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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian’

Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

A MARRIAGE OF THE GODS AWAITS – Rose of Numen

“A beautiful narrative of our world and the connections with the finer world. In my opinion, this work is a depiction of the imagery of events that shall(will) NOW usher in the New Age of all our cultures. Consciously we will welcome New leaders and kings amongst us. I raise my ancient spear in salute to the author – Biola Olatunde. We all need to read it, fiction or nonfiction – the imagery that makes the new must flow!!” – Odjegberen Oghenechovwen ‘Keyan Ugen. Prince-Priest of the Ancient Ughievwen Kingdom.
These words gave me a sense of doing something worthwhile. Rose of Numen which is book two of the Numen series started something in me. It was meant as fiction but I had based quite a lot of what I wrote on the people around me. My village and her customs played a significant role in making me conscious of my roots. I had listened to my grandmother talk to me about gods and goddesses and they were not evil blood sucking leeches as my civilization had portrayed to me. Do I believe in this traditional form of worship? I am not sure but I find I was not willing to push things under the carpet as my friends and colleagues tend to do. I am Nigerian, specifically a Yoruba woman and was not prepared to call everything black magic. I am not into dark arts. Most of the practices puzzle me but I gradually learnt that by whatever name we call religion or even the lack of it, humanity needs to understand it. When we have an urgent need to feel that there is a purpose to our existence.
When I was writing the television series for the United Nations Population fund, I remember wanting to talk to traditional chiefs what they thought of female genital mutilation. I did not want to just dismiss it as evil but I wanted to learn why we started the practice in the first place and I asked myself where we missed the point even as I tried to rationalize the reasons for it. When I finally wrote against it, it was because I finally had a conviction of why it was wrong.
Couple of my friends are wondering if I had become a traditionalist after they had read Rose Of Numen. I sensed their restraint and was at first puzzled then as recognition dawned that they wondered about me, I felt pity for them. Our civilization has not done much for us. A large portion of our convictions is dependent on miracles, prosperity and the ability to weed out witches and wizards. We sometimes pay lip service to a religion because it is expected of us. I hate talking or writing about religion because it is divisive so don’t run away to another blog just yet will you?
My question has always been, if we recognize that Man lives at three levels of consciousness, what makes us accept that there were only particular races that had evolved on all three levels? Man acts, speaks and thinks on a very gross material level. In finer consciousness he is evolved enough to wonder about the cosmos, things beyond his ethereal consciousness and he wonders about a Creator.
My conversation is kind of heavy right? I guess it is, because the world right now is a puzzling place to be in. We are faced with the imminent realization to accept that humanity is at war with itself. An ideological war that brooks no compromises from the protagonists and antagonists whichever side you seem to find yourself. It is a question about a right to existence based on an idea, that goes to the very root of man’s concept of existence and the rationale for it.
Is there a meeting point? I remember Nostradamus warned that if humanity fails to resolve this, the next war will be fought with sticks and stones. A lot of things don’t make sense to me anymore so you could say I am a very confused old woman these days. I have tried to put all the killings into a perspective and I have failed to understand. There is a heavy sadness in me . I know I am not Atlas and it is a road that leads nowhere wondering how we have suddenly become a murderous bunch that kill without reason.
Where did we miss the point I ask myself. In my tradition, we would have gone to the gods and asked to know who had committed an abomination on the land and then we would look for ways to expiate it. Sadly we stopped listening to the cries of the gods that there is silence now in the market place just the rattle of the old bones is echoed by the eerie silence.
There is a dance in the forest of masquerades, who are afraid to come to the market because the drums they hear are the drums of war. We could fly a flag but only one flag will do, the flag of humanity and we do not even know what colour that should be.

50 shades of Grey.. the confusion and Grammar

I had heard about the book in 2013 when my friends discussed it in one of our internet discussions. My friend Lisa was not impressed and could not understand the hysteria about it. That made me curious and I asked her how I could get a copy of the book.
When the first in the triology came, I read the first chapter and disgust, confusion rose in me. I kept it away from my children instinctively. Then we moved house and I started reading about the fact that it was going to be made into a film so I felt I needed to read it . I had a few reasons that impelled me to want to finish the book. If it came into a film I could not be sure how my children were going to come across it and I wanted to be ready. I went back to 50 Shades again, and it was like walking through a strange land.
I am Nigerian with a definite cultural background and thus was prepared to be tolerant of quite a lot of things about the Western culture. I always had to do double duty picking through aspects of the Western culture that best complimented my Nigerian youths.
The concept of pain as a sexual thing is very strange and frankly I had never read about BDSM, nor a submissive or a Dominant. I was bewildered like Anastasia for most of the time. I was horrified that they were humans who only had that way of sexual fulfillment. In my mother’s day, she could not even dare discuss the simple act of procreation with me and we had quaint names we gave the female monthly cycle and now I just dropped myself into something way beyond my concept. It was an education. I resolutely turned each page determined to read it to the very end and when Anastasia finally fled I wanted to box her ears for crying.
I have my reservations, I agree that everyone to his own poison as long as he recognized it was his own decision and he was very much aware of the consequences of his actions, his thoughts and what he puts out in creation for others to read.
I have always been very conscious of the written word, its effects that outlives the writer and I try to pass that on to my friends. What you write is like sowing seeds into minds you may never meet and you will have to answer for them.
That however was not my only problem, there was the style of writing which was very poor and then the grammar. It was quite interesting to learn that Grammarly also had their own take on 50 shades. Let me share with you. They called it 50 shades of grammar
Although it topped bestseller lists around the world, E. L. James’ erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, was widely panned by critics for its poor use of language.
The Grammarly team reviewed the book for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and learned that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in celebrated romances.
Below, check out some of the most frequent grammar mistakes from Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as some quotes from classic romances that also make these mistakes. The language of love really is a language of its own!
You may want to check this link to know all about the 50shades of Grammar.
I hope to chat pretty soon.
<a href="http://Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar“>

Random Musings

You know, there is always the question of asking yourself if you are ever going to be a best seller in your lifetime. These days, those are the questions that I find myself asking each time I start writing a story. The question started simply enough. A very young child came to my house and we started chatting. He wanted to know why I was hunched over my computer almost all the time he was in the living room. I blinked and tried to focus on the young man. He noted that most times he called to say hello to my  children, he invariably found me typing. I took a deep breath and wondered if I should do one of two things.

You know look down my nose at him and reply in a pitying voice on how he has missed the true calling of the writer and tell him he was not likely to understand what writing meant to me, yeah, I am still broke and I am not sure if I can claim that I have sold my book in thousands never mind millions. What? No, I am not about to discuss my despair either. Hey!, I mean my despair that I am never going to finish writing all I have to write. I never have enough time and the stranger thing is, I have had days that I sit by the computer and the stories just goes on in my head and the computer remains blank. That is really frightening when I wonder if all this is going to be worthwhile. I am not trying to change the world neither am I likely going to change my immediate community, unless I wish to be a liar.

That is another thing, my neice doesn’t think I work anyway. She came over to spend the holidays when I was part of a television series on teenage reproductive issues. She had liked me and was enthusiastic about the series, I NEED TO KNOW. She read the stories every night, staying up all night sometimes. I was preening and waiting for the commendations to flow in. She looked up and I saw real bewilderment on her face.

“seriously auntie, I have never met all these people you talk about in your story, you are just forming them up right?”

“You mean like I am making them up”? I asked her slowly puzzled at what she was implying. Here, let me insert a warning: We are writing Nigerian English and my friends across the pond may have to hold on for a translation later.

My niece nodded and I smiled, “Yes of course , that is what is called fiction, the situations are real though”.

“You mean Ikechukwu is not real?”

“No my dear, the young boy that acts the part is real but that is just his television name”.

“Hmmm, very easy job Auntie, just sit down, dream up stories about people and you get paid for having fun”.

I stared at her, opened my mouth to explain what enter- educate drama is all about and clammed shut as she stared askance at me. She commented that she envied my job and wondered why I had not become a millionaire at the very least. She said she might one day take up my job.

That was years ago, the juice train left and I stared into the hard glare of straining to make two tired ropes stay glued. Digital television, internet radio and programmes took me to hunger street and I needed to look at dim areas of my creative mind to quell the noise of my growling belly.

I have been writing since I can remember the meaning of pain, hunger, dreams and a compulsive need to talk to persons I have never met. My imagination wakes me up every dawn as the sun dips her fingers on my hopes and gives me a taste of its promise. I have like a thousand stories, impatiently jostling for attention. Men I know so well in my head, conversations that seem unending, situations crop up and I ponder on their solutions. An urgent need to tap a shoulder and start a conversation.

I am doing one right now right? Were you interested? Oh well, you got this far. That must count for something. But you see, a new fear is peeping at me. How much time do I have?

Will I ever write a best seller? Sometimes I picture a vast field, the sun is setting, the players are all gone, I am staring at the lonely abandoned ball in the field, the stands are silent and a lone figure walks onto the field, he touches the ball and hears in his soul the roar of his dreams and he makes a lob into the far end of the field. The sun yawns and calls me over.

I will see you soon my friend.

Conversations

I have something interesting to share with you this week. I do me melook forward to doing so for a few more weeks with some of the most interesting minds I came across during our recent convention. Remember I had promised to let you know what happened at this convention. I very rarely attend convention as there seemed to be more politics attached to the hosting than the event itself, but I felt this was different. It was going to be a gathering of creative minds and I looked forward to the event. Happily for me the author I had threatened to scalp for his less than admirable portrayal of womanhood did not attend. So I enjoyed myself and tried to ask a few questions around. It was like feeling my way around. The attendance was in the hundreds and there was some sort of mini book fair as publishers came to display the books of their authors. In the package given to us was a collection of poetry and I came across this one.

The Blithesome Butterfly Adder

Like the rainbow in its effulgence
You glistened into the horizon of my existence,
Your dazzling colours enrapturing my unwary soul.

Like the butterfly in its splendour
You fluttered with zest and zeal.
Your serrated wings a galaxy of beauty.

Like the rich new wine
You galloped gingerly down the goblet.
With your aroma, you compelled even the celibate appetite.
I reached out in my thirst for a satisfying drink.
Oh, what hemlock!

Like the gaboon viper
You patiently laid ambush and with avarice
You feasted on my helpless heels
Even when not provoked.

Ensconced in the bowel of the forest,
You dug your garish gash with uncommon adroitness
into the innocent tree, intent on felling it.
With feigned fervour, you ran through the streets
bemoaning the fate of the same tree.

I leap in joy for freedom,
Inured as I now am, the gash can go no deeper.
I cry in pain for your numb captives,
held in slumber and stupor by your practised pretence.

So I went looking for the poet, here is what happened.

Please tell us a bit about yourself
1. My name is Oluchi J. IGILI. I’m a female Nigerian author and a dramatist both by training and engagement. I’m currently a university teacher where my duties include instructing students both in the theory and practice of drama/theatre. I ventured, if you like, into writing because I find it as a veritable window of opportunity to express myself, my thoughts and my concerns about the world in which I live. In this regard, I share my thoughts through poetry, drama and prose fiction.

Nigerian authors seem to be very much in the background as far as international aweeness is concerned, is that a true assessment?
2. To say anything about one’s country except that which paints her in glowing colours would, ordinarily, be politically incorrect. But I think it is patriotic to admit that Nigerian authors are lagging behind in terms of awareness of what is going on on the international scene. To a very large extent, only Nigerian authors in the Diaspora have a good grasp of what obtains on the international front and in consequence, they enjoy a lot of international recognition. That is not to say that Nigerian authors living within the country cannot hold their own in terms of their creative prowess. What it simply means is that the writers in Diaspora are privileged to be to enjoy many opportunities not yet available to Nigerian authors living and writing in the country.

Your poem is striking as it suggests a deeper level of human experience. What genre of writing do you subscribe to?
3. I engage in any form of creative writing (poetry, drama or prose) that enables me to give expression to my innermost concerns for my society. Another way to put it is to say that I subscribe to any literary genre that has a clearly discernible commitment to issues that affect humanity. Without any equivocation whatsoever, I belong to that school of thought that says, art, whether it is literary art or any other form of art, should be placed at the service of humanity. Art should not be an architectural masterpiece which lacks utilitarian value. Art for art’s sake? Not for me.

At the recently concluded convention of the association of Nigerian authors, there was a move to bring the female authors together, what do you think informed such a drive?
4. Yes, I am aware of that move to bring Nigerian female authors together. Nigerian female writers are making the effort to come together under one umbrella or the other. One of such platforms is the Association of Nigerian Female Authors (ANFA) among others. The reason for this, I believe, is not far-fetched. The female Nigerian writer needs to be more visible and the best way to achieve this is to have a platform from which to seek both to be seen and heard. As much as I know that some of our male counterparts are sympathetic enough (I use that word deliberately), one can also understand that they are not too prepared to yield much space to the female writer. So, there is the need for Nigerian female writers to come together and create a strong visible image for themselves. If we fail to blow our trumpets, like they say, we should not expect any body to do that for us. And the time to do that is now.

As a published author, what has been your experience?
5. There are a number of challenges which I believe are common to writers in my clime. There is the problem of a continuously dwindling reading culture which has been worsened in recent years by a barrage of technological devices that have made reading very unappealing. Whereas in the past people spent their leisure times on reading, technological devices have provided ready alternatives that are a lot less intellectually tasking. It does not take much intellectual muscle to sit down in front of a TV screen to watch a movie or soap.
Another issue which published authors have to grapple with here is piracy which has made writing to be a non lucrative enterprise.

Tell us about your published book and how we can get a copy
6. My most recent literary out puts are a short story in Tales From the Sun and poems in One Poem, Fifty Seasons: A Collection of Poems in Honour of Sola Owonibi and they are available in leading bookshops. A collection of short stories is right now in the quarry.

Share a typical day with us
7. My typical day is basically the same as that of any serious minded wife, mother, public servant, responsible citizen and committed Christian, all rolled into one, who must also find time to put pen to paper and give vent to the creative impulse.

What do you see as the Nigerian literary scene?
8. The Nigerian literary scene has a lot of issues/problems to contend with. It seems to me that there are too many ‘writers’ who should have no business writing. In short, there are too many sub standard, poorly written works on the Nigerian literary scene. That is not to say that there are no good books any more but the not-too-good ones have become rather common place. Self publishing is another monster on the Nigerian literary scene. Many Nigerian writers do not see why they should submit their manuscripts to established publishing houses for thorough vetting. On the other hand, well known publishing houses also have the reputation of ripping off writers particularly upcoming writers. These are some of the problems the Nigerian literary scene is contending with.

I have had to convert my English from my Nigerian roots to what my publisher says will be internationally accepted format, have had such an experience?
9. Nigerian writers are no doubt faced with the challenge of writing a ‘brand’ of English language that must of necessity retain the flavour and nuances of native Nigerian languages in which they think and from which they draw their thoughts and passing same across in an acceptable format to international readers. So the challenge is about how to strike a balance between reaching the Nigerian reader for whom the Nigerian writer writes primarily and at the same time achieve international acceptability. This is not a particularly easy line to toe.

Talk to us about our reading culture and predict what may be possible in the next five years.
10. The reading culture of the average Nigerian is whittling daily, no thanks to technology such as television, telephone and other social media. Except something definite is done deliberately and urgently, the future is really bleak in this regard.

Finally what lessons or insights did the recently concluded convention offer you as an author?
11. One take home for me from the recently concluded convention of the Association of Nigeria Authors is the undeniable role of the literary artist in nation building. As noted by the keynote speaker, Prof. Toyin Falola, creative writers must connect text and imagination with policies and politics. In other words, the Nigerian creative writer must be actively involved in nation building because he has a lot to offer. This again tells us that art for art’s sake has no place in the Nigerian cum African literary landscape.

Thank you for chatting with us
Thank you for sparing time for this interaction.

Association of Nigerian Authors

In a matter of weeks now we would be hosting the 2013 international convention of Nigerian authors. The pace of preparation has been heightened somewhat.
I am curious about a lot of things. One of my curiosity is being in a place where most of the people I will be interacting with will be published authors. I am also looking forward to learning and hoping to see if I might get a few authors to interview for ny blog
It would be nice to widen ny circle of literary friends.
I am curious too about the abundance of authors. We are actually expecting hundreds.
I promise to keep you updated and share.
Talk soon.
PS. I am going to find out if we have science fiction author too!
That would be really good.

Writer’s block or Lethargy?

I have had an intense week. Okay who hasn’t? I heard that , but we agreed to have a conversation okay? The problem felt simple., I have heard about writers block. You know sitting in front of the computer and you stare at the keys but nothing happens right? Good. How do you explain having lots of stories running riot in your head and you actually have finished the story in your head….or so you think and then for the life of me I simply open the computer and blimey, I go over to social networking and Lord I am lost. I giggle, smile, even chuckle at some of the posts and then three hours later am tired, sleepy and the characters sadly head for my head, another wasted night the characters mutter to themselves settling in different corners of my brain. We all spend a very restless night. Some of them are angry enough to inflict some level of nightmares on me. Am I addicted? There are days I simply sit by the computer and stare too fuddled to even go the social media sites and then in some unexplained misery, shut down. I sense a problem but for the life of me I am at a loss to explain it to me. Then I have what I privately call writing binges. I simply can’t seem to stop. Poems, jokes, drama, and I simply seem to haunt my social pages then. I find it difficult to get to bed. Those times Numen simply sniffs and goes to a corner not giving me a thought. I know why because inspite of that frenzy, I have not gone back to the sequel about her story.
We have been avoiding each other for days now. I started on the story then asked her a question and she took umbrage. The question was simple and clear.. do gods and goddesses fall in love? She gave me such a long silence that I imagined that she had left and then a long sigh came and she whispered.
“What do humans know of love? Of its awesomeness? Love, the world rotates on that axis and it is the template that determined the world. No, not the weak self- serving version you humans call love. Have a look into creation from the molten fiery depths of the plates of the earth that serve as the shoulders of Atlas to the roar and silence of the depths of the sea that is the belly of Neptune to Sango’s speed swinging in service and obedience to the Will of the Creator”. She paused for breath and I sensed her frustration. She sighed.. “Don’t ask such a silly question my friend. Humans have no real concept of Love, if they did, they would swing in the Natural laws and I would have little reason to be here”.
An amused chuckle escaped me and she smiled in return not one whit fazed by my supercilious amusement. Suddenly I was bored and I felt the dread of my disbelief. I was talking about my disorganized writing regime and was not really interested in in gods and goddesses I mumbled in irritation. Now I will have to sit down and make some sense of this blog, I continued complaining.
How do I solve this peculiarity? Is that what is meant by writer’s block or in my case a plain case of mental laziness. Ouch! At least you could pretend to be reading and be amused at my attempts at writing.
Now I do have a problem, I have been trying to decide if I should shoo Numen out of my head, life and space. She really has not finished her story but I am not so sure because I have a sneaking suspicion that she is going to tell me something that I might find difficult putting it right in words. Fantasies could become blurred you know. It is a longing for escape. I also have a simple confusion. Would I be stretching the magic if I write a sequel to Numen Yeye. In its original manuscript (by long hand, two big notebooks and hundreds of sheaves of loose sheets), Numen Yeye had spanned three parts. Must have been crazy in those days I used to say to myself. I mean who wants to read about sagas? My fingers ached and so did my back from sleepless nights. She sat glued to me then. Come to think of it she has stayed back and close since 1981 when she walked in.
Since Numen Yeye came out, I have noticed that my friends tend to give me strange looks. Like they wonder at me. I take great pains to explain it is a story but my close friend gives me a look that suggests she really does not think so. Kind of convenient that I find the social media a good excuse right?
A friend from the other side of the pond simply dismissed my story as superstitions and stuff and from his Olympian height said he did not care for such stuff. I scratched my head, puzzled. I had read his sci-fi stories and though I did not understand his imagination I had read his book no books and enjoyed the artistry of his words. Why am I puzzled? He did not extend to me a charity that I had hoped. The sharp end of reviewing that every writer dreads, accepts and helplessly hopes that he would not have to face.
You know as a writer, you do hope that your book will be well received. You hope that at the very least friends will see the merits of the effort and make a fair comment. Some of my friends have been generous, I thank them, some have been blistering and I do thank them as well.
My editor said everything.. He said, there can be only two ways people will see your story… those who will like it and those who will not understand where you are at. That gave me lots of comfort. So when a fellow Nigerian said she could not wrap it round her head I smiled. Or the fellow author who said he was going to dump reading the book because he did not care for superstition, I did not bother telling him that we had chatted on social media about the book while I was writing.
I just remembered something.. Have you read the book Numen Yeye? By the way I do reviews too. You know in obedience to the law which states that it is only in giving that one receives lasting values.
Let’s meet again soon and I sincerely hope my lethargy will lift and I can report that I have gone someways with Numen ‘s sequel.
Hasta la vista friends.

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