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.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

News From African Literature Association

Here's some news from African Literature Association:

Registration for the 2017 ALA conference at Yale University is now open. Please remember that all those who intend to participate in the conference must first pay ALA membership dues before proceeding to pay 2017 conference registration fees. Early bird payments and lower registration costs for the conference come to an end on March 15 2017. Participants in the 2017 conference will be able to use bank wire transfer and credit cards to pay for their conference registration.

In order to pay ALA membership dues, please go to the following ALA website.

The code you will need in order to receive the members rate for conference registration will be found in the "Members Area" of the ALA website. You must be logged in and your dues must be current to access your personalized code.In order to pay conference registration fees, please visit: ALA Website

Call for 2017 Travel Grant Applications
Yale University, New Haven, USA
14–17 June 2017

The African Literature Association invites applications for three ALA Travel Grant Awards worth $1,000 each, for members traveling to the association’s conference from Africa. Priority is given to early career applicants.

Eligible applicants must be based in Africa, and should demonstrate 1) scholarship; 2) financial need; and 3) ability to supplement grant award.

Travel Grant Applications must include the following documents:
A cover letter (not longer than 2 pages) including title and abstract of conference paper to be presented at ALA conference;
Acceptance letter from the convener;
A 2 page Curriculum Vitae or résumé (including ALA travel grant awards received within the past three [3] years , teaching and/or research experience and interests, professional meetings/conferences attended, with dates, place and titles of papers presented, current university affiliation, if applicable); and
Two letters of recommendation. Each letter should be 2 pages or less, and should include contact and brief biographical information of recommender. (Recommender’s CV or résumé is not needed).
Winners of the award are expected to meet with the Chair of the committee and members of the EC when they attend the conference.

Travel grants are awarded to successful applicants during the Awards Ceremony at the conference. Successful applicants will be required to be paid-up ALA members for the current year and to pay conference registration fees. Please be advised that the ALA Membership fee is different from the conference registration fees; and both are compulsory for all conference participants.

Please send your complete application in Word or PDF format by February 28th 2017 to both Grace A Musila ( and Joyce Ashuntantang ( ).

For more information about the conference, visit the Yale website.

Poetry Anthology on the Capital Cities of the World

Last year, I was featured along with some of the world's finest poets in the anthology: Capitals (published by Bloomsbury) and edited by the poet and diplomat, Abhay K.

The book focuses on capital cities through the eyes of some of the world’s finest poets. The idea which is in itself profound, is a ‘poetic-scape’ of the world in a book. Featuring poets like Derek Walcott, Kwame Dawes, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, Ruth Padel, Jekwu Ozoemene, George Szirtes, Mimi Khalvati, Luis Chavez, G Mend-Ooyo, Sudeep Sen, Claire Askew and several others.

Here's an excerpt from an article written by the Abhay K on what inspired the book:

"After joining the Indian Foreign Service, I worked in New Delhi, Moscow, St Petersburg and Kathmandu before moving to Brasilia. As part of my work, I often visit the capitals of different countries at very short notice. I look for poems on places I visit before setting out as I believe poems have the ability to render a deep and intimate experience of a place. Thus I set out on an impossible journey of finding a poem on each capital city of the world." READ MORE

CAPITALS would be launched in NY at Poets House on 5th Jan 2017, at Jaipur Literature Festival on 21st Jan 2017, at India International Centre on 27th Jan 2017 and SOAS, University of London on 1st Feb 2017.