Friday, December 9, 2016


The highlight of the occasion was the major speech well known literary critic, Mr Pule Lechesa delivered, extolling the vision and goodwill of Mrs Schimper. For good measure he sprinkled his address with references:

1. For the love of Words: focus on the Eclectic Writers Club. 2001.   
2.  The Growth of Free State Black Writing (Part 6). Edited by Peter Moroe. 2008.        
3. "The Bard of Bloemfontein". By Achal Prabhala. Chimurenga Journal. 2011. (Also online)   
4. It Couldn't Matter Less. By O Bolaji. 2013.     
5. Windmills of the Dames. By O Bolaji. 2014.      
6.  "Literature: Women can be Awesome!" By Leke Giwa (Ghana). Available online via this link:                                                                                                              Note photo of Mrs Schimper in this feature, online.
7.  “Lechesa graces Macufe Wordfest” By Pule Lechesa (also available online)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


For me, it has always been a crying shame that relatively very few African readers - even lovers of creative fiction - appreciate this type of work. Certainly over the decades this book has been acknowledged as a classic, and justifiably so. The brilliant academic/critic here makes lots of controversial remarks/conclusions, but the important thing is that he introduces us to many early great African novelists in stupendous fashion. Even in his polemical introduction - where the author apparently undermines fine African writers like Achebe, Lenrie Peters, and Wole Soyinka, the author still writes impressively on them all (Soyinka was still quite young then, but his sublime works would ensure that he went on to become the first African to garner the Nobel Prize in literature). Quand meme, the author/critic goes on to analyze some outstanding African novelists and authors in depth. One might be surprised that he claims Chinua Achebe resorts to "melodramatics" in his (second) novel, No longer at ease; but I have met many literary aficionados over the years who have affirmed that pertinently, the behaviour of the lady, Clara, is actually what one would expect from such a beleaguered young woman in such a was up to Obi (the male protagonist) to fight for her if he really wanted to do so. The author acknowledges Ngugi as a very good writer too, though he appears to dub the author as a bit "naïve, promising" in regards his first novel, Weep not child. For many of us though, the greatness of Ngugi has been very much obvious from his initial works. By the time prof ? considers Ngugi's A grain of wheat in this work, he sings his praises as a creative writer to high heavens! Again one might be a bit startled that the critic has some doubts about a superb work like Camara Laye's African Child, but at least he considers the same Laye's novel, The radiance of the king to be quite excellent. The themes of this work appeal - eg the idea of a white man (Clarence) coming to Africa and morphing in the process sort of reverses what world was used to at the time. There are kudos for Mongo Beti too, an "ironical" author; and Ayi Kwei Armah who had stunned the world at the time with his "The beautyful ones are not yet born"... The critic has a lot of time for Gabriel Okara's novel, The Voice, "a short work" which apparently delivers strong moral, cultural and even syntactic messages than much longer works of fiction have done. The critic, as usual, quotes liberally from The Voice, a "strange" but convincing work. Looking back now on the literary landscape, one might find it incongruous that the critic here apparently rated an author like Okara higher than the likes of Soyinka, Peters and Ekwensi, but that's literary criticism for you!!
- Eric Malome

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Image result for ben okri

Ben Okri of course is one of the most outstanding, fecund writers Africa has ever produced - he was still a rather young man when he won the 1991 Booker prize (for his work, The Famished Road). 

Okri has harvested many other awards and laurels over the years, but probably his most awkward gong came in late 2014 when he won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, on the strength of a description in his novel, The Age Of Magic. 
Lao and Mistletoe are the protagonists in the love scene, and here is how Okri

"When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her.

"He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail...     

"The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off...".

  • Flowers and Shadows 1980)
  • The Landscapes Within (Harlow: Longman, 1981)
  • The Famished Road London: 1991)
  • Songs of Enchantment (London: Jonathan Cape, 1993)
  • Astonishing the Gods 1995
  • (Dangerous Love (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson,1996)
  • Infinite Riches (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998)
  • In Arcadia (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002)
  • Starbook 2007)
  • The Age of Magic (London: Head of Zeus, 2014)

Poetry, essays and short story collections

  • Incidents at the Shrine (short stories, 1986)
  • Stars of the New Curfew (short stories; , 1988)
  • An African Elegy (poetry; London: Jonathan Cape, 1992)
  • Birds of Heaven (essays; London: Phoenix House, 1996)
  • A Way of Being Free (essays; London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson: 1997; London: Phoenix House, 1997)
  • Mental Fight (poetry: London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1999; London: Phoenix House, 1999)
  • Tales of Freedom (short stories; London: Rider & Co., 2009)
  • A Time for New Dreams (essays; London: Rider & Co., 2011)
  • Wild (poetry; London: Rider & Co., 2012)

Books by Ben Okri

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


(Yemisi Otasanya in her own words)

‘My passion for writing started at the age of 8, when out of boredom, I picked up my pencil and wrote my first poem. Daddy was my first audience. May God bless his soul. He laughed heartily after reading the poem. It was more of a paradox about a frog who could not sing, but was a choir master.

Rather than hang out with my friends during playtime, I spent most of the time imagining about adventures in space, fighting aliens and conquering colonies. I imagined I was a dashing irresistible warrior princess with no interest in love, a super hero, a secret spy and much more. At the age of 11, while in year 1 of Junior Secondary School, I wrote an adventure script and shared it with my friends. They loved it and pressurized me to write more, but I deterred. 

As a teenager, I wanted to be a scientist and not pursue writing. I had a secret herbarium where I carried out research on the flora in Abuja city and did a lot of research writing and occasional articles in local dailies. I also engaged in loads of freelance writing and editing for friends, collecting stipends in return.

I am currently an IT project manager, an author, a mother and wife and I love studying nature, stars and their constellations, elements, history, cultures, managing complex projects, meeting people, dancing (I have my own symphony, lol). I am crazy about science fiction.

I do loads of research before embarking on a writing project and I have God as my father. I never make assumptions about people or jump to conclusions without hearing both sides of the story. I believe we all have the chance to be better. My weed is writing. I hope you enjoy reading my books.’

Books by Yemisi Otasanya

Perfect Body, Perfect Baby After Delivery

Above The Ether