Monday, May 24, 2010



Been reading A LOT. More on my African Literature findings later.

I went to a mega book reading - slash - book signing called Book Jam on Saturday. Glad to have heard about it. I met a lot of people who were very very kind to me. My first time attending an in-store book-reading, ever.

A year ago, I thought I'd never do the circuit, the artsy-fartsy scene, but by now I know a lot of the literary folk in Lagos. It's cool reading stuff by people you know. More on Lagos events later. Lagos is still lame, like L.A.

My first book is out in a couple of weeks. Yes!
The blah blah on this book:

My first book will be available for purchase from June 12, 2010.
It is a poetry collection titled COMRADE.

COMRADE is a delightful treasure trove of lyric and theater; a call to link arms in our varied, collective struggles; and milk to refresh us as we forge a future of better government and sweeter childhood.

Tosin Otitoju
070 5677 7120 (for press and distributors)

I'm currently reading "Crime and Punishment" - Fyodor Dostoevsky, dead Russian dude - and The Abyssinian Boy - Onyeka Nwelue, Nigerian dude. I met him on Saturday too.

Onyeka lives in India these days. He described a friend in the bookstore as "the black girl?" and I pointed out that errr, in Nigeria dude, so saying someone is black is irrelevant. We laughed. He's cute. I've read the first half of his book and it's, well, very Indian, it feels authentic, down to the Indian-English grammar and very-white paper.

The style is foreign too, very unlike common literature. You know how you watch a Spanish movie by some three-named person like Feliciano Lopez Iñárritu or something and it's not actually like a movie it's this symbol consisting of an embrace (nude, always nude) followed by a swim and the fish swallows the blue rose petal. Like Spanish filmmakers are children of Dali and not descended of Hollywood studios at all. Or like how you read Lolita (Nabokov was Russian too, but he usually wrote in English, I think he worked in America or something) having never read anything so strange and think "is he even allowed that many relative clauses in one sentence?" and wow, this is a lot of psychology, and then the tangents off the digresssions, and though there is a plot, it's secondary to the intimacy you've developed with the inner life of the protagonist (ugly word - protagonist) and the lessons in this and that social science.

Anyway, Onyeka's style is weird. He's Aquarian, no wonder (they are the "unconventional" sign, very eccentric, Age of Aquarius and all that.) I would wish him a Nobel except what do I know about great writing? Plus I haven't read the second half of the book where the plot supposedly thickens :) - the family comes to Nigeria from India. All the time I kept recalling - 1988. The author Nwelue is a c-h-i-l-d, born in '88. How does he even have the sense and exposure to write this? There are a dozen blurbs in review of the book, and all are spot-on, using the same adjectives I would use: stylish, original, mystical? I can't wait to get to the bed and finish The Abyssinian Boy. Laters...


t said...

The Abyssinian Boy, the second half, is full of bizarre vignettes that allude to a great imagination but happen to be true-to-life.
When it's not doing satire, the story is at-times tender and touching.
In general, the book is sick-and-tired of (many types of) bigotry and kicks wildly against them.

Read it if you like literature.

t said...

COMRADE isn't out June 12th, obviously, but I'll make sure it's out June 2010. Peace.

t said...

It was published June 30th. One month later we're working on getting it on and other shops so that it can reach you easily.