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Monday, June 28, 2010


It was as if the 5th edition of the BookJam which was held on the 26th of June, 2010 will never come to reality as the time was delayed 30minutes later than the official 3:00pm time. This administrative strategy later eventually paid off as readers, writers and literary enthusiasts started filling chairs that were before dotted by early comers. The Bookjam 5 had writers like Toni Kan (author of 'Night of the Creaking Bed' and 'When a Dream Lingers too Long'), Abraham Oshoko(author of June 12: The Struggle for Power in Nigeria) and Kunle Ajibade (Jailed for Life). In no time, the invited writers at the BookJam started talking about the books they have written.

It was shocking and at the same time amusing when Toni Kan said that the title of his collection of short stories, Night of the Creaking Bed, was a publishing-mistake.The creaking in the title was a publishing-mistake, don't mind the man. The 'creaking' in the title should have been 'squeaking';. This is where the squeaking from the title came from; "when I was still poor, when all I had was a bed of springs, each time I slept on it, it was always squeaking". When Toni Kan was asked if he had been attacked in any way before based on the 'sex' that features dominantly in his book. Toni Kan humorously stood up to show that the tallness of his body and the broadness his chest could scare any attacker away. Toni Kan however didn't deny the fact that he has indeed been attacked. He alluded to an attack of words that were hurled at his book by a Unilag student sometimes ago because the student considered 'sex' in literature unnecessary.

The rendition of Kunle Ajibade from his book, Jailed for Life was refreshing and mesmerising. Kunle Ajibade carted the rapt attention of the audience with his powerful and absorbing reading from his autobiographical note, Jailed for Life. The taste buds of the readers were whipped up when Kunle Ajibade read from a part of his book. The part in the book lucidly captured the travails of Ajibade in the vicious hands of 'khaki boys' when he was in prison for the infraction he never committed. The story read from the part of the book was also the awful itinerary of Ajibade in cramped rooms called prisons. The attentive audience almost fell off their chairs with laughter when Ajibade read,"...I looked at the piece of the jewellery (handcuff) on my hands, and I saw 'made in Germany' on it. In response to
questions, Ajibade said; "To be hopeful could be difficult, but I was always happy during my times in the prison. There is this force that keeps you going even when everything is not working. While I was in the prison, I was always happy even when the military guards would think I would be sad. At times, the guards were even scared by my happy disposition. I know they would be saying; this man, e be like say him get one power way he believe in o. No, no, no... I was never detached. My relationship with them (his captors) still remains cordial. You would be surprised to know that these Hausa boys were just trying to survive in the system too. If I see Abacha's daughter now, if she is beautiful, I could say; hi girl, how are you doing? You know what I mean?"

Abraham Oshoko was creative with his reading from his graphical illustrative book, June 12: The Struggle for Power in Nigeria. He only read quotes excerpted from words of past national leaders and statesmen; words that give diverse views and perspectives on the nationality and unity of the country when peace was about to be punctured in the land because every region wants power. Though he read a little from his book that looks similar to a comic book because of the comical pictures of its characters, it was very brief. Oshoko was disagreed with by a person from the audience when he said we are a country that hates taking down history. The disagreeing person backed his proof up that things are actually changing going by what writers are now doing.

If you were sitting in the front row like True Talk did during the monthly literary event, you might not know how large the population have become until the 'buy a book and be qualified for a raffle draw' time came up. The scramble for book by literature lovers was massive. The lifestyle store, where the event was held, suddenly became buzzing with people that were going from one shelf to another to pick their favourite books. Three winners were selected from the raffle-draw box, out of which Joseph Omotayo was the first prize winner of David Wej(D.W.) shirt.

BookJam is now having a strong footing on the literary scene; attracting people like Odia Ofeimu, a poet and essayist, Adunni Abimbola of the Punch and author of Under the Brown Rusted Roofs, Jumoke Verissimo, the author of I am Memory, Wole Oguntokun, the writer of the Girl Whisperer in the Guardian newspaper,etc. Kafayat, the guitarist cum singer, performed brilliantly when she refreshed the audience with her sonorous voice when she sang 'Times are good. Bidemi's recital of his poem titled 'Black', which was accompanied by tunes from Kafayat's little piece of music, guitar, was magnificent and quite novel too. The 5th edition of the BookJam is really an occasion that will long be remembered. After the two-hour reading, we were all itching for more talks from the writers and questions from the audience. It was indeed a programme not to miss.

NB: The fourth person in the picture with a black and red face-cap was a guest writer during the reading.He is a francophone writer, whose participation was just a complement to the programme.


  1. Kafayat Quadri, a jacket-and scarf-wearing-African-sister is not only a Lawyer, she is a Masters Degree holder in law itself - LLM. It amazes one when such an intellectual does not only love poetry but writes poetry. In fact, she owns, self publish and self funded the only stable Poetry Magazine in Nigeria and the entire Africa, stand to be corrected with factual evidence! The Magazine is called The Poetry Digest. Well, it shouldn't be far-fetched if I say she also markets it herself. I mean, professional marketing, so that it is in all profound book stores across Nigeria for now! That's her side of the commercial realm. She whole heartedly does all these herself. Trust me, I know how hectic it could be, I self published a book in Nigeria too. It is not only frustrating. It is discouraging. And she has kept to publishing and marketing the Poetry Magazine.

    How more when I tell you she sings too. I mean she sings, like she has a very good voice that renders words into melody and rhythm. And she does not only sing, she plays the guitar too. She is one of those that can play the guitar for hours and will not stare at the guitar. She is really that good. Come to think of it, it just occurred to me now that addressing her as a Genius wouldn't amount to flattery at all! It wouldn't in a bit, because she is a master in every thing she does. At the end of this piece, you should agree with me.

    Am sure most people when they see her perform at events never really thinks she reports to an office in the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. In fact, it was in such an event, a book reading at the Silverbird Galleria, that I first met her even though I had been reading her magazine a year before that. I am one of the very few that knows these 'secrets' about her. She played the guitar so well that day that I literally clunged to her and we spoke all night.

    When she eventually blew my mind away was when I saw her perform at a concert organised by a National Group of Guitarists. It was awesome. And even though she was meant to perform a song. The crowd couldn't help but request for more. You can ask her if I am lying about the fact that I sang her songs that night so much so that am sure her lyrics bored her. They were so captivating, I invited her to almost all my events. I will forgive her for not performing at my book launch because she had told me hitherto that she had a presentation to do in the office. Being a LLB holder too, I know how well and stressful the research must have been for her.

    She has a style that as a whole won't rest fully in a genre. It has a bit of almost all genres. When an intellectual, poet and lawyer sings; you should be sure of one thing, perfection. She has a way of stringing words whether in her local language - Yoruba or English in a manner that will make one feel bliss from within. She says she is not as good as she loves to be, but like most of her fans have said including me; we love the you that you are now, please launch an album!

  2. You must be very passionate about Kafayat, no doubt. That was the first time I would see her perform. I could confess she does music well with the strings. For poetry performance, I'm still waiting to be at the event where she would recite one...
    I will appreciate it more if you can let me know you. You commented with Anonymous. I was almost about spamming the comment as one those strayed comments on the web.


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