By Nwachukwu Egbunike
I attended this book reading for selfish reasons.
Nze Sylva Ifedigbo made sure I did not miss his first appearance – as the author of The Funeral Did Not End – in the land of rusty roofs sandwiched between seven hills. Our friendship was ignited about six years ago when I edited one of his short stories. It was not that easy for both of us to trust each other: Nze was scared of entrusting his work to a stranger while I was weary of a remote pay check.
Odili Ujubuonu read from Pride of the Spider Clan. I did the copyediting of Odili’s novel as well as that of another author of the Jalaa Writers’ Collective. However, I have neither met Nze nor Odili though we have kept in touch through the Bermuda Square of smart media – Facebook, Twitter, Google and mobile telephony.
Ayodele Arigbaburo is a friend of a friend. We got acquainted two years ago when he visited Ibadan. Ayo’s mission was to drink from the fount of Demas Nwoko. Little did I know that he was a writer and publisher besides his craft in architecture and journalism. Ayo’s serenade “Special Secretary” was part of A Fistful of Tales – a collection of short stories.
Asides the first need of meeting these friends in flesh and blood; I have craved for long to be in the company of writers once again. In Enugu, the Orient Literary Group had satisfied my writing fellowship lust. This was another opportunity to gist with people who shared my madness.
Writing is not like selling cement or oil. It is not lucrative but you do it because you like it – Femi Osofisan
I cannot agree less, the evening was blissful. Though it started a bit later than scheduled, but it was worth every second it lasted.
Onyeka Nwelue – with a superficially shy persona – took the first reading. His lesson was from the book of The Abyssinian Boy a novel that straddles both India and Nigeria.
Iyeyinka Omigbodun – a teen prodigy – gave us a twin menu of drama and poetry. She read excerpts from The Country I Love (drama) and Death Trap(poetry) – that captures the essence of that morgue called Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. Iyeyinka published her first two books at fourteen and her third at sixteen. She is still in high school.
Jacob Ojuola hypnotised the crowd with Mura Si Eko re (Take your studies seriously). Jacob is a driver to the owner of Musoru Booksellers Ltd.
Ayodele Olofintuade was a hit. I think Ayodele would have done better as a theatre artist. Her rendition of Eno’s Story– a child accused of witchcraft was comical.
Laipo is a reference to the power of the word and its ability to attain certain force. Laipo is about prostrating while you stand tall in pride… – Remi Raji
Update: Obviously there were guest, I did not take a headcount but it was a pretty respectable crowd. A cross section of guest are shown below: