Books


Jowhor Ile’s And After Many Days Wins 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature

Book Cover
Out of the three shortlisted finalists for 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, a book titled And After Many Days, by Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile has been announced as the winner.   Published in Nigeria by Kachifo Limited, the winning book, which gets £15,000 for Ile, defeated Jacqui L’Ange (South Africa) The Seed Thief (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa); and Julie Iromuanya (Nigeria) Mr & Mrs Doctor (Coffee House Press, USA).
  Ahead of announcing a winner, The jury, led by Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila explained that
the three writers were selected from a long list after fulfilling some criteria.
  These, Habila said were ” in addition to originality of voice and literary excellence, our purpose was to also select a work that portrays READ MORE.
 ------------------------------------------------------------Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text

 A new book, Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text by Chika Okeke-Agulu and published by Skira Editore (Milan, 2016) was presented in Lagos.

  The author’s press statement: This book is a major publication of the drawings of the US-based Nigerian artist Obiora Udechukwu (b. 1946). With more than 500 images, nearly half in colour, this is primarily an art book, with priority given to the reproduction of high quality images selected from the artist’s drawing books dating from 1965 to the present. The book includes contextual, scholarly texts and interviews with the artist by the author, as well as a timeline by Princeton-based art historian Perrin Lathrop and comprehensive bibliography of the artist by Janet Stanley, librarian at the Smithsonian Institution.

Udechukwu, who in 1976 was described by the scholar Pat Oyelola as “master of the sensitive line,” is best known for his development of a style of drawing and painting inspired by Igbo Uli body drawing and mural, following the experiments of his teacher Uche Okeke (1933-2016) in the early 1960s. But Udechukwu’s incomparable draughtsmanship and pictorial design sensibility led to him to develop drawings and paintings that not only influenced generations of artists associated with the Nsukka School in Nigeria, but also secured his place as one of the most consequential Nigerian artists of the 20th century. This publication, the most substantial on Udechukwu’s oeuvre, focuses on his drawings for four compelling reasons.

First, the collection of drawing books from which most of the images are selected is without doubt a treasure that must be shared with students and professional artists, critics and scholars, and the general public who appreciate intimate encounters with work of the artistic imagination; for sketches and drawings provide unique insights into the artist’s creative process. This is particularly important, for Udechukwu has, even before he enrolled in art school initially at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1965, paid an unusually meticulous attention to drawing and more importantly to preserving these documents for over half a century. This career-long exercise has left for us today, documents of inalienable artistic and documentary importance.

Second, a bulk of these drawings were produced during the late 1960s, a period of political crises and civil war in Nigeria (1967-70); they thus provide us a perspective on the experience of that war quite different from extant literary or documentary accounts it. In other words, although the drawings published in this book take us on a journey through Udechukwu’s artistic career, and the different stylistic turns he took over the decades, they crucially are visual texts about a period of social and political upheaval from the perspective of a young artist.

Third, given the tremendous global interest in the work of modern and contemporary African artists since the past decade, and given that only few close studies, and high quality reproductions of the work of individual artists exist, this book constitutes an exemplary publication, that will surely be of interest to the widening stakeholders in this growing field.

Finally, an perhaps most important, the sketches and drawings presented in this book are powerful, extraordinary and profound images that bear testimony to the making of an artistic genius whose reputation—substantial as it is in the context of twentieth-century Nigerian art—will certainly continue to grow internationally. Teachers and students of drawing and painting will appreciate Udechukwu’s

accomplishments in the mastery of line, space and design; General readers will see the images presented here as a rare and unique opportunity to encounter a brilliant artist at a most intimate level. They also will find a beautifully produced book with drawings of an incredibly accomplished artist and one of the leading figures in modern and contemporary African art. This book, hopefully, sets a new standard in the monographic publications on Nigerian and African artists.

The publication of Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text has been generously supported by the Ford Foundation, and Princeton University.

The public presentation will take place at 5:00PM on March 21 at the African Artists Foundation, 3B Isiola Oyekan, Off Adeleke Adedoyin, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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The Art of Nigerian Women
Presented recently at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, The Art of Nigerian Women  is a book that was announced with the opening of Standing Out II, an art exhibition that featured works by ten female artists of Nigerian descent.

 The preview was chaired by Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and attended by many personalities of the Lagos art community who commended the exhibition and book. 
 The Art of Nigerian Women is a 360 page hardback book printed on silk paper, featuring the work of seventy five leading and emerging contemporary visual artists  -- some of Nigeria’s brightest. Complementing the artists’ works are scholarly essays, features and profiles of women who have influenced and helped shape the art industry in Nigeria.

  Prof dele jegede, noted art historian, renowned artist and Professor Emeritus of Miami University praised the book in his essay: “This is a pioneering work, one that deserves a prominent place on the shelves of corporate, institutional, college, and personal libraries. Bosah deserves admiration for the courage and resources ploughed into this work.”
  But “The journey of researching, writing, and publishing The Art of Nigerian Women has been a labour of love which started in 2011,” explained Bosah.
 “The Art of Nigerian Women is a testament to the awesome “rising tide” of female artists in Nigeria, represented by Standing Out II,”  Mbanefo Obiago of SMO Contemporary Art, the Wheatbaker’s long standing art curator.

  “Chukwuemeka Bosah’s book celebrating female artists is a timely gift to Africa and the world,” said Chief Nike Okundaye, who has mentored generations of female artists, and won international awards for her ground breaking work in teaching art to marginalized women in Nigeria and Europe. “We are delighted that the powerful work of our female artists is being projected in this beautiful publication.”
 The public launch of the book was held few hours later at Nike Art Gallery, where the all female art exhibition -   curated by the Nigerian Federation of Female Artists - opened for one week.
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How Rising Nigerian-British author, Oyeyemi Picked PEN Award
Nigerian-British writer, Helen Oyeyemi, 33, has won PEN Award for her short-story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. Oyeyemi will formally collect the award at a ceremony on Mar. 27.
The PEN America Open Book Award is granted to "an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2016,"  with a $5,000 prize.

  Oyeyemi's What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours was one of 10 titles selected for the PEN Open Book Award longlist in December last year.

 Other PEN recipients of the year include Angela Ajayi, Laura Chow Reeve, and Ben Shattuck.

  Oyeyemi's latest book, the story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, was released in 2016.    

  Oyeyemi's bio: born on December 10, 1984, she wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, during her A-levels at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, U.K.

at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, where she studied social and political sciences  Oyeyemi's two plays, Juniper's Whitening and Victimese, were performed by fellow students. The plays got critical acclaim and subsequently published by Methuen.

 In 2007 Bloomsbury published Oyeyemi's second novel, The Opposite House, which is inspired by Cuban mythology.  Her third novel, White is for Witching, described as having "roots in Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe", was published by Picador in May 2009. A fourth novel, Mr Fox, was published by Picador in June 2011, and a fifth, Boy, Snow, Bird, in 2014.

  Her novel White Is For Witching  in 2009, was Shirley Jackson Award finalist, but won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award. In 2009 Oyeyemi was recognized as one of the women on Venus Zine's "25 under 25" list. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. Boy, Snow, Bird was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2014. Oyeyemi was a judge on the Booktrust Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for 2015,and served as a judge for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
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Buchi Emecheta (1944-2017), a Nigerian novelist who lifted women
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, the world lost one of the finest writers that emerged from African literary space, novelist Buchi Emecheta. She passed away in her sleep, aged 72, at her care home in London.
Buchi Emecheta (1944-2017


Few of her 20 works include Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979).
 
Born in Lagos, 1944, Emecheta moved to England in 1960 with her husband Sylvester Onwordi, to whom she had been engaged from the age of 11. The author’s personal life is as interesting as some of the stories she has fictionalised. For example, in her 1974 autobiography Second Class Citizen READ MORE.
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 Three finalists Go For Etisalat Literature Prize


Jacqui L’Ange (South Africa), The Seed Thief (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa); Jowhor Ile, (Nigeria) And After Many Days (Kachifo Limited, Nigeria); Julie Iromuanya (Nigeria) Mr & Mrs Doctor (Coffee House Press, USA) are the three finalists for Etisalat Literature Prize 2016.

  The authors were shortlisted by a three-member panel, which comprises of Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila who is the Chair; South African writer/activist, Elinor Sisulu; and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate, Edwige Renée Dro.

  The winner for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be unveiled at the Grand Finale in Lagos, scheduled to take place in March 2017.
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Etisalat Prize for Literature list
The 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature shortlist:

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (Coffee House Press, USA), The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo (PanMacmillan, South Africa), Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure (Blackbird Books imprint of Jacana Media, SA), The Peculiars by Jen Thorpe (Penguin Random House, USA), Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John (Cassava Republic, Nigeria), And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile (Farafina an imprint of Kachifo Limited, Nigeria), Dub Steps by Andrew Miller (Jacana Media, South Africa), The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa) and Nwezelenga: The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni (Black Bird Books Imprint of Jacana Media, South Africa).
  The list was announced by Helon Habila, chair of the judging panel of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature. The list, it was stated, more here. -------------------------------------------------------------
 Onobrakpeya... Unveiling Visual Storyteller Of Agbarha-Otor
By Tajudeen Sowole
Master printmaker, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya is, arguably, the most documented living legend artist in this part of the world. Adding to the list of books that have, in the past, either celebrated the artist or highlighted his artworks, is The Storyteller Of Agbarha-Otor Bruce Onobrakpeya's Visual Tales, written by Dozie Igweze.
Cover of the book

  A 228-page hardcover, published by Hourglass Gallery, the book takes off without the regular openers such as Foreword or Introduction, but rather goes straight into the incubation of the subject. Onobrakpeya, according to the opening topic, Eragumire, under Meetings and Conferences,   learned storytelling in verbal form- as a ten-year-old- before his visual artistry germinated uunder formal education. But the book, perhaps, sub-consciously sneaks into what the artist's periods, from post-training time look like.

 Three and a half decades after listening to storytelling as a young boy, Onobrakpeya MORE HERE.
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Soyinka Is 'Captain Blud' Of A Comic Book
By Tajudeen Sowole

 A new comic publication, The Adventures Of Captain Blud, which depicts Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka as lead character or 'hero' brings freshness into celebration of values. In fact, Captain Blud promotes courage and self-esteem, particularly against imperial tendency. 
Cover of the book.

 Across generations, popular comics such as Superman, Batman, Incredible Hulk, among other characters from the western culture have promoted violence and shaped wrong values under the guise of entertainment, even beyond the spaces of origin. But Captain Blud is heading towards a different direction of civility, yet with excitement.
  Illustrated in digitally-generated paintings and dramatised with over 300 frames, this, Soyinka
 READ MORE.
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Chairman, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Advisory Board Prof. Ayo Banjo, announced Abubakar Ibrahim’s book Season of Crimson Blossoms, as the best work in 2016.

Ibrahim beat two other finalists Elnathan John ('Born On A Tuesday') and Chika Unigwe ('Night Dancer').
Abubakar Ibrahim

Ibrahim, a journalist and editor of Arts and Ideas page at Daily Trust on Sunday, stated: "What I wanted to do was to, in a way, drag this part of the country that has been absent in the body of Nigerian literature into the mainstream. That was my major goal. Because there's no way you can tell the Nigerian story if it is not balanced and hasn't been for decades. We have had stories from the south about the south and nothing about the north, so the narrative isn't balanced. So something has to be done instead of sitting down and complaining.”

Before the shortlist, 173 authors participated in the competition, said the Prize’s Advisory Board.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2005 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2005, poetry), Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto (co-winner, 2005, poetry); Ahmed Yerima (2006, drama) for his classic, Hard Ground;  Mabel Segun (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) with her book, My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008, prose); Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who clinched the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock; Chika Unigwe (2012 – prose), with her novel, On Black Sister’s Street; Tade Ipadeola (2013; Poetry) with his collection of poems, Sahara Testaments and Sam Ukala (2014;Drama) with Iredi War.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. 
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 Mastery of photographer, Ojeikere in a new book
 By Tajudeen Sowole
When a new book simply titled J D Okhai Ojeikere, edited by Bisi Silva was launched recently at Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos, masterly skill of the late photographer was celebrated. Ojeikere (1930  - 2013) died as one of the foremost African photographers whose work was widely revered across the world.  
Cover of the book.
Reviewing the book before a modest audience attendance, renowned photographer, Tam Fiofori who has a personal experience to share about Ojeikere could not but inject some revelations into his presentation. Also, Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago who gave a Remark at the launch described the book as setting READ MORE.
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Exposing Complexity, Tragic Events of Ife Art
Title: Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power and Identity, c. 1300
Author: Suzanne Preston Blier

Publisher: Cambridge University Press, UK

Year: 2015

ISBN: 9781107021662 (Hardback)

Price: £70 (US$115) 

  
By Tajudeen Sowole 
(Published in The Guardian Nigeria, Sunday, August 30, 2015)
 Between archaeologists and historians, ancient Ife cultural objects appear to have become so complex such that scientific and literary sources hardly find a common ground, so suggests a new book, Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power and Identity, c. 1300, written by Suzanne Preston Blier.

Cover of the book
  A Cambridge University Press publication, the 574-page book is enriched with photographs of iconic Ife objects, graphic illustrations in plates of textures of some of the sculptures as well as maps that animate changes in political and trade routes from the 1300 (circa) starting point of the subject till modern period.

  The author, a professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, U.S. anchors her Ife findings on the city’s identity as a centre of knowledge in Yoruba ancient civilization. Blier distils the city's history and cultural values as vital factors from which she raises quite a number of issues in the works of some noteable archaeologists MORE.
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 'Postcolonial Modernism'...Okeke-Agulu Probes Heart Of Nigerian Art 

 By Tajudeen Sowole
As short as the period of Nigerian modern art is, the post-independence era is full of much energy, suggesting that the emerging contemporary art scene of the country is less colourful. And that quite a number of books, fora and other outlets of academia or intellectual leanings have devoted so much space to Nigerian modernity confirms the towering posture of the period.

Cover of Postcolonial Modernism
In fact, the Nigerian modern art period is a wide subject that requires segmentations, so suggests a new book, Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria, authored by Chika Okeke-Agulu, Associate Professor at the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Centre for African American Studies, Princeton University, U.S.  Okeke-Agulu's postcolonial-focus of Nigerian modern art, in this book, most likely, would inspire future writers to explore the vast areas ofMORE.

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Unfolding ‘rich reality’ in Lagos Private Collection
By Tajudeen Sowole
 

Although, it highlights the vibrancy of art collecting in Lagos, a new book on contemporary art, however challenges “expectation” and may provoke debates, even beyond its areas of thematic engagement.

PRESENTED at the Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos, the book titled, Contemporary Nigerian Art in Lagos Private Collections captures exciting culture of art collecting.
  More importantly, the 302-page hardcover, which documents works of over 90 artists in the collections of over 35 patrons, can be regarded as a unique book on arts collection in Nigeria.
  Edited by a Lagos-based Spanish architect and art critic, Jess Castellote and published by Bookcraft, with sponsorship by art patron, Sammy Olagbaju, the book MORE.
 
Sponsor of the book, Chief Sammy Olagbaju (left), Guest of Honour, His Royal Highness, Nnaemeka A. Achebe, CFR, the Obi of Onitsha during the public presentation in Lagos… recently...


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Conversations with Fakeye... keeping master carver's legacy alive

By Tajudeen Sowole
Steadily, the modern and contemporary Nigerian art space is escaping from the shackles of inadequate documentation, so suggests recent increase in the number of books being published in the country as art patron, Prince Yemisi Shyllon adds a new one, revisiting late carver, Lamidi Olonade Fakeye.

Royal fathers, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Commissioner for Tourism and Intergovernmental Relationship, Mr Disun Holloway represented Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola
By Tajudeen Sowole
Steadily, the modern and contemporary Nigerian art space is escaping from the shackles of inadequate documentation, so suggests recent increase in the number of books being published in the country as art patron, Prince Yemisi Shyllon adds a new one, revisiting late carver, Lamidi Olonade Fakeye.


  Recently presented at Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos Island, the book, titled more here.

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Making History… romance of art scholar, collector with native content 

 By Tajudeen Sowole 

Traditional African art may be unattractive to some collectors at home (Nigeria) and abroad, but a scholarly experimentation through a collaboration between Femi Akinsanya African Art Collection (FAAAC) and Sylvetser-Ogbechi-led Aachron Knowledge Systems, may open a new vista to traditional art appreciation.

FAAAC's collection of Olowe door

  LAST week, the Sandra Obiago-led art initiative, The Collectors’ Series, formally presented the art historian Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie’s latest book, Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art. The presentation at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, was accompanied by a salon exhibition under the theme, Making History: The Femi Akinsanya African Art Collection.

  Published by 5 Continents Editions, an Italy-based publisher of African art subject, and launched MORE.



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For Onobrakpeya's Masks of the Flaming Arrows, jegede converges art scholars
By Tajudeen Sowole
Despite being regarded as the most-documented living Nigerian artist, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya keeps expanding the literary appreciation as another book Masks of the Flaming Arrows converges some of the top names in the art academia to appropriate the artist's career of over five decades.

                                                                    Cover of the book

Edited by Prof dele jegede, supported by Ford Foundation as well as Development Alternatives and Resource Centre, the, MORE HERE.
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'Sandbank City' …preserving heritage of an unwilling Lagos
By Tajudeen Sowole
Although, the new book, Sandbank City: Lagos at 150, chronicles colonial and post-independence eras, but the complexity of preserving the city’s heritage is more pronounced in the work authored by Prof John Godwin (OFR OBE) and Gillian Hopwood (MFR).

 Cover of the book Sandbank City: Lagos at 150

PRESENTED yesterday at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos, Godwin and Hopwood's book is, no doubt, a comprehensive documentation that may become a reference point in today’s management of a city in transition. More importantly, in a mono economy environment such as Nigeria's, which is largely built on oil revenue, the place of More here. 

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Remembering, Undressing Saro-Wiwa… Maja-Pearce’s literary outburst 
By Tajudeen Sowole
(First published on Tuesday, 27 December, 2005 14:37
Adewale Maja-Pearce
POST-late environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa appears like a paradox being spear-headed by his immediate constituency – the literary community.
  If author, Prof Femi Ojo-Ade, in his book Ken Saro-Wiwa: A Bio-critical Study, (1999) attempted to place the late Ogoni activist naked before the village square, another writer, Adewale Maja-Pearce in his latest effort, Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Other Essays, New Gong Books (2005), continues where MORE. 

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