Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Farafina Magazine's Visual Arts and Literature Event - The Lowdown

First of all, we have to say that here at Farafina, we are extremely humbled by the attendance and enthusiasm of those who came on Saturday. Thank you very much for showing up, with your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, with cameras and camcorders, with your willingness to listen and your patience at our technical mishaps, and for braving the traffic,and filling Bambuddha with an atmosphere of celebration, relaxation and good humour, we say thank you so much.

We recognized some of you from the equally vibrant 'Architecture of Demas Nwoko' launch on Thursday. We should do this more often!

Chiedu Ifeozo is going to go a long way, and his name will be remembered by all those who heard his beautiful poetry recitations. He also read out Tam Fiofori's lovely poem "Dahomey meets Benin" which introduced "Ghestapo's" solo photography exhibition.

Adolphus "Ghestapo" Opara's stunning black and white photos were then unveiled. The exhibition will be up for another week, during which time you can still view the images in Bambuddha and contact us if you are interested in buying one. Trust us, they are very beautiful - very collectible.

What followed was a succession of talks, discussions, audience interrogations(!), musical performances, and a lot of meeting of minds. Our thanks and good wishes to Timi Dakolo, whose silken tones and note-perfect delivery silenced the near-constant murmuring from the crowd, and to Jumoke Verissimo and Kafayat Quadri. Timi Dakolo is a true gentleman - he was thoroughly polite and professional, and we will be featuring him in depth very soon in Farafina Magazine. The man knows where he's going. Look out for his album too as soon as that drops.

The 2008 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature winner Nnedi Okorafor came with her beautiful daughter Anyaugo. The author of "Zahrah the Windseeker" was very engaging, intriguing too, almost shy but still every inch the writer, fascinated to be meeting and interacting with other writers in the house, and still full of curiosity about the art of writing, and particularly the science-fiction genre.

Eghosa Imasuen - is there nothing this man is capable of? The writer, whose first novel 'To Saint Patrick' debuted on the Farafina imprint earleir this year, set the tone for the event like a good comedian, putting the crowd at ease while deepening our understanding of his particular brand of "alternate history" fiction.

These were two very intriguing authors to see and hear in the flesh; the third was the elusive, elliptical and eminently absent Ben Okri. Luckily, Molara Wood, the lovely and very talented arts writer and journalist was able to record an exclusive and fascinating documentary interview with him. It was great to hear her talk before the screening. Welcome back to Nigeria, Molara Wood.

Those that stayed were able to buy the newest issue of Farafina magazine, Issue 15, subtitled Remapping Africanness, as well as a number of other Farafina books. Nnedi Okorafor, Eghosa Imasuen, and writers-in-the-audience such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Biyi Bandele and Toni Kan were all very friendly and approachable, signing books and chatting away with guests who persevered until the end.

We have to reserve a special mention for the management and staff at Bambuddha Restaurant. They were very hospitable and well-organized, and their 2-year old restaurant is still one of the most alluring spaces in Lagos. We like that natural light coming in from the skylight, and the eastern decor. If you haven't visited yet, you should do.

We'll be posting more photos in the coming days, and letting you know what we have planned for an encore very soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Telling Our Own Stories... from 2pm today

West Africa Idol's Winner Timi Dakolo was on STV's breakfast show with Adaure yesterday to talk about Farafina Magazine's Arts and Literature Event.

Thursday evening's launch of the new book from Farafina, 'The Architecture of Demas Nwoko' proved a great success. There was a great turnout, particularly from the architecture and design community.  Present were lots of press and journos, as well as stand-up comic Julius Agwu, Ugoma Ebilah of the couture house Zebra Living, Ambassador Segun Olusola, the renowned Nigerian artist Bruce Onabrakpeya, and also the 'big' man himself, Demas Nwoko. 

After a very enjoyable evening, many expressed an interest in Saturday's event and it is more than likely that most of them will be there.
Again, Farafina stylee, we have a big surprise for you today! But you have to be at Bambuddha at 2pm to discover what it is... 

By the way, we've been allowed a sneak preview of the crack photographer Adolphus "Ghestapo" Opara's pieces which will feature in the visual arts exhibition, and they should be very well received, we're sure. Bring your chequebook, and take home a future classic!

I can't help it, I have to divulge it, but you must not tell anyone o! So, here goes... our very own BIYI BANDELE and CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE will be in the crowd at Bambuddha...

So where else would you rather be?

A final point before we meet at Bambudhha... Remember this event is a FARAFINA MAGAZINE event, and so we hope that by the close of the event you will all have your copies of FARAFINA MAGAZINE clutched under your arm or tucked into your handbag. We also expect that you will buy copies (as gift items and also for yourself) of Nnedi Okorafor, Eghosa Imasuen, Jumoke Verissimo, Biyi Bandele and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's books to be autographed.

The leadup to the first Farafina Magazine Visual Arts and Literature Event has been exciting for all of us here at Farafina and the event won't be complete without YOU.

Here's wishing you happy holidays and lots of (reflective) enjoyment reading FARAFINA MAGAZINE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Publishing Milestone...

This evening at Terra Kulture (Victoria Island, Lagos), Farafina Books unveils one if its' most testing and accomplished projects, its first architectural monograph, and a celebration of one of Nigeria's most revered artists. 

Born in 1935, Demas Nwoko came through the College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria to become an inspirational and resourceful architect and designer.  "The Architecture of Demas Nwoko" is a testament to the dedication of the authors, John and Gillian Hopwood, as well as their publishers Farafina Books, to celebrating the life, skill, vision and art of this son of Idumuje Ugboko. 

Please be our guest at the event...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Three Days and Counting...

Tam Fiofori too...

Ace photographer and filmmaker, Tam Fiofori will give a poetry recital at the event to open Adolphus Opara's exhibition.

Bambuddha Beckons...

We would like to acknowledge Bambuddha's support for the Farafina event. The restaurant, whose style and cuisine draws on Asian, Mediterranean and South American influences, is strategically situated on Karimu Kotun in Victoria Island. The restaurant enjoys safety, convenience and prestige. The decor of the restaurant is visual art in itself, and as the description on the Bambuddha website states, "the fresh design and rich ambiance envelops guests upon entering Bambuddha".

Farafina magazine welcomes you to Bambuddha...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I am Memory (and Other Stories)

Our event gets more interesting: Jumoke Verissimo will be at the event and will read from her recently published book of poems, I AM MEMORY. And anybody who has ever seen Jumoke on stage knows that hers is a performance not to be missed!

The energy drink company RED BULL have announced their intention to energise attendees of the event, and Inspiro, organisers of the First International Lagos Jazz Festival and the Naijazz concert, have also announced their support of the Farafina magazine Visual Arts & Literature event.

All that remains to make this event one to remember is YOU!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Adolphus Opara is a visual artist / photojournalist who has been involved in a number of photography projects in Nigeria and around the world, with his favoured themes ranging from religion to portraiture. His work has appeared in publications such as Private, Timeout Nigeria, Lagos: City at Work and also on the BBC website. He was a third place winner in the first Photo Africa contest organised by the Andalusian Centre of Photography and Al Tarab in April 2008. He has a permanent exhibition at Bogobiri House in Lagos. Affectionately known by the wonderfully non-photographic handle, "Gestapo", Adolphus is also a nominee for the Future Awards Artist of the Year.

Some fine examples of his work...

Child's play at Sunset


Timi Dakolo, Winner of the Inaugural Idols West Africa, will Perform Live at the Event

The event is getting bigger and bigger...Timi Dakolo is going to be in the house!

Timi Dakolo
is the winner of the TV reality show Idols West Africa. Since winning Idols, Timi has performed at several high profile events like the 2008 African Movies Academy Awards, the grand finale of the 2008 season of The Apprentice Africa
and the Starville Concert alongside Lil' Kim, Amerie and Brick & Lace in 2007. Timi is currently working on his debut album expected to be released early in 2009.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Farafina Event Flyer

Farafina Magazine Visual Arts & Literature Event

Farafina magazine invites you to join us for our premiere Visual Arts & Literature event holding at Bambuddha Restaurant on the 13th of December, 2008 at 2p.m. There will be a photography exhibition (by Adolphus Opara), a film screening (selected clips from Molara Wood's interview with acclaimed writer, Ben Okri), spoken word performances, and readings by Nnedi Okorafor and Eghosa Imasuen.

Nnedi Okorafor is the author of the novels Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker. An illustrated version of Zahrah the Windseeker was published in July 2008 by Farafina. It won the 2008 Wole Soyinka prize for Literature. Visit Nnedi's blog:

Below is Nnedi's interview which was featured in issue 15 of Farafina magazine:

What time of the day do you write most?

The early morning.

What books are currently on your bedside table?

I Refuse to Die: My Journey for Freedom by Koigi wa Wamwere and a comic book series called Castle Waiting by Linda Medley.

What would you change about yourself?

Absolutely nothing. Not even my imperfections. I am what I am. Well, I wouldn’t mind my feet being the same size. One is a full size bigger than the other. Makes it hard to find shoes that fit. Ha ha.

What will you call your kind of writing—science fiction, magical realism or fantasy?

I call it mine. Categories annoy me. Too often, they are incorrect, incomplete and limiting. Editors and publishers call my work African fantasy and science fiction. Magical realism is just a subcategory of fantasy.

How does your writing influence your life?

It gives it purpose and focus. It’s often therapeutic. For example, when my father passed, I channeled all my pain into a novel. I literally started writing it right after he passed. That novel is the best and most painful thing I’ve written to date. I don’t know how I’d have gotten through that time without that novel to write.

What inspires your writing?

Everything. All people, incidents, beasts, creatures and things I encounter have a chance of making it into my stories. Honestly, this earth we live on is a grand inspiration.

How would you introduce your child to literature?

I read to her every night and whenever she wants me to read to her. I take her to the library and bookstore. I put books in her room. I talk about books. I teach her to read. And I buy her books. I make books seem more important and more magical than television and music.

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?

The director of Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy series, Guillermo del Toro. I swear he and I share part of the same mind, plus I hear he’s far from boring.

What is the worth of a book?

Books contain centuries and generations, yet can be carried around; they keep you up at night; they incite change, hilarity, tears, rage, joy; they bring things to life right behind your eyes; they show you death; they give you deep experience without having to leave your home; they affect children and adults; they can show you different planets and worlds; and they live on long after you are gone. Books are priceless.

Eghosa Imasuen
is a medical doctor and a writer. His first novel, To Saint Patrick, was published by Farafina in August 2008.

Below are excerpts from Eghosa's interview with Farafina magazine:

Have you ever bought a copy of your own book?

Yes o. I bought twenty copies to distribute to family and friends.

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?

Ben Elton. After watching his stuff on shows like Thin Blue Line and The Black Adder, and having read his wickedly witty novels, I'd love to speak to him, pick his brain, so to speak.

What time of the day do you write most?

Late at night, between 11 pm and 3 am.

What book did you enjoy reading most?

Ben Elton's Stark. You have to pick your way through its lines to find an unfunny sentence.

What are you scared of?

Not being understood. Losing family.

What book do you wish you had written?

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. Page after page of the most decievingly simple prose you can think of; not one wasted sentence. And its subject matter?

What would you change about yourself?

The colour of my hair. It takes on a golden sheen when it's overgrown. If I was an oyinbo I would have been a ginger.

How would you introduce your child to literature?

Already started it. The first of my twins loves books. They are just eight months old now but you should see the way Ethan chews through my books; literally chews o. With his two bottom teeth.

Have you ever imitated another writer's style?

That’s so difficult to answer. Have I read stuff I'd written and found that it sounded like
what I'd just read? Maybe. But consciously imitate? No.

Where does the writer and doctor in you meet?

When I take history from patients. They seem impressed that I can give voice to most of what they are feeling; that I seem to find the words that hang in the pauses between the, "Doctor, it's em . . ." and "No it was em . . ." phrases.

Who is your perfect reader?

One that comes to the story with an open mind, with an aim to enjoy what he reads; one that comes to be entertained.

What is the worth of a book?

The story it contains; the joy, the tears; the laughter . . . and the money you doled out for it.

What is the hardest thing to write about?