Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bird flu in Nigeria, Tropical Fish's literary prize and Nigerians off the beaten track

Just as we were recovering from our losing to Cote D'Ivoire in the African Cup of Nations and were slowly creeping back to the third term agenda- whether or not to allow President Obasanjo alter the constitution to continue in office- and other sundry matters (like the planned Nigerian police strike), comes news this morning that the H5N1 flu virus has been detected in a poultry farm, in Kaduna, a few hours drive from Kano where legislators yesterday burnt the Danish flag (another instance of taking Panadol for another man's headache). Perhaps this will help focus the minds of the third term agitators and others pursuing trivia on what is really important.....

I've blogged elsewhere about how much I enjoyed Doreen Baingana's Tropical Fish:Tales Out of Entebbe http://snipurl.com/mcjd, so was delighted to hear that it had won the African regional Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book. It beat Uzodimma Iweala's Beast of No Nation ( I know I should have been rooting for my fellow Nigerian;-)) and Repeat Performance by South African Angie Herrmann and will now go up for the overal Best First Book Prize. The Africa regional prize for Best Book went to Ghanaian Benjamin Kwakye for his The Sun by Night and he'll be up against Zadie Smith's On Beauty for the overall Best Book Prize. Nigerian-Brits, Helen Oyeyemi and Diana Evans- (see my list of contemporary Nigerian writing http://snipurl.com/mci5) lost out on the Eurasian Regional prize for best first book to Lazy Eye....

I've been meaning to do a blog on Nigerians off the beaten track- Nigerians abroad working not as lawyers or bankers or doctors or nurses or engineers or academics, but in slightly quirkier roles- the writers, the artists, the musicians. I first thought about it last summer when I went to a classical music concert and was pleasantly surprised to see in the programme, a distinctly Nigerian name playing one of the major instruments which was my introduction to Chichi Nwanoku http://snipurl.com/mciu. A year earlier at the Smithsonian in DC, I had enjoyed the Church Ede metalwork sculpture of Sokari Douglas- Camp http://www.sokari.co.uk/ , a representation of her father's funeral bed which took me straight back to my grandfather's funeral years ago. There's also Khafila Abiola (daughter of the late MKO and Kudirat) who's training as an opera singer in Vienna http://snipurl.com/mcj5 And only yesterday courtesy of the blogworld I was introduced to Frances Uku, http://francesuku.blogspot.com/ "a theatre trained union actor working in New York and LA" Strangely enough, they all seem to be women...... To balance it up a bit, I'll now have to catch that Nigerian chef I found working at the trendy London eatery Les Trois Garcons a while back....

4 comments:

rasx() said...

You have introduced me to Doreen Baingana. This is not many weeks after Uche Ogbuji indirectly introduced me to David Diop. These introductions transform into presentations here at kintespace.com.

You add wealth to the wired commons. Much appreciation.

uknaija said...

Thank you, rasx() for your kind words. You may also be interested in these, if you haven't already read them http://snipurl.com/mci5

I'm impressed with the work you're doing at kintespace

sokari said...

Thanks for all these pointers - I will put Tropical Fish on my reading list (read Iweala's in 24 hours non-stop - 3 words = thought provoking & original)SDC - also had/has a few exhibts at the Brit Museum but not sure if it is permanent or not plus other Kalabari masquerade and dance costumes. Some time ago they had my great grandfather in there too (kalabari)

You are fast becoming a literary source:)

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