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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Post of Thanks

...after the $100 had been won

True talk has just won the prize! Nooooo… Strongself topped the poll. Not exactly! Joseph Omotayo has been announced the winner of the writing contest… Don't be such an ingrate!!! You, my readers, won the $100 and offered it to True Talk (Now I am confused!J). Okay, I needn't to. We are all in one. Aren't we? The readers ensure True Talk constantly gains popularity through comments and post-reading. True Talk in turn is administrated by Joseph Omotayo who writes and chiefly edits posts for the blog under the name "Strongself". Phew….

Better now...The difficulty in referencing the prize to a winner is solved and shouldn't take more lines than it had done.

The adventure was on for six days. The voting for the entries in the competition started in the weak hours of Thursday. That day was the beginning of the frenzy of whose post gets the highest votes. The writing competition was organized by in the spirit of promoting dutiful reading culture. The aim of the contest was simple. Each contestant was to write, in not more than 350 words, about a Nigerian character in any book that he/she so empathically relate with. 13 entries were shortlisted, out of which Imagine Lola, my entry, was one.

Imagine Lola is a character sketch I did on the characterization of Lola Ogunwole in Imagine This. Imagine This is a book written by Sade Adeniran. My submission on the character of Lola Ogunwole strived with brevity, aptitude and creativity to collage the moments of Lola Ogunwole. Moments which were mostly marred by the unnerving turbulence that redefines Lola Ogunwole from the little innocent girl living at Edgecombe House in London. The entry also infused the opinion of my reader-mind in creating an aesthetic proximity that exists between the author and the book. In the last paragraph, it adjoined the similarity of my relative experience with the life of Lola Ogunwole.

Have a Read…

"At age nine, Lola Ogunwole's life crashes with the mishap that will characterize her life in years to come as she is forced to live in Idogun. Idogun, a far contrasting picture with the world she is used to in Edgecombe House in London. In the time of uncertainties, a becoming reticence later turns Lola's language of survival. She reposes her solace in the only diary she addresses her woes, joys and encounters as her life mundanely passes by. A diary where every word, no matter how awful or memorable, begins with Dear Jupiter.

Imagine This is the tantrum of Lola against uncontrollable fierceness confronting her life. The book is a poignant account of the compromise of hapless children in the face of domestic violence, matrimonial disarray and cultural imbalances. It narrates the plights of Lola and Adebola Ogunwole as they toil to remedy the taints only the attentiveness and care of a father could make them overcome. Imagine This measures the anguish of a teenage girl (Lola) and how she battles to retain the love of those around her. Her action towards this changes everything about her life; her father's attitude and her brother's, Adebola's, existence.

That the character is portrayed in the first person narrative view shows how far its aesthetic distance is to the author, Sade Adeniran. I could quite observe from the tone every of the sentences carries that Sade is only creating a medium to pour out her heart about issues of her past. Having said a sequel, Imagine That, will follow confirms that she has not yet drained her emotions in those pages in Imagine This.

It is quite easy sharing empathy with Lola Ogunwole. Most especially how her sudden urban-rural migration triggers the trauma I had to put up with when my academe changed location from Festac in Lagos to Ilesa in Osun. The change was brutal and scarring, just like Lola's."


That was the entry you made the winning one. I'm indeed so glad you put yourself out for me on this one.

With the unflinching support you, my readers, gave to me during the voting period, I have come to even understand better that your love transcends the encouraging comments you drop on the blog. Your votes through the polling exercise kept Imagine Lola at the peak of votes cast till the end of the contest. With this gesture, I am more bound to keep True Talk running on insightful posts as ever. I'm just too thankful.

To friends who supported by canvassing for votes on various social media, I appreciate your helps. Blogosphere was warming with love too. I humbly praise the strength fellow bloggers pulled for the entry. Thank you! Without your contributing arms of strength & power, this prize wouldn't have chosen this path.

Thank you all for making True Talk, You, Joseph Omotayo & Strongself the winner of this prize. You would be surprised how $100 would command little changes here and there. At least my bookshelf is bound to swell with books I have been daydreaming of before now.

There are still more to be won… This I am very sure of with your continued support.

Thank you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Please!!! Vote for Me!!!

The time you spend browsing through the pages of this blog only says something – love and support. Your commitment to reading my posts even when some of them are slightly smeared marvels me a lot! I am so thankful! I have quite observed overtime that the comments that trail each post on this blog are not the measurement of the audience it constantly pulls. Whenever I check my Traffic-Stats, the enormous traffic it shows makes my heart leap for joy.  This is to say that there are more readers of the blog than the numbers of comments each post gets.

To all my readers, this is a short appreciative note to you for always sparing your time visiting and reading the blog. The blog stands out everyday on search engines because of you. Posts are also written because I know you would be there behind the screens to read. I am just too grateful to you all!

To bond this love and support you have always shown me more, I humbly implore you to take this support a little further by voting for my entry in the writing contest, My Favourite Nigerian Character in a Book. My entry's name is "Imagine Lola". You are allowed to vote for this entry once in a day till next week Tuesday when the poll will be rounding up.

Show me some support in this contest and vote "Imagine Lola". Help me keep this entry constantly on top of the poll till Tuesday when the poll will be closing for voting.

Vote for ME!!!!



Read the entry HERE

Thank You!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

With Sentinel and Saraba (1)

Surfing the web could be elating, time-wasting, indulging and in other instances fulfilling. It all depends on what takes your time and how much knowledge you garner during the cyber-period. I have had moments which left me with aftertaste that I can't just stop relishing. There were days too when I recoiled from the screen and wondered at the frivolities and trivialities the Internet offered. The internet is functionally multifaceted. You chose which grain your pestle gets to grind. I roughly have 20hrs access to the Internet a week. But the trove stored on my hard-drive conflicts this. You would think my connection is always up and running. Really, it isn't. Not in this part of the world where connection is measured in meager bytes with preset timing. What I do on the web with the shortest of access time could be amazing. Reading newspaper, magazines, blogs, literary portals and journals makes my eyelids puffy from multitudinous of words.

They say life is in twos in everything and to every individual. The internet is not without the contradiction of use that people make of it too. Your internet is for inane chats, mine is for reading. What a striking opposition. The way the web works is in the attitudinal individuality of persons.

I have two ways I want people relating with me whenever my netbook calls for my attention. When I surf the net over a cup of kunu and roasted plantain, with intermittent laughter appreciating the pleasure of the food, I could be selfless in giving my attention to other things apart from what mesmerizes me on the screen.

The other, I can't really couch in words for clear definition of the mood that submerges my whole. But I know the symptom before and the effect after it. When I hunch slightly, creating a slantingly tangent view with my screen, blinking sharply at the screen's glare, rushing over meals, preferring taking meals on the bare floor over the dining table that seats my netbook; I know the latter moment beckons to me. In this period, I could ignite when my skin senses the least of friction on it. The effect; my eyes redden, pores break out sweat and my mind goes into a trance of reasoning induced by the words the Web screens on my netbook.

Of some of the activities that currently take my web-time; I share with you these two:


On Sentinel Nigeria Issue 7

Sentinel Nigeria has berthed again. This time at the sea with tidal waves that direct all to the dock of variously apt pieces. It is moored to Issue 7. In my years of fraternity with Sentinel Nigeria, a quarterly literary magazine, giving preference to previous Issues over the current has always remained herculean. So is this same Issue that partly inspires me to write this. The issue is new and the steam that each contribution boils with still visible.

Reading literature online is more engaging; this I have observed over time. It interacts with the reader, unlike a paperback that leaves the reader slurring between pages that feed him without taking in personal reflections from him. Online, the beholder's views are only some keystrokes' away. In this Sentinel Issue 7, find yourself disagreeing and acquiescing with opinions so compact yet resounding. Observe when you nod to the exactitude of points so correctly driven. Validate my claim when you converse with each writer in a telepathy that can only be in pieces very spellbinding. 

Read Sentinel Nigeria issue 7 now >>>>


Of Saraba 9: The Food Edition

Always on Saraba do I notice myself immerse in the analyses that brew out of fertile minds of versed resourcefulness. The correctness of every year's submissions to the subject they individually peruses is intellectually engaging. Subconsciously, I have built an ingrained attitude of keen interest in the artistic depiction this downloadable magazine showcases.

Each issue usually works on a tailored theme. Not in order though, there have been Fashion, Technology, God, Economy, etc. With each of these themes, new perspectives are delivered. It is in the way Saraba achieves deepness from clichéd topics that takes one in. In the end, there is always a reinvention of ideas from simple hackneys.

In Technology for example, technology is looked at from ways it affects and shapes our literature and lives. The pains and benefits it has holed through basic human endeavours are bared.

In this newly published edition, Food is closely juxtaposed with Literature. Its advantages are weighed with the knowledge the mind needs feeding on. In this new collection, writers strive to show the indispensability of Food to human and literature to the mind. Some contributions portray the infusion of Food into the literature of humanity. Food, in this issue becomes the mirror that reflects the importance of literature. This edition goes out to array the intermingling of literature, Food, knowledge and life.

Download the magazine now>>>>

I would implore you frequent this blog more in days to come. This space will be featuring rundown of pieces in these magazines and other literary websites yet unmentioned. To download past Issues of Saraba, browse the archives on the site for it. Sentinel Nigeria, a non-downloadable magazine also stores past editions on the site for easy rummage.

Follow this activity of mine and maximize your web-time. Up online Literature!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

"On Black Sisters’ Street" by Chika Unigwe

·         Thanks to Ayọdèlé Morocco-Clarke who thought it good to bless me with this book.


Agreed, I haven't read much on Nigerian-women-immigrant-prostitution. A fact, the multitudes of hearsays and valid stories that I have heard, ones which all culminated into the same story of women trafficking, could easily make banality of any fiction that hinges on that theme. In Nigeria, especially in Ubiaja, Edo state where I spent the early years of my teens, we call the women of this ignoble foray the 'Italos'. Whether what they do was in Belgium or Italy, the least mattered to us and the tag we gave them stayed untainted. What we saw of them were splotches of skin-burns that gave them the peculiarity their sudden wealth brought. Riches that separated them at families' funerals as they threw money at everything, even at anybody who complimented 'welcome Sista. Sista, you just too fine'.

With my foreknowledge of this subject that the media seems to give this book so many accolades for, I didn't go into On Black Sisters' Street starry-eyed like a reader who obsequiously feeds on the imagination of a writer with unrealistic hope that he would be satisfied with mere literary figments. I already had my preconception of the conflict and resolution. When Sisi's death is known from the few pages I had hurriedly zapped, my mind fleshed out the characters and the mysteries that may surround them and I wondered what more should I give my curiosity to. At the estuary of tossing the book to the back of my shelf and wanting to know why the denouement had hurriedly been given away when Sisi's demise welcomed me into the book, my indifference was somewhat redeemed.

It was few pages later that I got to know the book isn't only about the death of a particular character. The demise of Sisi is simply an image about what may have gone wrong with the lives of the characters before their arrival at Antwerp. Though the reader knows the death of Sisi beforehand, the circumstances that lead to her death are also the conflicts of the theme of the book. In the book, Sisi's death is inevitable if the reader must know the cruxes of the conflict that climaxes in the lives of the other characters. Sisi is the beginning of the novel, the crack in the window that allows us a satisfied look at the lives of Joyce, Ama, Efe, Dele, and the resolution of the conflicts.


The Themes:                               

Political & Family Imbalance - Either affects the other. When something goes awry with one, the other shoulders the responsibilities. The political shame that exists in the African terrain is no doubt what writers have always given a larger part of their literary devotion to. If Nigerian economy were good, perhaps, Sisi's dream of nailing a job would have been a reality and the prophecy of greatness given at her birth a certainty. Chisom (later known as Sisi) becomes the prime investment of her family after her degree. She will dream of riding in her company's executive cars, her parents will debate over the model she will buy and how they will be lifted from the muck of poverty. After many applications to known and unknown companies without a response, Dele shows her what treasures she could get on Zwartezustraat posing her flesh in booth for whoever pays for its pleasure.

Alek (Joyce) faces trauma at its worse. Hers is the story of a country's defeated political structure. Alek loses her parents and sexual privacy to the militia who evade their home on the kill the Dinkas' rampage in Sudan. When she arrives at Black Sisters' Street, the price to pay pales in comparison to the pains she bears at the penetration of each member of the militia on her parents' bed in Sudan.

When Ama's parental cocoon breaks at the revelation that the man who had been violating her is not her father, the short-lived freedom that gives her at the place of Mama Eko, her mom's sister, paves the way for Dele, who introduces her to what the black sisters in Antwerp do on Zwartezusterstraat.

Verisimilitudes of Life - When Sisi's father's pay rises up a notch at work, the future gleams to him at the prospect of more pay-increases at work. The skewed shape his life takes after so many years of hoping when his next salary would swell directs his dream to the glory his daughter's (degree) would bring. When Ama hitches to explore more places and escape from the mundane task of shuttling between home and Mama's Eko's restaurant, she is little aware of what may come afterwards. Excitedly as she brims with dreams at the proposal of Dele to travel abroad, she only becomes prepared for the fate that lies ahead of her when Dele samples her for her new job with the black sisters.


My Re-Commendation:

Fiction is a fragment of the assiduousness of imagination with a subsumed division of researches. The in-depth knowledge a writer possesses about a story spices the art of storytelling and rid fiction of unnecessary complexities that only tend to cover up for ineptness. Ironically, I have also read writers whose extensive examinations become the very undoing of their craft. At most times, one can hardly come across a well researched book whose writer doesn't convulse with what he wants the reader to know rather than what they should personally observe. For this, Chika Unigwe should be commended for how she unfurls her story without blurring the narrating view with unnecessary journalese and academic inclination. The contents and style of this book is not short of my recommendation. Chika, in On Black Sisters' Street, really does write well with the beauty of a first-hand witness. 

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