It was a great day for book lovers! Since yours practically consumes the stuff, I was on hand to listen to Lola Shoneyin, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Seye Oke, Joy Bewaji and Simi Dosekun read excerpts from their books, answer questions and socialise.
I was a tad late as I just found out about the event on twitter (I later discovered that I had received a text message that got lost somewhere in ether!) but I arrived as the proceedings were getting underway. The hall was relatively empty and with the African timing in force…I was one of the first on the scene. I arrived as Lola Shoneyin was taking her place on the panel; Prof Akachi and Seye Oke were already seated. A few minutes later Simi Dosekun and Joy Bewaji joined them.
Each author read from their work and the reading was as diverse as they come! Prof Akachi’s reading from Roses and Bullets was violently vivid, a rape of one of the novel’s protagonists. It took us to the era of Biafra and all its complexities. We were introduced to Ms Shoneyin’s favourite wife (Iya Femi), from the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Seye Oke gave us a glimpse of the heart-break awaiting the major female character in her book, A Time to Heal. Joy Bewaji completed the quorum and introduced us to a divorcee that left her husband as a result of abuse, as told from her neighbours perspectives; we know how that goes!
The authors infused life into them and gave a glimpse of some of their thoughts during the creative process. We were transported to the various realities and got under their skins for the short ten minutes allotted for the reading. It certainly piqued my interest and found me making furious calculations to discover how many books I would cart away.
Miss Dosekun opted not to read, preferring rather to answer questions instead. She gave us insight into how publishing houses may arrive at decisions that are purely business-related and the fact that publishing is not as lucrative as it might seem. The industry is faced with its fair share of piracy and illegal operators that pose a daunting challenge, with no easy solution in sight.
To say I enjoyed it immensely would be stating the obvious. However, this telling would not be complete if I did not regale you of my close encounter of the worst kind. Up close and too personally, I had the utter displeasure of a private viewing; the very unpleasant sight of a pair of boxers blatantly exposed and within three inches of my face! There was no way of escape…he was leaning and totally focused on taking photographs of the authors. Official matters could not be tampered with in a bid to spare me this ghastly sight. Thus, I had unrestricted access of seven full (excruciatingly slow!) minutes of perusing the army green, lined boxer shorts half-way down his butt. (The two views forced upon me can be found in the glimpses section of this blog under the titles fashion can get ugly and fashion can get ugly1.) It certainly reminded me that we have to take the smooth with the rough as it occurs in life!
I certainly did not miss the opportunity to take photographs, chat and generally rub shoulders with the literati. In all, two and a-half hours well spent discussing books, books and yet more books, sheer bliss! I was not remiss to enrich my library and purchase for myself the added (and continued) pleasure of more adventures with words.