New publications – May/June 2009…

Wordsetc Q1 Issue, 2009 – read an excerpt from my travel essay here (.doc download)


My story, RIVER FALLING, in New Writing from Africa 2009 – anthology of stories shortlisted for the inaugural PEN/Studzinski Literary Prize. Published by Johnson and King James, SA. See all the shortlisted writers here


My review/essay on Blonde Roots (the latest novel by British writer Bernardine Evaristo), commissioned by the Harvard Africa Policy Journal of the (published by the John F. Kennedy School of Government) appears in Volume 5 of the journal (Volume theme: AFRICA RISING). You may read the Editor’s Remarks online here


What I’ve been up to…

Last Wednesday I attended the 2009 Orange Prize Awards Ceremony, at the Royal Festival Hall of the SouthBank Center, London. I was dressed in my buba and sokoto, with a Hausa cap to go with it… I went confident that the ceremony would be better off with some ‘native’ colour 🙂

At the end of the day I realised that  the ceremony had a lot to learn from Nigerian awards dinners (the NLNG Prize Dinner for example)… about the virtues of starting late (African Time), choking the programme with speeches and musical/dance performances and last but not the least, providing proper food.

The awards ceremony itself was over in 25 minutes. In Nigeria, 25 minutes wouldn’t be enough to read the detailed biographies of all the special guests and keynote speakers and other VIPs, as they are welcomed to the High Table.

Marilynne Robinson took home the $30,000 prize, for her novel, Home. She’s previously won the Pulitzer, with her second novel (Gilead, 2004), which came 24 years after her debut.

Bernardine Evaristo won the Youth Panel Award, for her brilliant novel, Blonde Roots, which I recently reviewed for the Harvard Africa Policy Journal (Volume 5) (see Editor’s Remarks here)


The day after the Orange Dinner I catch a Eurostar train to Brussels, from where I make my way to the small Belgian town of Turnhout, where I am holidaying for a little over a week. I write now from Turnhout… a few hours ago I was at a housewarming party where a live Gypsy band played, and I danced the cold away…

There are plans to visit Eindhoven (Netherlands), and a yet-to-be-determined German city in the week ahead…