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Friday, October 11, 2013

On Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize (2)

·         Read the first part of the series HERE

Within 9 hours that I called for four more entries to micro-review in the Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize, I received over 70 links to entries from my readers. That’s really overwhelming. Picking through those was easier than I thought. Many of the entries I received are so poor. It is a pity some of them will be knocking the better ones out at the voting stage. But I am no judge on any entry. Mine is to, in a little way, pick out some good entries from what Etisalat had muddled up for us with the voting system. In blogging about my preferred entries, I will also be publicizing them. That’s indeed subtly clear. Just who will pay me for the publicity anyway? #ShioME. Whose task am I really onto? Ask me. And the response may be the seemly consolation that this is just for the love of literature. Is it really? 

Perhaps yes. Perhaps, I am just angry at how we are always led on with our eyes carved into our butts whenever money calls. Religion comes, promises riches and we follow. Marriage comes, the man/woman is rich and we swear to eternal union.  And Prize comes, so much money is splattered about and we jump at it, nothing is critically assessed even when the system involved is laughable. Literary prizes should be of fame and promoting creativity as it is of improving a writer’s economy. It is just not only about the money. NLNG Prize for Literature is a failure example in that regard. So much prize money, shabby organization and the winner belches afterwards, constipating on the money. Nothing worthy happens after that. Many of the winning writers only retire back to their villages (or wherever) with the prize and stop writing, or something like that. The Etisalat Flash Fiction is no different. Everything is on the money, creativity is stabbed. Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize is plain democratic nonsense. And any rubbish may rule in a democracy. Believe what you want.

Etisalat should forget about promoting literature with this move, this clearly isn’t how it is done. That should be about the umpteenth time I’d be saying that. The excuse that this is only an appendage to their main prize for Novel beats me. If it is, shouldn’t the same type of organization that goes into that one see over this too? One could only assume that Etisalat never sees the flash fiction genre as serious as the main prize. Simple. Little wonder they leave us beating ourselves for votes. I seriously SMH.

This is solely about who takes home the Holy Grail. It’s been a fierce campaigning since October 1st. Money is such a big problem besetting us. You doubt that? Ask the Etisalat Flash Fiction participants. Money can’t just be stereotyped. Etisalat Flash Fiction has latched on it to endear the brand more to us. And it is somewhat working. Etisalat is on many lips right now. You probably should have every two of your fifteen friends competing and shrewdly campaigning for their entries. So much for money, so much for a prize. I SMH again.

I hope you find any of these worthy to (sensibly) vote for:

I like when a piece leaves me wondering afterwards. Iweka Kingsley’s “Walk Away or Stay Put” does that to you. His is a writing of skill and puzzle. You must be observant to know if the abused woman will stay even at her tether’s end. But love is funny anyway. She will stay. Read how she plans doing that here.

Tee Jay’s “The Seamstress” brings to mind the funny scene of Portia and her suitors in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. However, unlike Portia’s suitors, the Seamstress’ suitors are left to their ingenuity as they write love poetry and wax philosophical. The Carpenter gets her just when the others busy themselves with plans and foolery. I like the way Tee Jay writes this.

Ifeatu blames his trouble on Nzube. Ifeatu is running for his life. He will be killed if he doesn’t run! He is in a dire need for escape. Nzube is dead already. He has been caught and set on fire. Ifeatu is his partner in crime. But funny how fate turns everything around. He seeks escape from a mob after his life; he ends up with something that threatens his life more. Read Okechukwu Otukwu’s Escape”

Victor Garuba’s That Night” fastens on your curiosity. You really want to know how death will come to the protagonist. You so much want to know how. And so sad, the character designs his death from much joy. Where Garuba fails in this piece is in his unconvincing manner of the character’s death. But this is a good story anyway. Read it.

If I receive more interesting entries, I just may continue the series. And good luck to you if you entered for the competition. I am outta here. 


I also blog about books at Critical Literature Review


  1. True talk, etisalat should have totally just sent the write ups to the judges table without any public voting. It's a bad thing for those of us who have very few 'friends' but I believe in my write up and even if I don't get enough votes to get it to the judges table, the people who have voted and those who will still vote will definitely get the message I'm trying to pass across and that's the most important thing.

    1. I love your spirit and I wish you all the very best in the competition. Etisalat really spoils the competition with the voting thing.

  2. I'll just bypass the part of the review that touches on the negatives of the prize. I'm tired of the issue #ShioMe. Let's just get down to the entries. I've read a couple of entries and I must confess that most of them are not too good. However, your choice stories, reviewed above are so 'on point'. I'll only fault Garuba's story on the ground that it's end is messy. Iweka Kingsley's is nice and tasking. The beauty in the way it ends will only be appreciated by a painstaking reader. Teejay's is my best. The poetic moments are delectable, and they synchronize well with the beauty and humour of the story.

    Welldone Joe, you are doing our Literature more than 'a favour'. Trust me. Keep doing the good work.

  3. Nice Post, This is one of the best blog post that I've found here at as of recent, it reminds me of an equally interesting blog on my reading list .

    keep up the good work. I will be back to read more of your posts.


    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Daniel. :) I will check out your blog.

  4. Hi I'd like some sincere feedback on this entry: be as truthful as possible, pls:

    1. Your story is interesting, Seyi. The writing is simple and there are alot of stories in the flash fiction. I like that. If I could just have more links to interesting entries in the competition, I'd continue with the series. Ask your friends to send their links over. Yours will be among those I'll be micro-reviewing.

      And good luck in the competition. You write this well. And that's me being frank.


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