Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Literary Life

Last November, I joined the Abuja Writers Forum in my home city and began attending their readings. In the past eight months, I have been priviledged to meet some of the best literay minds in the country.One of the first authors I met was Teju Cole whose book "Every Day for the Thief," caputured my imagination. He was warm, funny and incredibly generous with this fangirl.

In May, I was priviledged to attend a one-day workshop led by Chimamanda Adichie, the award-winning author of "Purple Hibiscus," "Half of a Yellow Sun," and "The Thing Around Your Neck." Though the workshop was far too short, her reading was compelling.

In June, I met Uwem Akpan, the author of the short story collection "Tell Them You're One of Them," when he came for a reading at the Sheraton Hotel. Oprah chose the book for her Book Club last summer. I also got to hang out with the lovely Adaobi Trisha Nwaubani, a colleague of mine whose debut novel "I Do Not Come to You By Chance," won last year's Commonwealth Prize.

And two weekends ago, I got to meet with one of my favorite authors, Helon Habila, when he came to town to read at the Abuja Writer's Forum. Mr. Habila was one of the hosts of a week-long workshop along with Tsitsi Dangaremba, author of "Nervous Conditions" and Canadian writer, Madeleine Thien. I wasn't picked for the workshop - which just about broke my heart - but I was able to have a brief conversation with him about characterisation and setting.

Some of the others I've met include the amazing Lola Shoneyin, poet and author of the novel "The Secret Lives of Baba Seyi's Wives," poet Victoria Kankara, whose collection "Hymns and Hymens" was nominated for the 2004 NLNG prize and upcoming writers Lami Molluma Yakubu, who writes the most deliciously twisted horror stories, and poet Hajjo Isa whose lush imagery is something you have to read to believe.

It has been an absolutely humbling experience meeting and hearing from these authors. It's made me realize just how far I have to go as a writer, but it also gave me hope. So here are a few pictures from my literary life. Hope you enjoy it!
Helon Habila (left) and me at the Abuja Writer's Forum Reading in July.
Poet Lola Shoneyin at Infusion in June.
Adaobi Trisha Nwaubani at her reading in Infusion in June.
UwemAkpan reads at the Sheraton in Abuja.
Chimamanda Adichie at her one-day Abuja workshop in April.
Me and Teju Cole after his reading in Abuja.


  1. Nice pictures, a lot is happening now in the Nigerian literary setting. I used to be in Abuja Literary Society when I lived there. There weren't so many authors then, now ALS hosts BookJam and Emerging Voices. Great strides...

  2. what what? though i was not present for the workshop, i did attend Chimamanda's book reading which means i saw you! my friend pointed you out because of your locs. i'm also a member of the writer's forum but i hardly find the time to attend events. i think i need to make myself more active

  3. fabulous! i just picked up The Thing Around Your Neck. can't wait to read it.

  4. I am going to see Teju Cole at BAM "Brooklyn Academy Music"
    tonight for a literal talk, I stumble upon site, love this blog too!

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