Friday, March 30, 2007

Quote of the Week: Terry Eagleton on Jeffrey Archer

"Many celebrities who get put away come out of prison having found Jesus; Jeffrey Archer, nothing if not idiosyncratic, has discovered his betrayer instead."

- Terry Eagleton in his review of Jeff's latest novel, The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot

Read the full review here

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Still on "Lorenzo and Maria"

I wasn't able to listen to my poem, Lorenzo and Maria, live, on the BBC World Service. I listened online instead.

Listen to Lorenzo and Maria on the BBC Weekend Africa Sunday Programme, here.

The poem starts at 20:10 on the audio player (20mins:10secs)

You can also read the full poem on the BBC website, here.

You can also submit your own slavery poem on that page - a selection will be posted online and broadcast on the BBC Weekend Africa.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Book: Unbridled by Jude Dibia

UNBRIDLED, the latest offering from the novelist Jude Dibia, has just been published

Jude is the author of Walking With Shadows, which was shortlisted for the 2006 ANA/NDDC KEN SARO-WIWA PRIZE FOR PROSE.

Unbridled (Fiction)
Jude Dibia
BlackSands Books, Lagos
278 pp
ISBN 978079396 - 8

Onyeka Nwelue spoke with Jude recently on his new book. Read the interview here
You can also read an extract from the novel here
And there's a short story by Jude, Among Strangers, in blackbiro, here

Monday, March 19, 2007

Omo-Alagbede on the BBC

I've decided to take a break from my fixations on Oprah, Angelina and other powerful women, and direct them (all fixations) onto Number 1.

My poem, Lorenzo and Maria, will be broadcast on the BBC World Service Weekend Network Africa on Sunday the 25th of March, at 0400GMT and 0600GMT; in commemoration of the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.


Love, Lagos and Havana were the three ends
Of the rope that bound Lorenzo and Maria.

Of course
They weren’t always Lorenzo and Maria.
Once upon a time they must have been
Lamidi and Mojisola,
Growing somewhere in Isale Eko,
Thinking of who to fall in love with
And when, and how many seed to spawn...

Listen to the full poem on the BBC World Service Weekend Network Africa on Sun 25 March 2007

NB> The Slave Trade was formally abolished by the British Government in 1807. The Abolition of the Slave Trade bill (passed in the House of Lords by 41 votes to 20, and in the House of Commons by 114 to 15) become law on 25th March, 1807.


Other News:

I've got work forthcoming (soon, soon) in the following print and online journals/mags:

Farafina Issue 9 (short story)
The Arabesques Review (short story)
Jelly Paint (poem)
Main Street Rag (poems)
Weaverbird Anthology of New Nigerian Fiction (short story)
Boxcar Poetry Review (poem) -- I got the email informing me of acceptance this afternoon
Tipton Poetry Journal (poem)
Crossing Borders magazine (poems)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Angelina Jolie; I told you I wasn't CRAZY, and Other Adoption Stories

Today, on Yahoo's Entertainment News & Gossip, is the news: Jolie Expected in Vietnam to Adopt Boy. :

Angelina Jolie was expected to arrive in Vietnam late Wednesday night to adopt a 3-year-old boy, adoption officials said. Jolie was expected to attend an adoption ceremony with Vietnamese officials in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday morning, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the matter. After she receives the child, Jolie will meet with U.S. consular officials, who must review the adoption before a passport can be issued for the boy. If all goes according to plan, Jolie could bring the child home by the weekend, officials said. A message left early Wednesday for a Jolie representative in Los Angeles wasn't immediately returned. The boy has been living at the Tam Binh orphanage on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City since he was abandoned at a hospital as an infant, according to adoption officials. Shortly after he arrived at the orphanage, the Tam Binh staff tried unsuccessfully to locate the boy's birth parents. The boy is healthy, friendly and a little bit shy, they said. He gets along well with other children and loves to play soccer. Jolie filed adoption papers as a single parent, because she and her partner, Brad Pitt, are not married. They have three children: 5-year-old Maddox, adopted from Cambodia; 2-year-old Zahara, adopted from Ethiopia; and another daughter, Shiloh, who was born to the couple in May. The pair made a surprise visit to the Tam Binh orphanage at Thanksgiving, when they were spotted cruising around Ho Chi Minh City on a motorbike.

Just days ago I announced the formation of an NGO dedicated to facilitating the adoption of white kids by African celebrities. Angelina dearie must have read my blog (which tells you a bit about the calibre of readers of this blog), and on the basis of my displeasure about the adoption of african kids, hurriedly abandoned her plans to adopt another african kid. Instead she ran off to Vietnam, since the Asians have not complained yet.

Talk about the power of one man, the power of one blog to change world affairs. This, happening at a time when Omo Alagbede is thinking of "selling" once his daily blog-hits reach twelve, is encouraging news, and will mean that you will keep reading me for a long while to come.

You all thought I was crazy and crying wolf when I raised an "adoption" alarm a few days ago, now you know that it's called the POWER OF FORWARD THINKING, also known in management lingo as VISION, FORESIGHT, etc.

I will continue to raise TRUE alarms until the world grows deaf. We must start to reciprocate the kind gestures of the West. For every one african kid that they adopt, SAAWKAC will strive to ensure that a dozen white kids are adopted and tranplanted to Africa.

Talk about globalisation.

Think about this. The West has been adopting Africans forever. They have adopted our brightest doctors and engineers and students and lawyers etc etc, adults all. Now they are adopting our children.

I foresee a time when an American millionaire will, on one bored-stiff-of-cocaine-and-playboy-afternoon, sail on hir (the new politically correct term for his/her) yacht, dock in the Lagos port, and with a wand-like wave of hir blackberry, "adopt" a dozen Nigerian kids.

The parents of the kids will object, but the kids will insist on going with the American. The case will end up at the ICJ in the Hague, and the distinguished Judges will take time off from playing monopoly with Charles Taylor (am I mixing courts up here?) and Robert Mugabe, and declare:

"We the distinguished and honorable Judges of the International Court of Justice, having listened to the facts of this matter, and in consonance with the ideals of global justice, hereby rule that, in toto, and sans sub judice, in the case of (American millionaire - insert name here) & 12 Nigerian children vs 12 Nigerian parents, the onus of dispensation of justice lies with the wills, desires and preferences of the children, nothwithstanding their underaged status, and in pro bono publico errata cognisant of the mitigating circumstances of the locus standi judgement."

African parents have no powers to keep their children if an American millionaire decides otherwise. The children will decide who they want to go with.

And the 12 Nigerian parents will plead with the American millionaire to employ them as nannies to take care of the twelve children in his Miami beachfront home.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Society for the Advancement of the Adoption of White Kids by African Celebrities

We are all aware that it has become a fad for white celebrities to run over to Africa with the world press in tow, to adopt kid after black kid, especially for one or the other of the reasons below:

1) After a RARE moment of sudden spiritual enlightenment

2) After an affliction by a Weapon of Mass De-popularity e.g a failed movie/album

3) After another cocaine/heroine/ecstasy fuelled delusion

4) As an act of penance after another crazy gold-plated-cloth-hanger shopping spree

5) As an act of reaffirmation of innate humanity after another stint in rehab

The Society for the Advancement of the Adoption of White Kids by African Celebrities(SAAWKAC) is a newly founded not-for-profit organisation devoted to raising awareness about the dire need for successful Africans to adopt orphaned, homeless or confused white kids, as a gesture of appreciation to the West for their tireless quest in assisting a continent that ungratefully refuses to renounce its darkness.

We are still a voluntarily-funded organisation, but plans are underway to convince icons of African origin like Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey of the need to finance laudable objectives such as ours.

Why adopt a white kid?
To save them from:

1) Obesity

2) Ignorance of world affairs (ignorance for example about the continent of Nigeria)

3) The war in Iraq (which might continue for the next few decades if the Americans elect yet another Bush to power)

4) Al-Qaeda

5) The Bush Dynasty

6) Spiritual emptiness and aridity

For more info, send us an email today at

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Go Sit Down, Oprah!

The school will teach girls to be the best human beings they can ever be; it will train them to become decision-makers and leaders; it will be a model school for the rest of the world." — Oprah Winfrey

Go sit down Oprah!

Me don't like this her idea of a special school for African girls... and I think Oprah should go sit down. Say what you may, but I'm not kidding. 40 million dollars on a fugging school for a handful of African girls, when the lives of millions could be changed with far less.

I can't stick this idea of coming to "Africa" to play the role of Messiah, doling out millions of dollars to reproduce yourself in a few out of the multitude. I don't see what she's doing as different than what the Belgians did when they split people into Hutu and Tutsi in central Africa, based on such things as the shapes of their bodies etc.

Forty million dollars would be better spent building hundreds of schools for young Africans, instead of an elitist institution that will create little Oprahs out of these girls. She might as well have flown the "lucky" girls off to get American accents and a great education in America.

We need to begin to make it clear that if these muzungu philanthropists cannot make the efforts and sacrifice to make GENUINE changes/impact in Africa, then they should keep their fugging dough to themselves and continue to invest in their Louis Vuttons and yatchs and Cuban cigars.

What Oprah has done in my opinion is nothing to congratulate her about. Let her keep her money! Of course I know all the arguments. Multiplier effects of the few girls she will rescue through her school, blah blah blah. Whatever! It's irritating to imagine a forty million dollar school for the purposes of saving a handful of girls out of the multitude who need saving.

Let's get it clear! Let's fight this mentality that what Africa needs from the West are extravagant schools for the development of an elite few, or magnificent concerts (Geldofesque) or AID agencies that spend far more on consultancy fees, parties and expatriate salaries than on actual aid activity.

When the colonialists were around (not as if they still aren't) they concentrated on building a tiny African elite, giving them all the available opportunities and using them to oppress the unenlightened multitude. The elite, masquerading as independence heroes, became (mostly) the corrupt home-grown politicians of the sixties, neo-colonialists over the bulk of the African continent.
Decades later, people like Oprah are still trying out the ancient tricks!

About the controversial school
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation operates The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls - South Africa. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation is a Section21A company registered in South Africa, a branch of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and a US 501(c)(3).Students The Academy’s purpose is to offer academically talented girls an opportunity to develop their full intellectual, social, and leadership potential. To be eligible to attend, girls must be South African, academically talented, able to demonstrate leadership qualities, and come from a disadvantaged family or community. The 152 girls starting school in 2007 are entering grades 7 and 8. They make up what will be the Academy’s first graduating class. When each of the grades, 7 through 12, is filled with students, approximately 450 girls will attend the Academy.Curriculum The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy will allow girls to explore the changing world through advanced education techniques and technology. South African teachers and administrators have been selected from the best and the brightest. The curriculum is based on South Africa’s national standards, which includes math, languages, arts and culture, social science, life orientation, and natural science. The Academy’s curriculum expands to include a theme of leadership and leadership development across all courses and activities. Additionally, the curriculum focuses on technology and e-learning.
Facilities and Location
After years of construction, the school’s doors opened. The Academy sits on 52 acres in Henley-on-Klip, Meyerton, Gauteng Province, South Africa. The school provides state-of-the-art facilities including residences, large library, dining hall, theater, gymnasium, wellness center, and much more.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bestseller Lists... what/how/why

(From Slate)

What is a best-seller list? It is a ranking of the relative sales of particular kinds of books at certain groups of stores within a one-week period. Best-seller lists tell us not which books sell the most, in absolute terms, but which fiction, nonfiction, or advice books sell the fastest at the bookstores list makers think deserve attention. A how-to book that sells 20,000 copies in one week will shoot to the top of the best-seller lists, whether or not those are the only copies it ever sells. A novel that sells 200 copies a week for 10 years will never appear on the lists, because each week it will be beaten by faster-selling books.

Read more

Friday, March 02, 2007

An early (Greek) birthday gift for Omo Alagbede?

Saw this insensitively-worded email in my inbox this morning, sob, sob, sniff:

Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 19:49:17 -0800
From: Seth.Fournier"
To: thailandreservation @
Subject: Re: At Work

Hi, I hate to be the one to mention this, but people continue to
talk about your weight issue and it just disgusts me. Whether you
know it by now, people are always chattering about each other at
work but you come up more than enough. I wasn't the happiest or
best-fit up until a year ago or so but that did change. Thanks to
my dam brother-in-law(of all people). Anyhow, it was for the best.
What I am saying is that you need to do something different and
maybe you can make the same difference I did. Try this stuff I used.
I took it on the idea it's just more junk but it worked great. I
see more positive reviews on it nowadays and makes me feel even
better. So, I am encouraging a change, not only in the chatter
around here but in you personally.
-Anonymous for now
Using an anonymous email website to send this btw;)
When it helps/works just send a memo out with the name "Angel" in it.
Then you can take me out to lunch to thank you. Talk to you sooner
than later I hope;)


Dear Seth,

Cruel cruel you
I spent the whole morning sobbing just because of your big mouth!

how can anyone who claims to be human make such cruel fun of my weight...
it's not fair, sob, sob, sniff....
and you want me to take you to lunch for this?

To thank you for your emotional cruelty?
You mean you want me to lose weight, and then celebrate it with LUNCH?
You must be Dubbya's twin bro or sthg...

Yours very obesely, and unrepentantly
Omo Alagbede

Omo Alagbede, Obasanjo and Awolowo

At 2:34 am on Saturday, 3 March, 2007, Omo Alagbede will celebrate his silver jubilee. I narrowly missed the clan of the Midnight children. I'm a post-midnight child.

Two days after me, my good friend Segun (Obasanjo), who also happens to be the President of Nigeria, will be celebrating his entry into the Septuagenarians' Club.

And a day later (March 6), my mentor Obafemi (Awolowo), former Premier of the Western region, Introducer of Free Education in Western Nigeria in the 1950s; former federal Commissioner of Finance and Vice-Chair of the Federal Executive Council; philosopher, legal luminary, and "the best President Nigeria never had" will posthumously clock 98.

For we are jolly good fellows, for we are jolly good fellows, for we are jolly good feeeeelllooooowws, and so say all of us! Hoorah!