Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cassava Republic to Host Christmas Fair

Cassava Republic hosts Christmas Fair - Abuja, Nigeria -  Saturday December 10,  2 - 6 pm. 

If you’re looking for unique, affordable African-inspired gifts for the festive period, why not stop by the Abuja Arts and Crafts Village this weekend. Cassava Republic Press will be organising a Christmas fair at its new bookshop/gallery at No. 62b in the Arts and Craft Village, opposite the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, 10th of December from 2- 6 pm.

The fair will boast a bazaar featuring a wide variety of local goods - from pottery to Ankara bags and Batik quilts - for sale. Kids will be treated to an afternoon of storytelling and art tutorials.

In addition, we will be offering a special holiday discount of 10% on selected bundles of our titles. These easily affordable bundles will come wrapped in a trademark Cassava Republic wrapping paper or tied with cheerful Ankara cloth to give them a unique, festive touch.

Attendance for the fair is free and open to the public. It will be a fun day of shopping and exhibitions, showcasing the best of Nigerian talent. Best of all, it’ll be a great chance to check out the Cassava Republic Gallery and Bookshop, our new retail space in the heart of Abuja.

We offer great titles from all over the global south as well as a relaxing place to view paintings and photography from some of the undiscovered gems of Nigerian art. Make sure to come and grab some of our Nigerian and African authored books. We can’t wait to see you there!

About Us

Cassava Republic is an Abuja-based independent book publisher. The company publishes high-quality fiction and non-fiction for adults, teens and children and is passionately committed to ensuring that engaging and beautifully made books are made available to the Nigerian market. We are also committed to promoting both a reading and a writing culture in Nigeria and West Africa.

Cassava Republic Press was founded in 2006. We are one of the leading new publishers on the continent. In 2008, the influential design magazine Monocles, named us as one of the brands worldwide to look out for. We have among our authors Orange Prize winners, Commonwealth and Caine Prize winners.

For vendors and businesses interested in a stand, registration is still open. For more information, contact info@cassavarepublic.biz or call: 0809 831 3250.

Monday, 21 November 2011

On Piracy and Publishing in Nigeria

By Folarin Olaniyi of Emotion Press, Nigeria
I was at Ondo recently for my annual vacation. As a bookaholic, one of those places I visited was a bookshop not far from the Oba Osemawe's palace.The shop attendant was less receptive to my gentlemanly greeting. He peered at me and my shopping bag, as if I will steal some of his pencils or one, two, three of his educational books.
         
' Do you have fiction?'
' Wetin?'
'Fiction?'
'Mister man, I no understand wetin you dey say.'
'Oh, I mean do you have novels or plays in your stock?'
'Stock? Is that not a novel, because I no understand stock fiction?'
He pointed his finger to an angle in his medium sized shop. And there I saw a copy of Ngugi's Weep Not, Child. It was pirated. 'How much?' I looked at the first page of the book, and it was inscribed: N200. ' Na N300.' I switched to pidgin, for the first time since the start of this conversation.
'No be N200 you write for the book?'
'Bring money.'
I handed him a 200 Naira note and demanded for a receipt. He was totally transformed, it was in his shaking voice I firstly discovered this.
'No receipt!' Silence invaded the bookshop. And then I laughed from the depth of my stomach. He joined me in this harvest of laughter. 'You dey fear?' I asked, just back from laughter land.

Our writers write day, noon and night, hopeful that their words will make a way for them. They will survive the hassles of getting the right publisher that would be faithful to the creative art of packaging words. Quite disheartening will it be for them,when discovery will show it that some uneducated rascals are the ones reaping the fruits of their labour. The pirates are people like us. They fart, urinate and even laugh. Only some divides make them pirates. Most of them are uneducated and do not know the great influence writers have on their worlds. Some of them are educated but blinded and therefore turned ignoramus by their greed and desperate thirst for a better living. For the easy-way-out!

The pirates drain our resources. They call us fools. We the lovers of literature. We the future. The pirates  turn our books to automated teller machine. They transmogrify our packaged words to bank vaults, which they can manipulate for their monetary gains. And they are the Anini, Osama Bin Laden or Boko Haram of the publishing industry. They know the act of pirating is illegal. And they are aware of the fact that they are literally killing the book industry. Afraid of the sanctions from authorities like Nigerian Copyright Commission? YES. That is why the bookshop attendant could not issue a receipt. We need to ginger the pirate's fear for duplicating our books. Publishers, writers, critics, readers and buyers of books, must resolve to fight piracy. The pirates dread us. They need us to help them catalyze that fear for pirating to inestimable heights. Let us all refuse to buy pirated books and report suspected pirates to the nearest Nigerian Copyright Commission office. The commission should respond quickly to petitions; they should bring their offices closer to lovers and buyers of books. Publishers should DRAG books closer to readers. Publishing outfits should encourage reading as an habit, and sponsor events dedicated towards this cause. One of those events, The Emotion Book Party is a bi-annual literary event dedicated towards celebrating books and it is hosted by Emotion Press. Government and corporate organizations should make funds available to upcoming publishing outfits. Nigeria needs more than five hundred publishing outfits to cater for our yearly upsurge in writing talents. Grants should also be provided for writers that wants to write full time. An enlightenment campaign against piracy, involving workshops on the dangers of piracy targeted at sellers, readers and buyers of books, must be kick started by individuals and organizations.

Folarin Olaniyi is Managing Editor at Emotion Press and The Coordinator of The Emotion Book club, Ibadan. Check out the emotion press blog at omojojolobooks.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Lara Daniels, Romance Author


            Please tell readers about yourself
I’ll have to start off by saying “Thank you” for the wonderful opportunity to be here. It’s a real honour. My pen name is Lara Daniels, and I’m an African romance writer with a penchant for writing romantic suspense. Although I’ve completed four books now, I’ve published two titled, “Love in Paradise” and “Love at Dawn”. Both are part of my Da-Silva Romance series.  Besides being a writer, I’m also a Registered Nurse, a wife and a mom to three children who ensure that my days are never boring.    

When did you start to write?
I began writing in secondary school, and it became more serious when I entered Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) back in Nigeria.  Back then, I’d write short love stories and post it on the walls of the female Dorms. However, I never really thought of writing as a career until August 2009 when I published my first novel.

Who were your writing influences/heroes?
They are many and varied in terms of the genre they write. When it comes to Romantic fiction, Lisa Kleypas is by far my biggest influence. Although she writes other subgenre of romance, her major focus is historical romance. The fluidity of her stories makes me want to pick up a laptop and start typing away. Besides Lisa, I have other literary heroes and they don’t necessarily write romance. African writers such as Ola Rotimi and his classic, “The gods are not to be blamed” comes to mind. The popular 1980’s Pacesetters series, (remember them?), also influenced me to write suspense.  

So much has happened in the African romance genre recently and with new writers coming up, it is easy for the media to overlook quiet trailblazers like you. Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer of Modern African Romance (in the 21st century)?
I’m honoured that you’d refer to me as a trailblazer and a modern African romance pioneer. But the sad fact is, modern African romance is still in its infancy stage in terms of concept and the African romance writer remains the underdog in romantic fiction simply because many people do not perceive Africa as a continent where Romance is experienced. An agent once told me that I’d have a hard time selling my idea of contemporary African romantic fiction because it was set in Lagos. She basically told me that the idea wasn’t believable. Because of her remarks, I was forced to change the setting of my first two novels to fictional countries – and even then, it still didn’t fly. 

As with every new idea, African romance is faced with huge challenges, one of which is being recognized as a viable genre. But with recent breakthroughs such as Koru Taye’s African romance historical and even well written self published contemporary works by Myne Whitman, I feel confident that African romance is already on the edge of an explosive advancement into the literary world. I’m also ecstatic about the recent formation of the Romance Writers of West Africa (RWoWA) that houses brilliant West African romance writers (both published and unpublished). It’s truly satisfying to be a part of the ongoing epic move and I find myself basking in the joy of it. 

Tell us about your current book?
My current book, Love at Dawn was originally published in 2010. It has gone through a couple of revisions after its initial publication. Love at Dawn is a romantic suspense set in Zamzudan, a fictional African country. The novel centers on the theme of Love, forgiveness and redemption and its major characters are Tory Da-Silva - a bubbly young woman who falls in love with a cynical and broody multi-tasking Lawyer -Rashad Macaulay. The novel is divided into three parts with the first part introducing the reader to the mysterious Love-hate relationship between Tory and Rashad. It’s not until the second and third parts that the reader fully understands the reason for the complex relationship between the two major characters. In love at Dawn, I also try to highlight some of the issues faced in some African countries, such as rampant poverty, poor healthcare and corrupt governments. 



Why should readers buy this book and where can they get it?
Readers should buy my book because of its uniqueness, in that while it concludes happily like all romantic fiction, it also touches on forbidden and controversial topics in Africa such as paedophilia and abortion, which ultimately makes it an engaging and highly suspenseful read.

One philosophy of life or mantra that you hold to be true?
That’s easy. “It’s very nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”

What are your thoughts on e-book revolution and self publishing?
I’m mostly cautious. On one part, I’m happy that the advent of eBooks will make it easier for writers to get published with little to no cost. And with many printing presses now offering all sorts of incentives to have writers publish their works at competitive prices, Writers don’t have to go through the harrowing experience of repeated rejections by agents and the big publishing houses for them to  get published.  Then there’s the power of social networking such as facebooking and twitter. Publicising one’s book has never been easier than it is now for the self publisher.  That said, my biggest concern is that this trend may result in the mass production of books that have mediocre quality. I’d hate to see this happen, because good books are necessary to enlighten one’s minds and positively influence one’s perception in an ever changing world. But what happens if good books cease to exist? I find myself cringing at the thought.

Advice to aspiring writers?
Writing is a beautiful craft and should be nurtured like all crafts. So do whatever you have to do to hone it–and that includes reading. Read, read and read – then Write!

Please give us a snippet of what are you currently working on?
I recently completed two books a month apart from each other titled “Love’s Prescription” and “The officer’s Bride.”
Love’s prescription was actually long listed in the  2011 Amazon’s breakthrough novel award and is on queue for publication by Ankara press in Nigeria. In love’s prescription, the heroine, Uche Unigwe is a medical doctor who comes from humble origins and has had to work very hard to have a successful career in upscale Victoria Island in Lagos city. She meets an enigmatic man called Ola whom she is deeply attracted to. Ola is mega successful, but like all the characters in my other books, Ola has a dark secret that could very well destroy his new relationship with Uche.
 
The officer’s bride on the other hand borrows a lot from non-fiction for its plot. Although the characters are fictitious, the back story is not. The novel spans the five years of the dictatorial rule of Nigeria’s General Sani Abacha. Its major characters are Zainab - a spirited young woman who falls in love with Eddy, a broody and powerful Military Officer who also happens to be a top member of the Nigerian Intelligence service, the SSS. Eddy is knee deep in a mysterious activity that has the potential of toppling the whole country. Since this is a blurb, I dare not divulge any more specifics about what Eddy is up to. You’ll have to read the book when it gets published.

Lara, it’s been a pleasure chatting to you. I have not met you in person but your humble spirit is truly inspiring. Thank you for your patience with me as this chat has been a long time in the works. Lara's books can be found on Amazon.



Introducing Book Republic - Emotion Press

Book Republic is a Nigerian literary blog established by Emotion Press. It is basically dedicated towards promoting the reading culture in Nigeria. In our creative way, as usual, we plan to write on both old and new books and other things that matter in the Nigerian literary scene.

Every forth night, from January 2012, we will be hosting a Guest writer. The Guest writer series will feature essays and interviews by the writer.
The Book Republic blog is www.progresspublishing.wordpress.com

As Emotion Press' two releases - The Man In The Moon and The Grasshopper Race - will be out In December, the first ten followers of the blog will be given the electronic copy of those books free of charge! They will be the first ten people to read the books. You can follow the blog by visiting www.progresspublishing.wordpress.com and enter your name and e-mail on the given space.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Introducing Adura's Eyes

Adura's Eyes...I SEE in Words

Dear Readers,
Lately this blog has gone off in an interesting direction to say the least. *Insert mischief inspired laughter*
So I've decided to open up another blog for my own work. (Blogging was never meant to be a full time hobby...God help me!). I want this blog to retain its original aim which is to showcase and review the work of African Writers and Writers of African Origin living in diaspora. I may be absent here for some time due to some writing commitments and may not post as often but I will do my best to post once or twice a month for now. It may well be that posting would be more regular in the form of guest bloggers and writers. We'll see what happens. It's all very exciting.

Wish me well and please stay with me on both journeys as writer as well as reviewer. I would also encourage readers to please follow me on Adura's Eyes. More poetry and the occasional prose can be found there from now on. I've put my literary pieces including also those at Naijalines on Adura's Eyes. Naijalines would of course remain a personal blog. Thank you so much for your support and feedback as we continue the journey together.

Blessings as always,

Adura

***Previous Poems/prose would remain here for a while as I make the transition to Adura's Eyes.