting jobs which is quite understandable – reading for pleasure has been relegated and people spend their hard earned money on text books and educational material to better their chances in the over-saturated employment market.

 I don’t think we have lost our love of reading – it is just that people are being more practical.
This is why Ankara needs to be applauded for producing books that can be read on different mediums, cost less than books and open up reading for everyone - stopping it from becoming an elitist preserve.

CWN:  If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
OA: Buchi Emecheta.

CWN: Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
OA: ·         Engage the senses six senses when you write. Make the reader smell, taste and see as they  read.
·         A short story is a snapshot so you do not have the luxury to flesh out your characters or settings   like a novel. Get to the point.
·         Don’t add too many characters and the few you have - make memorable.
·         Show and don't tell
·         Make your beginning make me sit up and want to keep on reading.
·         Make your ending make the story linger on in my head. Give it a punch. Think of one of the shortest stories ever told by Hemingway. Baby Shoes Never Worn. Wow. That tells such a story but it does have a beginning, a middle and an end.
·         Use the internet. It is your friend – a great resource and you have the opportunity to showcase yourself to the world.

CWN:  What genre of music and movies is your favourite? And do they inspire your writing.

OA Gospel and R & B. I like Yolanda Adams and Stevie Wonder.

Movies – legal TV dramas and movies, romantic films, old movies – I was watching the Count of Montecristo the other day. I watched The Best Man and Why did I get married by Tyler Perry.  I like movies about life and relationships and I guess that feeds into my writing.


Ola Awonubi's first novel was published by Ankara Press. Love's Persuasion can be found HERE.
Follow Ola Nubi on twitter via @createandwrite.