Last saturday gave us a whole new set of reasons to love Lagos and its amazing literary community.

When the news came a few days ago that Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina had suffered a stroke, [read here if you missed it], Lola Shoneyin, Victor Ehikhamenor, Toni Kan, and others swung into action and launched the #naija4binyavanga fundraising event.

The even took place at Freedom Park. Proceeds from books sold and artwork auctioned went  towards Binyavanga’s treatment.

The event was a success. Binyavanga’s fans, readers, friends, and colleagues came out to celebrate him, his work, and support the fund. Specially designed copies of Adichie’s Americanah were also auctioned. Ozoz of Kitchen Butterfly curated a savory menu of delicious food that was also up for sale.

Dami Ajayi, Kathleen Ndongmo, Kolawole Arogundade, Mazi Nwonwu, Eghosa Imasuen, Uduak Isong, and many others were there doing readings and conducting auction sales.

In response to our inquiry, Shoneyin has this to say about what inspired the fundraising event.

Binyavanga has been with us every year since Ake Festival started in 2013. He brings fabulous color and conversation. Apart from missing his hugs and kisses, a lot people were looking forward to seeing him because he is so generous with advice and support. Binyavanga gives a lot of himself and has helped to nurture hoards of Nigerian writers. Naturally, We were greatly saddened to hear that he was unwell and wanted to do something to help raise the money required to get him the best medical treatment. After the festival, I spoke to Toni kan and Victor Ehikhamenor about organizing a fundraiser and they both sprung into action. At the event last Saturday, Efe Paul Azino said, “Nigerians want Binyavanga back, smiling, laughing, talking.” Never have truer words been spoken. So far, we’ve raised N725,343, €180 and $2460. Our target is $10,000 and we’ve been impressed by the support we’ve received from Nigerians. That’s love. We can’t wait to see him at Ake Festival in 2016.

If you ever doubted that there is such a thing as a transnational African literary community, hope this changes your mind.

Click here for information on how to donate to Binyavanga’s medical fund. Nigeria-based supporters should click here.

Here are a few photos and videos I sourced from Twitter.

Video of Muhtah Bakare, Binyavanga’s Nigerian publisher celebrating the author.

Video of Lola Shoneyin auctioning off Adichie’s Americanah.

Video of Kolawole Arogundade auctioning off a book.

naija4binyavanga18 naija4binyavanga17 naija4binyavanga16
naija4binyavanga14 naija4binyavanga13 naija4binyavanga12 naija4binyavanga11 naija4binyavanga10 naija4binyavanga9 naija4binyavanga8 naija4binyavanga7 naija4binyavanga6 naija4binyavanga5
naija4binyavanga3 naija4binyavanga2 naija4binyavanga1

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “That’s Love! | Lagos Literary Community Troop Out to Raise Funds for Binyavanga’s Treatment” Subscribe

  1. Honiilols 2015/12/02 at 12:42 am #

    There is a thing called brotherly love and this right here it is. God bless everyone who turned up, who supported from afar, even the ones that merely encouraged.

    Hope this effort goes a long way in achieving the sound health we so desire for Wainaina.

  2. Chiziterem 2015/12/02 at 3:24 pm #

    This is love. I’m inspired.

  3. Ainehi Edoro 2015/12/02 at 3:53 pm #

    Yes. Endlessly inspiring!

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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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