Thursday, September 21, 2006

A bookie weekend; and plenty-plenty name-dropping

The Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) has cahme-and-gwan. You can find gist on the following blogs: Laspapi’s, Araceli’s and Cora's (Committee for Relevant Art – organizers of the Festival).

I bought (only) 3 books – all on Sunday, the closing day of the Festival, modest by all standards (see Laspapi and Aipoh):

1) The Elements of Style (by William Strunk Jr. and E.B White)
2) A New Guide to Better Writing (by Rudolf Flesch and A.H Lass)
3) The Kennedy Wit (ed by Bill Adler) – a collection of humorous sayings by JFK, “.... from his campaign speeches, “off-the-cuff” remarks, press conferences and prepared addresses…from his first days as a public speaker to his words as Senator and President.”

Do these books say something about me? Did I hear you say something? You didn’t. Good. I can answer that myself.

(1) and (2) say that I want to write better. Who doesn’t?
(3) says I want to be the President of the United States when I grow up (who doesn’t?), and I (now) know perfectly well how I shall go about it.

Adewale Maja Pearce, former editor, African Writers' Series and founder of The New Gong Publishing

I had my fair share of fun at LABAF. It was a gathering of some of Nigeria’s most brilliant and hardworking writers, both new and established. I walked up to Araceli and introduced myself (as BOA); met Laspapi; met Adewale Maja-Pearce, founder of The New Gong Publishing , and former editor of the African Writers’ Series; Kaine Agary, author of the novel Yellow-Yellow(due out in December 2006); Gerd Meuer; Jude Dibia, author of the novel Walking with Shadows, and Ogaga Ifowodo, poet, activist and lawyer (author of three award winning poetry collections) who is home on holiday from his PhD programme at Cornell University in the United States.

R-L: AJ Dagga Tollar (poet), Gerd Meuer, Jahman Anikulapo (Editor, Guardian on Sunday), and Toyin Akinosho (Geologist, Arts Activist and Founder of CORA)

All the above I was meeting for the first time ever. Those I’m about to mention I have met in the past and know quite well: Toni Kan, poet, novelist, short story writer and banker, Niran Okewole (poet, dramatist and psychiatrist), Odia Ofeimun (poet and polemicist), Onyeka George Nwelue (who has been touring India, Bangladesh and France in the last few months, and whose debut novel is due out next year).

Tripod: (L-R): Jumoke Verissimo (poet), Araceli Aipoh (novelist) and Wole Oguntokun (lawyer and dramatist)

PostScript:It was a huge surprise to me to discover a new side to the Prince of Camelot. I mean, we all know Kennedy for that serious minded advice, which is perhaps one of the most quoted statements ever in the history of mankind: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country." That statement is always treated with utmost soberness, eagerly seized upon and regurgitated at every available opportunity by politicians, elders, "statesmen" and motivational speakers -- even when they have no intentions whatsoever of turning the question inward.

George Nwelue, Tolu Ogunlesi and Gerd Meuer


Araceli Aipoh said...

I love, love those pictures. And I love the "gist" about the LABAF. It's nice when many people talk about one event. Something new and interesting will always come up. I like your chosen titles. Please let us know what they say when you have read them.

laspapi said...

hello boa. Nice set-up here.

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