Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Accessing other Nigerian and African writing.....and glimmers of hope

In making my list of contemporary Nigerian writing, I was conscious of the fact that I was only dealing with writers and books whose books can easily be accessed via Amazon or your nearest Barnes and Noble or Waterstones or Borders.......but there is a whole other rich seam of writing that is published within Nigeria which often because of the poor state of the publishing and distribution industry are difficult to get hold of outside Nigeria.....So books like Maik Nwosu's Invisible Chapters and Akin Adesokan's Roots in the Sky are cut off from a wide range of potential readers. Even Helon Habila who went on to win the Caine Prize with a story from his collection Prison Stories which he self-published in Nigeria with very limited circulation. It was not until he won the Caine Prize that he won a two book deal which enabled him rework it as Waiting for an Angel......

Some websites that I have found useful in tapping into this difficult to access seam of literature are The Africa Book Centre in Covent Garden http://www.africabookcentre.com, the African Book Collective http://www.africanbookscollective.com/ and their North American agents Michigan State University Press http://msupress.msu.edu/series.php?seriesID=22 and Spectrum Books, an Ibadan based publisher http://www.spectrumbooksonline.com/cgi-bin/cart.plx

On a separate note, I'm glad to see the flourishing of interest in reading and writing in Nigeria- I've blogged about Farafina and New Gong publishers in the past.....but there are also new book clubs springing up, the opening of a new South African owned-chained mediastore in Lagos with prospects for more branches in other parts of the country as Jeremy Weate makes clear in Naijablog...... and Molara Wood in her art and literary blog


mw said...


I read your blog often and I do wonder if I know you...something about your 'voice'. I read somewhere that your blog is thoughtful, and I find myself agreeing. And your love of literature, the Nigerian & African varieties especially, is catching. Glad I've already got the LitBug anyhow.

What you say about the challenges facing our fictions - is true, of course. Glimmer of hope though; I read that Maik Nwosu was in Nigeria recently to discuss with publishers with a view to reissuing his well-regarded novels. I looked everywhere for 'Invisible Chapters' in Naija recently, without success. I was lucky though, to find Nwosu's 'Alpha Song'.

As for Akin Adesokan... he's the biz! His is definitely a space to watch.

Luv ur blug,

sokari said...

Just read Farafina's "best of"...for 2005. I notice that they have selected "Out of the shadows" by Kayode Fayemi in the "Best produced Books" (whatever produced means) talk about sitting with the status quo / don't rock the boat/old boys club! very disappointing.. maybe I will have to post on this as even writing this comment is winding me up I am so disgusted. Will anything remotely progressive ever come out of Nigeria?
By the way there are a number of bookshops in London such as New Beacon Books and Al Saqi Bookshop both of whom sell online and funnily enough I found a whole collection of books by African authors in the English book shop in Nicosia Cyprus of all places, unfortunately I cant find their business card.

Nneka's World said...

To be honest with you, i dont have a particular genre of books i read. Anything goes for me, as long as its interesting! I recommend you pick up Memoirs of a geisha, very good read and i think they made a movie of the book.
African Writers i must say i have read a few, like purple hibiscus and graceland and a few others i cant really recall.
Anyway i would check my local library for more books.

Boy shorts look like this: http://www.emporiolingerie.co.uk/category.php?CID=19&Ordered=Ordered&ThisPage=2, just

afrofunkycool said...

For those who live and work in Nigeria some newspapers like the vanguard make it a habit of reproducing books in serial form. I think newswatch does this as well in the magazine market.
i was exposed to Nurrudinn farah through their serialisation of his book maps.
I dont know if the Guardian will ever reach the heights they once scaled but it was a joy then to read publications like the African guardian and Lagos life edited by Sunmi smart cole which featured short stories and some incredible photography.