Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Molara Wood in Conversation with Okey Ndibe and JJ Bola

Photo Credit: Goethe Institut, Lagos
Goethe Institut is organizing the 6th edition of Literary Crossroads, Nigeria. This edition presents Okey Ndibe and JJ Bola; crossing literary borders of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo,  moderated by Molara Wood.

"Described as an astute and gripping novelist by The New Yorker Times, the U.S based Nigerian writer, Okey Ndibe will be on a moderated panel discussing and reading from his critically acclaimed oeuvre of two novels and a memoir: (Arrows of Rain, Foreign Gods, Inc. and Never Look an American in the Eye) alongside JJ Bola, a poet based in the United Kingdom and whose debut novel No Place Call Home published by Own It is still hot off the press."

The Literary Crossroads series is organised by the Goethe Institut, and it brings together African writers on the continent and from the Diaspora to discuss contemporary trends and themes in Literature.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Rótìmí: A Review of Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀'s Stay with Me

Image result for stay with me Ouida Books
Photo Credit: @Ouida Books
For many newly-weds, aside from the many domestic variables, a vital hope for the marriage is that the bride will get pregnant at the expected time, as the expectation is that children will come. Well, until they do not come. This then becomes the problem that weaves the family in an emotional tangle. The couple, their relatives and even their friends cannot escape the discomfiture of proffering and/or listening to solutions that range from the absolutely ridiculous to the medically untenable. This unspeakable sorrow of childless couples who desire children is the pivot of Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s debut novel, Stay with Me. In it, she tells a gripping story, exploring the anxieties of childlessness, weaving that around the themes of sickle-cell disease, love and superstition, all with an effusive display of Yoruba culture.

Read More on Wawa Review

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Toyin Falola Centre hereby announces the:

Toyin Falola and Joseph Friesen Scholarship
(TFJF Scholarship)

Objective of the Scholarship

Dr. Toyin Falola (Jr) and Joseph Friesen hereby institute a scholarship scheme to benefit indigent young people wishing to pursue university education in the fields of History and Biology at Nigeria universities. For the 2017-2018 competition, only students in Biology from Tai Solarin University, and from History, the University of Ibadan, will be considered.

Recognizing that many brilliant, hardworking, and deserving Nigerian young people are unable to enter or remain in university specifically due to the lack of funds to complete their studies, this scholarship award aims to help two young Nigerians over a three year period to achieve their dreams in order to make contributions to the development and progress of the Nigerian nation.

Award Amount
The award will be for a US$5,000 per candidate, divided up into annual instalments over three years total. There will be two scholarship winners per year. The goal will be to cover tuition, books, and other school-related expenses.

Administration of the Award
The process of advertisement, evaluation of applications, selection of candidates, verification of claims and documents, monitoring of progress, disbursement of award, and sundry other related tasks shall be undertaken by the Toyin Falola Centre on behalf of Dr. Toyin Falola and Joseph Friesen, the grantors.

Criteria for selection
The scholarship will be awarded to students who demonstrate excellence in academic achievement, promising leadership qualities, and outstanding character. Academic achievement is recognized as outstanding achievement in all of WAEC/SSCE, UTME and first year examinations already undertaken by the candidate. Consistent high achievement is important for selection and retention on the scholarship. Other abilities must be evidenced by candidate’s prior record and attested to by relevant individuals in her/his community. The candidate must also clearly show evidence of indigence and inability to pay fees without the aid of the scholarship.
Note that:

· Candidates must have completed the first year of studies and fulfil all criteria as set by the Toyin Falola Centre.

· A candidate whose application is successful will have the distinction of being named a Toyin Falola and Joseph Friesen (TFJF) Scholar for the duration of the award.

Requirements/Conditions of the scholarship
 If any of the following conditions are not met, subsequent installments of the scholarship will not be granted to the student:

The TFJF Scholar must maintain the academic distinction at the minimum grade level of Second Class Upper Division, and character qualities (clean university citizenship record) identified upon the award throughout her/his studentship;

A TFJF Scholar must remain at the institution/university approved for the scholarship; and,

A TFJF Scholar must complete annual reports to be sent to the Toyin Falola Centre about her/his progress, [and co-signed by the head of department for the course of study]

Candidates must ensure that their application documents are authentic and are a true reflection of the criteria of the award. Any fraud discovered in the Scholar’s application documents or in her/his claims will lead to an immediate forfeiture of the scholarship (if already awarded), formal report to the university, a public disclaimer, and the re-payment of any part of the award already disbursed to the individual as at the time of the discovery.

Application dates
Applications may be submitted every year between May 1 and July 15. The selected candidate for each year will be announced by August 15 of that year.

Required application documents:
o A completed application form
o A letter of application (5300 character maximum), convincingly setting forth the need for the scholarship and demonstrating the candidate’s goals in pursuing a university education
o Certified true copy of WAEC/NECO result, at one sitting only
o Certified true copy of Jamb result
o Certified true copy of university admission letter
o First year transcripts/results, sent directly from the University to the Centre
o Two recommendation letters attesting to the candidate’s academic achievement and promise, leadership potentials and character
o Completed attestation form from the Dean of Faculty/School or DVC Academics
o Other (variable) evidence of leadership abilities and of character
Shortlisted candidates may be required to submit additional documents or verification.

Submission of documents
Candidates must ensure that all documents reach the Toyin Falola Centre in a single email as one attachment, or in a single packet by post, within the dates set forth above. Documents arriving late for any reason at all will not be considered.

Documents may be scanned and emailed to:

Or mailed to the following address:

Toyin Falola Centre
8650 Spicewood Springs #145
Box 618
Austin, Tx 78759

Monday, 19 June 2017

Poem Alert! Litro #162: Literary Highlife

The Sisterhood of Wahala

If you want to know wahala
You can find it always in two places
A tro-tro in Accra
Or a danfo bus in Lagos.

Read More Here

Friday, 24 February 2017

An Interview in In Words Without Borders with Nathalie Handal

I was interviewed in the brilliant The City and the Writer series by Nathalie Handal, and it was a beautiful experience.

Please read my interview here: Lagos is a phenomenon. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Poem by my Niece

Last month, my eldest brother shared a poem he found in his daughter's room with me. He was concerned.

I read the poem. Once, twice--slowly. My niece is 11 years old.

Not being one to take the words in a poem for granted, even if it is a reflection that is based on another person's experience. I made a quick phone call.

My first question after a few niceties was, 'Is there something you'd like to tell me?'

She soon explained that the poem was a reflection of how she felt as she wrote her final examinations. As a young girl moving to grammar school, listening to her parents here-and-now reproach inspired not just fear, but the poem in question.

I believe her fears were valid -- 'What if I fail?' 'Would sharing my fears make me appear lazy or dull?'

Here's the Poem, do enjoy.


The whole world is falling down on you,
Nobody knows what you’re going through
Worries control you, your thoughts, your actions, your life.
Questions and queries mess up your mind

They haunt you like night nightmares both day and night.
What will they think? How will I do it? I’ll never do it right.
Can I get through this? Who am I? Why am I here?
These questions are in your mind, and many more creep up your spine.

It kills you inside it murders the happiness in your soul and mind.
When you thought things were going on alright,
it comes, back-stabs you with the knife of depression and sorrow when you’re not looking.
People tell you you’re pessimistic and just too negative

But they don’t understand, they don’t know what it’s like when anxiety makes you low;
it’s like a great big blow and many more hits of sadness to come the flow.
It makes you tearful and you don’t know why.
You shout out for help to get out of this misery but no one hears your cries.

The future makes you fearful, all the worries that you might not breakthrough.
All your efforts of trying to be positive are overcome because anxiety spoils it.
It follows you, a big cloud of sorrow even when you try to move on with your life tomorrow.

When you try to look for peace in your mind, but anxiety makes it pieces.
Control is no longer part of the picture, it’s like anxiety is now in the permanent fixture.
All these things anxiety makes you do, but you must carry on because positivity is calling you
You must stay strong and not go with anxiety’s flow
You must not let anxiety make you low.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Interview on AfrikaJump

The very talented, Okwei Odili, who is a writer, fantastic composer and singer interviewed me on her blog. You can enjoy the interview on her blog, and enjoy her riveting music here on YouTube and here on Soundcloud.