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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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize

You see, in this part of the world, we scramble for so many things, just anything. Sometimes, your hustle for the scramble is worthy. Most times, it is damn pyrrhic. You should know, there is an Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize going on. It’s big. It is £1,000, a Samsung Galaxy Note/iPad and a publishing deal for the first winner. Whose mouth wouldn’t water? Etisalat will say they are also helping our literature and sickening many will believe they are doing so. I refuse to believe that. This prize is just another pigswill pretending to do our literature good. This is just a fun party, yimu if you want, #IDonSAIDit. 

I got to know of this prize through a friend on WhatsApp many days ago. And the same pity connected us both. We both wondered what democracy has just got to do with rewarding some people’s literary skills. Believe me, there are many flash fiction pieces which wouldn’t get anywhere in this prize. Many beautiful pieces we should all be talking about and engaging. They would all be voted out in no time. Such a pity. In winning this prize, damn your literariness. Everybody can text-write, simple. To win this prize, you must be ready to lick asses, eat snouts out of peoples’ noses, grin to friends and haters, put on your campaign armour and bully all contacts on your list into voting for your entry. You just must do anything to win. That is the basis for winning this prize. So, you still believe Etisalat is helping our literature? That’s hogwash thinking.  Darn it!*dodges punches*.

Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize has got this all wrong. They are leading us on our mediocre mentality. Africans love democracy always, even where and when it doesn’t apply. Many up and coming writers, savvy texters, and backyard-established hustlers had already jumped at this. Seriously, the money, the tab and the deal will help anyone’s personal economy. At least, it will do for me. But I have no interest in this. I know what it takes to weather it through in a prize like this. I had done so here before for $100 and won. However, I still appreciates for that. But really, this isn’t how you want to help African literature: inviting people to submit entries and leaving them at the mercies of skewed voting choices to scale to the Judging process. My question to Etisalat is this: wouldn’t it have been better if the Judges see to picking good entries out by longlisting and shortlisting them for the prize? Like I said earlier, this is no serious thing, it is a fun party. And any wobbly written piece with the highest number of votes gets to the Judges’ table. That’s the simple mathematics. Etisalat is promoting African Literature and we really can vote. You’d better start soliciting for votes if you had entered for the prize (sic). Today’s October 1st. And the voting already started. You are on a Loooong thing. Hehehe. :D

Anyway, I have decided I will be reviewing five of the many entries I come across in the pack. Tell your friends who had entered for the competition to send over links to their entries and I will blog about them, in so far as they are good.

I stumbled on the Twitter conversation on Bassey’s Dressed Like A Prince yesterday. You should all go read that flash fiction piece. It is here. The writer does it good. This is one entry worth spending one’s time on. Don’t rush voting for the entry. You even shouldn’t if you don’t find it good. Bassey got me thinking at the end of the story, spinning around different what-ifs in my head. That’s really what a good flash fiction does to you. It should make you long for more in its aftertaste. Moreover, this story is gripping too:

“When I rise and limp round the bend, Godspower is kneeling by the road. His T-shirt is red, soaked in his blood. I wail; helpers come, before we get to clinic, he dies…”
Bassey captures how funny it is when death also helps us fulfill our dreams. I love this entry. Read it here

Remember, send over links to your stories and your friends’ and let me talk about them. I want to micro-review four more entries. It’s all for the love of literature.

Later. :D


Read the concluding part HERE
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