writivism

Socrates Mbamalu, a participant at the Lagos Writivism workshop, wrote on his Facebook page: “Thank you Writivism Cace for the three-day powerful literary revival.”

I’ll follow suite and say that the revival was indeed reviving. We revisited most of the rules of writing that some of us held dear and learnt how to throw them all in the bin. Suffice it to say that we learnt how to break rules. But we also learned how to create.

I have had the honor of being selected to attend this workshop an unprecedented two times in two years! Yes two frigging times. Tolu is going places!

My experience in the previous year was not entirely positive. From the rigors of the travel down to Abuja to the sludge house where I passed the night, the experience was stressful. Thankfully, the workshop blasted the sadness from my heart.

The major highlight of this year’s workshop was, for me, the daily delicacies we enjoyed, provided by Dami Ajayi, author of Clinical Blues. I also enjoyed the class exercises that Ukamaka Olisakwe made us do. They were often impromptu exercises, and it was hard to stop myself from fearing that I may have written something that wasn’t deep or sensible enough.

I remember the beauty of the Q-dance studio. I remember the delightful tingle on Kate Ekanem’s face, the smile on Basit Jamiu’s face, the unnerving look of Socrates Mbamalu, the dispelling smile of Opeyemi Adeola, the over-sabi questions of Vivian Ogbonna, Gbolahan Badmus’s nerdy smirk, the intense intellectual conversations that Uzoma Ihejerika had with Dami Ajayi, the romantic appeal that enshrouded Ronke Adeleke. I remember the almost invisible Chika Chimezie and the naughty but forming Chidinma Ogaranma. There was also the beautiful Adebola Rolayo and her entrancing voice. I remember saying to myself, as she closed the workshop that Sunday afternoon: there was a beautiful writer, with a beautiful voice, her boyfriend must be very lucky.

Observe more and experience more and watch how the words would almost jump out of your head to beg you to write them down. This is paraphrasing Qudus Onikeku, one of the facilitators of the workshop. It’s one of those statements that you hear and never forget.

At the end of the workshop, I felt ready to face the world. I’d learnt how to break the rules more, how to observe more and read more, Yes read!

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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  1. Vol. 1 Brooklyn | Morning Bites: Laurie Penny’s Advice, Chloe Caldwell Interviewed, Alissa Nutting Fiction, Jenny Zhang and Monica McClure, and More - 2015/02/11

    […] At Brittle Paper: scenes from the Lagos Writivism Workshop. […]

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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