Monday, 16 November 2009

Book Trek: When literature goes Hiking

Heralded on its eve by an 8pm talkshow on 91.1 Lion FM, -with Eghosa Imasuen and Onyeka Nwelue as guests- the Nsukka Book Trek began at 11:30am on Saturday,the 7th of Nvwember, 2009 at the Faculty of Arts Boardroom, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, instead of the much publicized eleven. Silk-voiced Lorenzo Menakaya of the aforenamed radio station kicked off proceedings by reading the address of the unavoidably absent Toyin Akinosho, secretary-general of cultural watchdog and organizers of the event, Committee for Relevant Art,CORA.
Enfant-terrible of Nigerian literature, Onyeka Nwelue read from his book, The Abyssinian Boy and then it was the turn of Eghosa Imasuen who followed suit with his To Saint Patrick. An interactive session with the audience -that quite encouragingly filled three-quarters of the hall- followed.
There was a second reading session where both authors participated. Afterwards, a member of the Drumline Media Crew, Drumline’s Small Talk columnist, Macdonald Ugonna Ukah, read some pages from The Abyssinian Boy. It was a portion where magical realism was the central theme. So, it set the tone for a second Q&A session. Imasuen read from a part in his book -scene of a cabinet meeting- that drew laughter from the audience, especially at the line that described a character, MKO Abiola, talking and simultaneously munching on doughnuts. Nwelue read again. Imasuen too.
Lorenzo moderated all the interactive sessions, lacing the periods with his legendary quips, especially during the last. Members of the audience asked both authors questions about their books and the subject of writing in general. Imasuen answered in his trademark pidgin-sliced-into-English, pausing intermittently to either snack on a prawn cracker or chocolate bar or sip from his can of chilled Amstel Malta; Nwelue in his unique geeky pose.
The highlight of the event was the reading of the story, ‘The Geenrator:I Better Pass My Neighbour’, an Eghosa Imasuen short story during the workshop session. The bpurpose was to portray the tips and suggestions he’d earlier on given with respect to manuscript and story development and it was a near-perfect example. There was no single paragrap[h that wasn’t hilarious and reflective of the gospel of causality he was preaching.
The trek ended at 4;24pm, a little over an hour past the supposed end-time but attendees were too immersed in the autograph-cum-snapshoot session that ended it to even notice.
And as everyone left to go take their delayed lunches after pumping the hand of Drumline Media personnel present, there was a smile on each of their faces.
Eromo Egbejule is a student of the University of Nigeria and editor of a campus newspaper, Drumline which collaborated with Committee for Relevant Art, CORA in organizing the Nsukka Book Trek. He has a blog and is currently working on his first novel.

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