Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Nigerian writers recently embarked on an “evangelism” of sorts, on the 17th day of May 2009, to win more souls with their gospel. This search for souls, which held in Lagos at The Palms Shopping Centre, Lekki, had a lot of souls pay homage (although I don’t know how many were eventually caught). 9 Writers 4 Cities is a book tour organised by DADA Books, with the aim of bringing the people closer to their authors and the authors closer to their readers. The tour, which has been on since the 2nd day of May 2009, was first held in Lagos, moved to Ibadan, and then, came back to Lagos, and will have its next edition held in Benin City on the 7th day of June 2009.

The event kicked off at exactly 12pm with an autographing session where people had the chance to get the books they bought autographed by their authors. Although this session started the event, it continued all the way to the end of the entire event. The main book-reading event began at 2pm. Onyeka Nwelue, author of the Abyssinian Boy, opened the floor as he read a chapter from his book. A student from the Indian Language School, Parth, read a review of the book Abyssinian Boy done by one of his teachers, Mrs. Vani Nethiar.
The Abyssinian Boy was not the only book that was read or reviewed. Among the others were To St. Patrick’s by Eghosa Imasuen; I Am Memory by Jumoke Verissimo; Eko Dialogue by Joy Isi Bewaji; From Caves of Rotten Teeth by A. Igoni Barrett; Under the Brown Rusted Roof by Bimbola Adelokun; and Nights of the Creaking Bed by Toni Kan. Publishers were also not left out, as the organiser, DADA Books, and Farafina, a participating publishing company also had the chance to talk about what they do, and enlighten participants on various issues.
Odia Ofeimun, a poet and critic, took some time out of his allotment to talk about the need to get more Nigerians buying books, reading them and loving literature. He stressed the need to involve more “unconverted” people, by making other readings more accommodating, in terms of sound and sitting space, so that we won’t eventually end up only reading out to the same people we already have (that is, people who already have books). He recited one of his poems and concluded his speech with the story of how he grew from an ordinary factory worker to an ‘original’ poet.

The event was however, not only an afternoon of books and tales of books, as some other artistes like Kafayat Quadri, guitarist and publisher, Poetry Digest and S.A.G.E Hasson (a cousin of MI’s) a poetic rapper, entertained us with their magnificent performances. World-acclaimed Crown Troupe of Africa also “wowed” the audience with their songs, drama and other acts of art. Everyone who was present could not help but applaud and smile after their performances of Bewaji’s Eko Dialogue and the poem Ajani from Verissimo’s I Am Memory. They were simply out of this world.
The forum, which gave upcoming writers like me a chance to meet and fraternise with those who have made it to the big literary world, was a huge success. You really should not miss the next lap of the 9 Writers 4 Cities: The Book Tour in Ibadan, because it promises to be an even more explosive BOMB!

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