Thursday, May 5, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

2016 Okot P’Bitek Prize for Poetry in Translation Guidelines

The Okot P’Bitek Prize for Poetry in Translation is a one-off award for emerging African poets administered by the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) to celebrate fifty years since the publication of Okot P’Bitek’s Song of Lawino.

The prize aims to award poets who write originally in an African indigenous language and translate their own poetry to English to celebrate the process of self-translation and bi-linguality in African poetry.

The prize seeks to highlight and celebrate the fact that Wer pa Lawino was conceived and first written in Acoli, P’Bitek’s mother-tongue and translated to English by the poet as Song of Lawino.

The Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology

Created in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak’s extraordinary legacy of supporting human rights, this award will advance his contribution to building a South Africa that is safe and welcoming to all. The unique and vital anthology will feature English language writing and photography from and about Africa. Exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights will be short-listed, and given a voice through publication.

Closing date for submissions: 31 July 2016
Shortlist announced: 15 December 2016

• fiction
• non-fiction
• poetry
• photography / photographic essays
• journalism / magazine reporting
• scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
• social media / blog writings and contributions
• Materials must not exceed 15 000 words or 10 images. 
• We are looking for work which tells a story or illustrates an idea. If one photograph achieves this, then we welcome the submission of that single image. It is however more likely to be accomplished through a collection of photographs or a photographic essay.
• No handwritten or hard copy entries can be considered. Submissions must be made via the online entry form:

• The entry form calls for a short biography (100 words maximum) and contact details of the entrant. These should not be included on the work being submitted, as the award is judged blind and the entrant remains anonymous until the shortlist has been selected.
• Submissions are considered to implicitly indicate the entrant’s permission for their work to be published in the anthology, if shortlisted, for no payment or royalty.
Closing date: 31 July 2016
Shortlist announced: December 2016

Submit to Jacana Media by following this link:


Works which fall within one of the following categories are accepted:

Entries must have been created by a citizen of an African country, who primarily lives and works on the continent.

Written submissions must be in English.

• Up to three entries are permitted per author, across categories. Each entry must be submitted on a separate electronic entry form.

Enquiries can be directed to

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Short Story: Ferrying Alaba

No 1. Ojo Street stood like a sentry on the narrow lane, with several unfenced multi-room buildings belonging to the 1930s. The house faced a railway track which they say was built in the 18th century, and for seventy years it had resisted the vibrations of shuttling trains.

No. 1 was also known as Bewaji House after its former owner, Theophilus Bewaji who was also the first settler in the area. While the house did not die with its owner, it was close to the ground. It was listed to a side like a tipped cattle carriage driving into a bend, and still it found the space to tuck in two shops, one on the left and the other on the right, occupied by the wives of two tenants who sold food supplies to the neighbourhood. Between the shops was a wooden door made from three wide planks held together by a beam. It led to a stairway, which faced the room of Taiwo Bewaji and her grandmother, Mamake; the only surviving wife of Theophilus Bewaji who lived on rents collected from tenants. Mamake was formerly known as Mama Jumoke, until her granddaughter Taiwo, while learning to talk, mispronounced the name, and then it stuck.
This short story was first published in the AKE REVIEW. You can read the complete story on the website

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop

Farafina Trust will be holding a creative writing workshop in Lagos, organized by award-winning writer and creative director of Farafina Trust, Chimamanda Adichie, from June 21 to July 1, 2016. The workshop is sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc. The Caine Prize-winning Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, Aslak Sira Myhre and others will co-teach the workshop alongside Adichie.

Get more information on the Farafina Blog

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It all happened in April

Photo Credit: Porterfields Finearts

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding         
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing   
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain.  – Waste Land T.S Eliot

Dawn, April 14, 2004, my cousin, Gbenga Rufai died watching his dream descend into darkness-infinitum as he was denied life by several rounds of gunshots from armed robbers. I never heard the sound, but every April, I imagine the sound that lodged you in a 6-feet home. Paaaaap…Paaaaap…..Paaaap.  It’s not a good departure tune.  It is not.

"I scavenge the details of an abrupt end
carve gutter on my brows
I hush pain in the noise of sorrow." – I am memory

April 14, 2014; as dusk hurries after dawn, 276 Nigerian girls lost their names to become Chibok girls, they descended into our national anxieties, and as we waited for a return, they became numbers, list of names mementoed across the media, and forever a horrific memorial of a town they once called home.

A mother is watching the road every day
Her eyes live by the door for a surprise…

In all this, between tears, a smile to swallow the loss—my parents are making an endless narrative with their marriage, they celebrate their 48 years wedding anniversary tomorrow – 15 April 2016.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This could be a blog post

I have not written on my blog for some time, and I do not know if this is a note on resumption. 

Yet, I have this feeling I won't sleep well in the coming weeks if I don't write any note on Femi Amogunla's photography project on Tumblr.

Femi is an award-winning multimedia artiste.  

He’s currently working around the UN 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence--an annual international campaign that runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day). 

I’m fascinated by the photographs because of Femi's turn of street humdrum into subliminal narratives that seek to engage conversations. 

His lateral perspectives bring remote words to the meaning we attach to femininity as a residue nurturer of resilience.

Femi also accompanies these photos with background stories that are related in conversational tones, almost like public bus commentaries between passengers.

Femi would culminate this project with his first short film he would be screening at the American Corner, Jericho, Ibadan, on December 4, 2015. 

Are you in Ibadan? Stop by and show Femi some love.