Port Harcourt Literary Society: Poetry Slam (May, 2018)

As part of its ongoing literary engagements, the Port Harcourt Literary Society will host, arguably, Nigeria’s biggest Poetry Slam this month.
And the Society has unveiled four award-winning and distinguished Nigerian poets as judges for the Slam, scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on May 25.
They are Efe Paul Azino, curator of the highly successful Lagos International Poetry Festival whose recent project was the brilliant Heritage Bank advertisement, and Andrew Patience, spoken word Amazon and one of the founders of the impressive Custodians of African Literature, based in Jos, Plateau State.
Others are Obii Ifejika, winner of Nigeria’s first ever slam, and multi award winner, Graciano Enwerem.
Chairman of the Slam committee, Edwina Aleme, says the Slam is already receiving entries from around Nigeria, promising to bring some if the best of Nigerian spoken word poets to the Garden City.
The PHLS Poetry Slam, the first major poetry competition in the Niger Delta region, promises it’s winner a whopping N100,000.00. The runner-up will take home N75,000.00, while the second runner-up will receive N50,000.00. A fourth prize, the first of its kind in Nigeria, worth N25,000.00, will go to a winner among secondary school entrants who have benefited from the Society’s PHLS-LIFT (Literature for Teens) programme.
“This is in line with our objective with PHLS-LIFT to nurture a new generation of spoken word poets in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta,” Aleme says, “so that we help create a new narrative that our youths are not militants. We are a society of brilliant young people and the world needs to hear our voices.”
EFE PAUL AZINO, is a Nigerian writer, performance artist and poet. He is the founder and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, and the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival. Azino has featured in a number of local and international poetry events and is a fellow of the Osiwa Poetry Residency…
ANDREW PATIENCE FINYE, known as AP, is one of the leading voices in creative spoken word poetry in Nigeria, with a debut spoken word album ‘I Am’ to her credit. She is the founder of Custodians of African Literature (COAL), a platform that promotes African writers and their writings. AP is also a broadcaster and media personality based in Jos, Nigeria…
GRACIANO ENWEREM (Sir Grrraciano) is a poet, writer, teacher and media consultant. A graduate of English and Literary Studies. He’s the winner of War of Words (Season 3), YOUPoetry Slam, War of Words Online Slam 1 and other prizes. Cofounder, Figures of Speech movement (FOS), the first online creative group on Whatsapp…
OBII IFEJIKA is a story-teller who made her debut in Spoken word at the maiden edition of Bassey Ikpi’s National Poetry Slam, where she was crowned Slam Champion in October 2012. She has performed in several poetry events such as the maiden edition of the NIBRA Awards, Wole Soyinka’s 80th birthday celebration and at the Theater Expedition Metropolis, Germany.
Just send a 1 or 2 mins video of you performing a poem to literaryevening1@gmail.com . Entry closes on the 20th of May by 12 noon. Send the mini version on Instagram, then follow and tag @phls_openmic with hashtag #phlsslampoetry. All chosen 15 finalists will be contacted via email before 12 midnight on same day.

Call for Submissions: The Single Story Foundation

The Single Story Foundation is excited to announce that the TSSF Journal is currently accepting submissions (poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction) towards its third edition. The deadline for submission is April 30.

We seek diverse stories, from diverse writers. We hope to get entries from writers from or residing in countries other than Nigeria and South Africa. We accept all kinds of stories, whether genre or literary.

Writers should send us their speculative, thrillers, romance, comedy, Sci-Fi, magical realism, contemporary, historical, history, mystery, adventure, fantasy, etc. stories or poems. We also would like a plethora of stories that deal with different themes, including chronic illnesses, disability, LGBTQI issues, depression, and anxiety, etc.

TSSF Journal Staff members –Tiah Beautement and Tolu Daniel, and guest editors – Megan Ross (fiction) and Safia Elhillo (poetry), will edit the third edition. Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, Safia Elhillo, is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). She has won many literary awards including the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. She is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). Megan Ross is a writer, poet and journalist from the Eastern Cape in South Africa. She won the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Milk Fever, is forthcoming in 2018 from uHlanga.

Tiah Beautement is the managing editor of the journal and Tolu Daniel is the nonfiction editor.

Submissions should be sent in a single .doc or .rtf file to journal@singlestory[dot]org, with the email title as: “TSSF Journal: [Work Name], [category].”

Submission guidelines can be read at http://journal.singlestory.org/announcement/.

Writing Contest: The Dusty Manuscript Contest

FARAFINA is pleased to announce The Dusty Manuscript Contest for Nigerian writers of genre fiction. The top three manuscripts will get the opportunity to be published under the Farafina Breeze imprint and win cash prizes.

The top ten manuscripts will receive publication by Okadabooks on its electronic platform. The writers of the top twenty manuscripts will participate in a two-day writing/marketing/branding boot camp facilitated by the judges.

The contest will be judged by Dr Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys; Yejide Kilanko, author of Daughters Who Walk This Path; Toni Kan, Author of The Carnivorous City; and Dr Ainehi Edoho, Editor and Founder of Brittle Paper.

Eligibility and Procedure: All submissions must be full-length, previously unpublished novel manuscripts with a 25,000 minimum word count. Submissions must be in English but the use of Nigerian slangs and expressions are allowed.

Eligible participants should have at least one parent born in Nigeria who holds citizenship of the same. No entry fee is required. Submission closes on 31 March 2018.

Read the rest of the submission guidelines and submit your manuscript here.

The Dusty Manuscript is an initiative of Okadabooks, supported by GTBank and Kachifo Limited.

Press Release: RomFest Africa


What is a romance novel?

Romance novels are genre fiction stories where the characters establish the love of a lifetime while overcoming difficulties, leading to emotionally satisfying, happy endings.

Want to write romance novels but don’t know where to start? Already write romance stories, but don’t know how to market your books to a global romance-reading audience?

Join us at RomFest Africa, the first genre fiction event in West Africa for 2 full days of learning, networking and having fun.

Network with already established writers; learn how to improve the craft as well as marketing your books to the right audience.

Participate in a book reading and book signing. Sell books to readers and book lovers at the book fair. Join us at the inaugural Ufere Awards dinner.

Date: February 15-17, 2018
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Add to your Facebook Calendar: https://www.facebook.com/events/2316991228525158/

REGISTER TODAY to confirm your place and your stand at the book fair. Places are limited and will be allocated at first come, first serve.
Early-bird author registration ends September 10, 2017. After that date, prices go up.

FIND OUT MORE: https://www.rwowa.org/romfest
REGISTER HERE: https://www.rwowa.org/romfestauthorsignup
DONATE TO THE EVENT: https://www.rwowa.org/donate

Call for Submissions: The Single Story Foundation


The Single Story Foundation is happy to announce a call for submissions for the debut edition of our journal publication.

The TSSF Journal seeks well-crafted, realistic poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction works about Africa, Africans, and African issues from writers of African descents or those associated with Africa.

We take short pieces, up to 4,000 words for non-fiction and up to 6,000 words for fiction, and three to five poems. We ask for original, unpublished pieces.  The submission call period will be from June 1 to July 15.

Writers should send their works as a Microsoft Word document attachment to journal@singlestory.org, with the email title as TSSF Journal: [Work Name], [genre].  We do blind readings. As such, identifying information should not be in the document submitted. All submissions should include at most a 100-word biography, in the body of the email.

Submissions will be peer-reviewed by Tolu Oloruntoba, Chris Ogunlowo, Ayo Sogunro, Meka Jegede, and Kacy Cunningham. The Managing Editor, Tiah Beautement, and the rest of the editorial team, Tolu Daniel and Genna Gardini, will work with the accepted writers to get their submissions publication ready.

Other submission guidelines can be read at http://journal.singlestory.org/announcement/

TORO! Call for Submissions


TORO! is pleased to announce the call for submissions for its maiden edition TORO! is a not-for-profit quarterly christian literary journal dedicated to bringing encouragement, hope and inspiration to the body of Christ through creative writing and personal stories of God’s work on the African continent.

July – September, 2017 (Issue 1)


TORO! is calling for submissions in the categories of Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, and Arts & Photography.

Theme: Praise!

Deadline: May 31, 2017

Submit to: anafricanpraisejournal@gmail.com


Find more details about what we publish, word count and payment policy here: http://www.anafricanpraisejournal.tk/

The 2018 Golden Baobab Prize Call for Submissions


Golden Baobab is pleased to announce the call for submissions for the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize. The Prize discovers and celebrates African writers and illustrators of children’s stories and confers awards for their work. After enjoying nine successful years as an industry leader, Golden Baobab this year announces an exciting new phase with a heavier focus on publishing. It also announces the re-opening of the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, the most important award for African children’s book illustrators.


The 2018 Golden Baobab Prize offers a distinct platform for professional African writers and illustrators to kick-start their careers. The Prize will work to facilitate relationships between African publishers and finalist writers and illustrators with the goal to see more African children’s books being published. In view of this, Golden Baobab is excited to expand its publishing network and increase its impact in more countries.


Commenting on the launch of the 2018 Prize Victor Kyerematen, the organization’s Prize Coordinator said, “In the past, Golden Baobab has done a fantastic job of highlighting and honouring fresh voices in African children’s literature. Henceforth, we are eagerly prioritizing work that gets more African books in the hands of children.”


The 2018 Golden Baobab Prize offers three awards:

  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 4-8.
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 9-11.
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators for the best artwork that matches illustration briefs provided, intended for children ages 4-11.


Winners of the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize will receive a cash prize of 5,000 USD. In addition to press publicity, winning stories are guaranteed a publishing deal, finalist writers are connected with publishers across Africa and finalist illustrators participate in exhibitions and workshops.


The final deadline for submission is 1st December 2017.  Golden Baobab invites African writers and illustrators to submit entries for this year’s Prize and spread the word among their networks.




The Golden Baobab Prize was established in July 2008 to support the development of children’s books by African writers and illustrators. The Prize invites entries of unpublished stories and illustrations created by African citizens irrespective of age, race, or country of origin. The Prize is organized by Golden Baobab, a Ghana-based pan-African NGO dedicated to creating a world filled with wonder and possibilities for children, one African story at a time. The organization’s Advisory Board includes renowned authors Ama Ata Aidoo and Maya Ajmera.

See Useful Links:

Submission Guidelines: GBP for Early Chapter Books

Submission Guidelines: GBP for Picture Books

Submission Guidelines: GBP for Illustrators

Terms and Conditions


For more information:



Book Review: Beyond the Trial by Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha (Author)



“In life, we are often not able to choose the trials and challenges we face. But our response to them is ours to choose.”

—Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha, Shadows from the Past


Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha’s first published novel, Beyond the Trial, is a collection of three short stories about three women who choose to see life beyond their trials and dare to reach for it.

The first story, ‘Erased Reproach’, is the story of young love and ruthless heartbreak. Funke, a teenager at the beginning of the story, gives in to peer pressure and, ignoring all the red flags and the instinct to talk to her mother about the strange values being presented to her by friends, ends up with an unwanted pregnancy which leads her into forced exile from her childhood home.

In ‘Rude Awakening’, Nkechi’s eutopic world is brought to a rude halt when her husband of eleven years dies suddenly in a car accident. She must face a chequered future alone with three sons. Woven into Nkechi’s story is that of her own mother who became a widow by the slight of her husband, if not by bereavement; it is a side story which calls the reader to take a broader view to widowhood.

A family’s past is haunting its members in ‘Shadows from the Past’ and it is Ada’s responsibility, indeed her calling as the firstborn child, to lead her entire family out of darkness and into the light. A long-postponed visit home opens a can of worms about the past and provides the opportunity to deal with it and put it well behind them all.

In choosing to write about the ills that women in our society have to struggle with, Mbadugha joins women writers like Flora Nwapa and Zainab Alkali to illuminate the disquieting space that women occupy in a man’s world. Without burning bras, she takes away the excuse for our silence, or complacency, or even our participation in meting out these evils to women. She is a woman using her writing to challenge us NOT to turn a blind eye to the plight of women when they fall on hard times.

The stories in this collection are, unfortunately, all too common-place. They are not in any way original subject matters – not the story of teenage pregnancy, or widow disinheritance, or growing up in an abusive home. However, each woman’s story is at once familiar and different. Mbadugha does this book justice when she puts forward characters that are so well-rounded that their individual journeys are worth following.

While all short stories in a collection are not generally required to have a single, overarching theme, it is always interesting for me to see the connection that a short story writer makes between each story in a collection, especially so for a collection of this sort. My quest for a common thread yielded a surprisingly well-bound cord.

First of all, we see the women in each of these stories facing a form of crisis of identity or the other. There is Funke, a typical teenager who wants to belong and who falls victim to peer pressure as a result. Funke soon realises the foolishness and danger in following the often misinformed and misguided crowd and decides to intentionally remove herself from those influences. Then there is the young wife, Nkechi, who is sheltered (albeit against her will) by a doting husband. Nkechi has to find her own individual strength and will to carry on without him. She becomes the breadwinner when he dies unexpectedly. And then there is Ada, another young woman coming out of the shadow of an abusive father and into her role as the protector of the other members of her family.

Again, the stories portray the sense of neglect and rejection that women too often feel in the face of trials; whether through the story of abandonment by the partner in an unwanted pregnancy, the one dealing with early widowhood, or that of growing up with an emotionally absent father and a helpless mother, that sense of neglect is palpable.

Further, there is the echoed theme of triumph, and how courage, determination and focusing inward and forward helps the women break through the difficulties thrown in their path by fate.

On this last point, it is comforting to note that Beyond the Trial is the exit point of pain and suffering in the lives of its protagonists and not a meaningless or masochistic excursion into the woes of womanhood. Each woman grows because of the challenges inherent in her circumstances. When we first meet Funke she is a naïve, impressionable teenager who believes that, like herself, all her friends are virgins. She becomes a wise and independent young woman in the end; Nkechi starts out as a sheltered young woman, but when she is exposed to harsh traditions and disloyalty from family members, she reaches deep inside to find great individual strength to carry on for the sake of her children; Ada is at first rebellious of the chokehold control of an abusive father, but her self-preservation instincts mature into an instinct to protect and defend other members of her family.

The author makes many useful submissions and offers much insight in this book. For instance, everyone, but especially young people with their lives well ahead of them, will benefit from Grandma Akande’s sage advice to forget the mistakes [and the troubles] of the past, but not the lessons learnt from them (Erased Reproach, P. 24). Also, the author identifies education as the key to escaping the life of drudgery and penury (Erased Reproach, P. 28). For the illegitimate child, it is prescribed that a lack of avarice and the willingness to work hard will guarantee a good future despite an unfortunate beginning (Erased Reproach, P. 39). Men are cautioned to put ego and pride aside and consider reasonable inputs from their women to forefend trudging many troubled paths that they might have avoided (Rude Awakening, P. 120). There is the admonition, too, that living under the shadow of one’s past will only result in limitation (Shadows from the Past, P. 193).

Yet this book does not give any false notions that any one thing—a good home training or education, for example—will preclude mistakes from happening or misfortunes from occurring. In real life, the opposite is often the case; it is the cruel irony of life. Rather, the reasoning seems to be that each one of us should come to terms with the hand we’ve been dealt in life and find the strength within us to beat our instruments of pain into instruments for escape and salvation.

Three times Mbadugha’s protagonists are dealt an unsavoury hand by fate, three times they overcome and become stronger for it. The stories, over and over, make this point that mistakes will be made despite our best efforts and trials can break through our ivory towers of comfort or privilege, but that we have the choice to turn around our mistakes and misfortunes and make them into stepping stones. The author uses the stories to emphasize that life beyond a trial—whether we ourselves are the architects of our troubles or they are the ones that other people or society thrust on us—does not have to be bleak, but that trials can be the crucible that helps us form character.

Interestingly, escape and salvation in Beyond the Trial does not translate to leaving the shores of Nigeria. But perhaps, this is more telling on our society than anything else. The African society is one where women often feel cornered and trapped. It is a society that exploits the vulnerability of women to relegate them. Women in many underdeveloped societies have had to fight hard to earn a position that a man might have for the taking. They have had to fight for equality, respect, and worth in the eyes of society. The challenge then is that we create the same kind of liberality and equal opportunity society that is to be found beyond our shores for women right here at home, that we begin to tend the grass on our side of the fence.

On a hopeful note, Beyond the Trial illustrates a gradual mental shift that has already begun to take place, in terms of how women now view themselves and their blossoming sense of self-worth, at least. While the older generation of its women have felt that they have to endure so much to keep their men happy and their homes together, the younger, more educated women are having none of it. Mbadugha’s younger female protagonists do not give in to the hopelessness of their situations; they are refusing to be relegated, or to become bitter and resentful. They do not accept labels society would like to put on them, or how it makes them out as unfortunate, disadvantaged, downtrodden, and mere castaways simply because of their unfortunate circumstances of life, even when their troubles are not of their own making. They do not wallow in self-pity or cower from their problems or throw sighs at them.

But then these women have not been alone in their trials and struggles. They have had more supportive, compassionate men who have given up the roles of men as oppressors to embrace that of men as protectors and defenders. They have had strong allies and wise counsel. And, there is a lesson in this, I think. The author wants to remind us that society did not get the way it is without the contribution of its members; and that everyone has a hand in the emancipation of women from the shackles of mental, emotional, economic, and sometimes, physical slavery. She wants every woman who finds herself buffeted by trials to remember that there is always someone whose strength she can lean on in times of trouble and that no one should have to go through life alone. She wants her to look to God, ultimately.

And so, the protagonists of Mbadugha’s Beyond the Trial choose for themselves to go forward without bitterness, resentment or vengefulness, and to groom themselves into strong, admirable and successful women through their troubles. On the other hand, the men who have been their nemesis stew in their own bitter juices. The author certainly makes a point of leaving her antagonists lodged in their past, trapped, as it were, by their own mischief and wickedness, fit only to be looked upon with contempt or, at best, pity. In Mbadugha’s book, this is revenge enough and their apparent stagnation proves that revenge is sweet when it is spread out as a buffet.

Beyond the Trial delivers the happy ending that is often dismissed as sterile. But these women’s happy endings are hard-fought and well-earned and it would be sadistic to desire any other outcome for them.

In Beyond the Trial are stories about suffering and injustice, but more importantly, they are stories about triumph. The author gives the prescriptions for replicating these triumphs in the reader’s life mostly through sage, conversational dialogue. And, Mbadugha’s wisdom is like the wisdom of a mother—gentle and running deep, and delivered in simple language.

If it may be summarized, Mbadugha wants women to pick their battles carefully (each of the women concentrates her energies on developing herself rather than fighting the architects of her troubles); she wants them to select their allies carefully (Funke has Grandma Akande, Nkechi has her best friend Uzoma, and Ada’s husband is her fortress); and lastly, she wants them to stay the course (eventually time heals the wounds of all three women).

This book is peppered with so much good advice at the turn of every page, and it will make many a woman (or man) wiser to have read it.

.Book Reviewer: Fifi Edem


Interview: Tony Nwaka, Author of Mountain of Yesterday

Ahead of the release of the SMASHWORDS EDITION of his latest novel, Mountain of Yesterday, TONY NWAKA shares with New Books Nigeria about his brand new release. TONY NWAKA is also the author of Lords of the Creek.

Two-time author, Tony Nwaka


In your first novel, Lords of the Creek, we’re in the creeks of the Niger-Delta where kidnapping holds sway, and in your just-out novel, Mountain of Yesterday, Amina and Udoka are fleeing the volatile northern city of Maiduguri in the aftermath of a religious riot. You seem to tend towards using a socio-political backdrop for your stories as a sort of commentary, do you consider this a calling for you as a writer?


Well, writers are naturally disposed to source the ingredients for their creations from the socio-political realities of societies. In my case, I believe that my training as a conflict historian may have influenced the urge to draw from the dynamics of the two major security challenges of contemporary Nigeria; the militancy and inter-ethnic distrust in the oil rich Niger Delta and, of course, the devastation occasioned by fundamentalist Islamism in the North of the country. But, that is not to infer that such perspective would permanently constitute the cornerstone of my writings. Certainly, some of my subsequent works would deviate to something less conflictual in complexion.


Mountain of Yesterday is set in various parts of Nigeria, and your characters speak a few Nigerian languages, was this a conscious effort to write your story more Nigerian or what is behind that?


I think this could be attributed to the cumulative effect of my varied inter-regional experiences. I was born and raised in the Ibo-speaking part of Delta State, which has strong cultural affinity with the east. I had my higher education at the University of Lagos, and also worked for a while in the city. And, of course, I did my National Youth Service in Katsina State, in the north of the country. So, there naturally would be the tendency to locate a tinge of nationalistic fervor in my creations.



For a writer, often, there are a few stories knocking around in your head at a time, begging to be told, why did you feel you had to tell this story?



I believe it’s contemporaneous to the times. I honestly had thought that certain societal prejudices against women were things of the past. But recent experiences tend to speak to the contrary. So, in writing Mountain of Yesterday, I felt a compelling need to highlight some of these social contradictions, with a view to permanently exterminating the insidious cultural inhibitions.


Interestingly, you tell this story from three narrative points of view, why did you elect to do this?


If you take a deeper look at the architecture of the work you will observe a triangular dimension to its construction. The drift of the story takes off from Maiduguri in the northern peak of the country and on to Uboh at the eastern flank; then from there to Lagos on the western axis; and, for Dr. Usman, this journey takes him back to Maiduguri. So, beyond the need to keep the POV consistent with the narration, the triple points of view are in furtherance of the harmony with the golden triangle, which underpins the totality of the story.


Told in this way, Amina survives in a real and literary sense, doesn’t she?


Yes, she does—which obviously underscores the centrality of her character in the story.


If Amina were sitting across from you right now, what would she say to you?



I believe she would say, “Thank you for getting the world to see the trials, tribulations and triumphs of women in some African societies.”




I have to say you did a good job writing the opposite sex in Mountain of Yesterday, but do you struggle with this or does it come easily to you?



Hmmmm . . . thank you. That seems to presuppose I should consider writing in the genre of romance. But back to your question, seriously, I think it comes off easily. Probably because I grew up in the midst of my three elder sisters and, also, I have three lovely daughters I am currently raising. Then, of course, having been in marriage for about two decades, it should be given that one would be fairly acquainted with the basic elements of feminine psychology. Or, possibly, I am romantic by nature.



So, how much of your characterization comes from real life? For instance, is Mr. Ibeto based on someone you know?



Yes, quite a lot comes from real life experiences. Some personal, but mostly the accounts of friends and relatives. Mr. Ibeto simply symbolizes the fickleness of the numerous praise-singers who prowl the corridors of power, across the Nigerian political landscape.



I have to ask, which character from this book is most like you?



Well, I’ll say that elements of my personae tend to inhabit quite a number of the characters. But it would appear to have found greater expression in Chief Abala. His temperance and sense of moderation are attributes that would naturally define my personage.



What chapter of Mountain of Yesterday was the toughest to write and why?



The first chapter, without a doubt. I kept writing and re-writing the beginning of the story in an attempt to strike a balance between introduction and acceleration. But the moment I crossed that hurdle, the pace acquired a traction of its own.



What is your writing process like?


I do most of my writing on my laptop. Though, flashes of thought and the few things I observe on the go are usually noted on my smartphone. Generally, I sit to write when I am inspired to so do. I’m really not the type that sets out a time table for writing. I could write for three hours today and thirty minutes tomorrow. I could be intensely engaged, writing all through the week, and completely be off it the following two weeks. I guess we all have different ways of  giving expression to our craft.


Is ‘writer’s block’ fact or fiction to you?



I think it’s real. Sometimes the mind simply appears vacuous, completely devoid of creative exertions.


How long did it take you to write Mountain of Yesterday?


About a year and half.


Winding down, do you have any celebrated author in your phone contact, and would they pick up your call if you rang them right now?


O sure, Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys. He provided very helpful literature on the craft of creative writing. Equally supportive have been Professor Nduka Otiono and Professor Samuel Aghalino; renowned writers in their own rights.



You seem to have figured a lot of this writing thing out yourself, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?


To simply say that nothing is impossible. You’ll achieve it if you put your mind to it. I did not start writing imaginative literature until I was 50 years old. My first publication, Lords of the Creek, was done just two years ago.


A little trivia, do you roll up your sleeves to eat eba or do you use cutlery?



[Laughter] O dear, what a question! Of course, I roll up the sleeves. But in a public gathering of men of eminence, we all resort to the cutlery, in collective pretense of assimilated Western values.



What can we expect from you next?



A possible sequel to Lords of the Creek. But that’s not cast in stone yet. The drift of cerebral exercise could take me a different direction.



Which is the oldest book on your bookshelf?



My Bible.


Tony Nwaka showing the next generation the way


You can read nearly 50 free sample pages of the Smashwords Edition of Mountain of Yesterday and pre-order the book at a 50% discount using this code at checkout: “HL35L”

[Offer expires on March 19, 2017]

Sabara Magazine: Call for Submissions — “Power” and “Money”

Saraba Magazine welcomes submissions for 2016. 
Saraba will explore the theme of “Power” for its nineteenth issue, and the theme of “Money” for its twentieth issue.

Issue 19: POWER

Power is everywhere, diffused and embodied. What is Power? Where is Power? How does Power work? How is Power used? In this issue, we will present creative propositions on power, seeking to understand how as Nigerians and Africans we bend it, fall to it, corrupt and uncorrupt it.


Issue 20: MONEY

There is constant need to think about money. Poor or rich, neoliberal or democratic socialist, PDP or APC, father or daughter, mother or son, parent or divorcee, urbane or peasant, what or whatnot. In Nigeria the dollar-naira exchange rate was at all-time low in early 2016. Money, basic for sustenance, yet unevenly distributed. We invite writers of all genres to think with us about money. “…best revenge is your paper,” is one famous song of 2016.


Include the issue you wish to be considered for in a cover note, addressed to our managing editor, along with a brief biography. Before submitting, read our general submission guidelines, which includes details on word count, response time, and payment policy.

Only submit via Submittable. 

Deadline for Submission: May 15, 2016.

Etisalat Prize for Literature 2016: Call for Entries

Lagos, Nigeria; June 1, 2016: Etisalat has announced its call for entries to the 2016 edition of the Pan-African Prize, Etisalat Prize for Literature. This is coming just a few months after the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila won the 2015 edition of the Prize with his first novel, Tram 83.

L-R: Patron, Etisalat Prize for Literature, Kole Omotoso; Chair of Judges, 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila, and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, at a Press Conference to announce the Call for Entry for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday June 1.

L-R: Patron, Etisalat Prize for Literature, Kole Omotoso; Chair of Judges, 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila, and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, at a Press Conference to announce the Call for Entry for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday June 1.

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, who made this disclosure on Wednesday at a press briefing in Lagos, also announced the Judging Panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize. The panel comprises Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila, as the Chair of Judges, South African writer and activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer, Edwige Rene Dro as members. The Chair of judges was present at the briefing as well as two of the Prize Patrons: renowned literary icon, Prof. Kole Omotoso and awards-winning author, Dele Olojede.

Mr. Willsher, while speaking about the uniqueness of the Etisalat Prize, said it is designed to serve as a leading platform for the discovery and encouraging of creative writing talents as well as the celebration of literary arts by African writers.

“We are delighted to champion the cause for celebrating the richness and strength of African literature. Etisalat Prize for Literature is about discovering and bringing to the world stage the many creative talent Africa boasts of. The Etisalat Prize is about creativity, excellence, empowerment and reward; it is about celebrating our African diversity in very innovative ways through various forms of art, literature being one of them”, he said.

L-R: Chair of Judges, 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila; Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, and Patron, Etisalat Prize for Literature, Dele Olojede at a Press Conference to announce the Call for Entry for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday June 1.

L-R: Chair of Judges, 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila; Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, and Patron, Etisalat Prize for Literature, Dele Olojede at a Press Conference to announce the Call for Entry for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday June 1.

Willsher added that only books by debutant writers published not later than 24 months before submission, will qualify for entry. “They must also be by registered publishing houses not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent, and who must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries should be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered along with an acceptance of our publicity terms. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books. The rules and guidelines for entry are available at prize.etisalat.com.ng, he said.

About the Judging Panel

Nigerian-born Helon Habila is a writer, poet, author and an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. His novels include, Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story (2011).

Habila’s novels, poems, and short stories have won many honours and awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section), the Caine Prize, the Virginia Library Foundation Prize for fiction and most recently the Windham-Campbell Prize.

Habila has been a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2004, and he is a regular reviewer for the Guardian, UK.

South Africa’s Elinor Sisulu is a writer, human rights activist and political analyst. Elinor is a member of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) board, the National Arts Festival board, the Independent Media Trust of Zimbabwe, and the Anthony Sampson board. She is also a trustee of the Heal Zimbabwe Trust. She has publications to her credit; among them are Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime; The 50th Anniversary of the Women’s March: A Personal Recollection, and “A Different Kind of Holocaust: A Personal Reflection on HIV/AIDS”. She has been a judge of numerous literary prizes, including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Golden Baobab award, and the Sunday Times Alan Paton prize


Edwige-Renée Dro is an Ivorian writer who is passionate about getting the Francophone voice into the mainstream.  She translates for PEN International as well as Global Voices Online. She worked on the translation of Les Cités Fantastiques (The Fantastic Cities), a coffee-book featuring some poems and paintings by Werewere Liking. She keeps her own blog at http://www.africanmusings.wordpress.com and runs a book reading group in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She won the 2015 PEN International New Voices award and was shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2014.

About Etisalat Prize for Literature

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is a Pan African prize that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. Previous winners include Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013), South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014) and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015).

The winner receives a cash prize of £15,000 in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, U.K. under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the award-winning author of The Last King of England.

The Etisalat Prize also incorporates an award for Flash Fiction; an online-based competition for non-published African writers of short stories.

Click on image to see description