On the 2nd of August, the finest of Nigeria’s literati were hobnobbing at the Quintessence Bookstore in Falomo, Ikoyi. They were gathered for the official book launch of Eghosa Imasuen’s sophomore novel, Fine Boys. The book launch was hosted by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and featured the Caine Prize winning writer Binyavanga Wainaina who read from his debut non-fiction book, One Day I Will Write About This Place.
Among those who attended the event were Igoni Barrett, author of From Caves of Rotten Teeth, Jude Dibia, author of Walking with Shadows and Unbridled, Ayodele Olofintuade, whose children’s book, Eno’s Story, was shortlisted for the NLNG literature prize, writer and Nollywood Producer Uduak Isong Oguamanam, Elnathan John, whose ‘How to…’ series in the Daily Times newspaper has earned him a cult following, Dutch writer and journalist Femke van Zeijl, Chimeka Garricks, author of Tomorrow Died Yesterday and many others.
In the almost typical Nigerian fashion, the event which was scheduled to start at 2.00pm did not start on time. Ms. Adichie was late and so wait, we did, for the event could not start without the host. However, the sight of Tolu Ogunlesi’s legs in his baggy shorts provided a good talking point. Tolu was the compere for the event and his dexterous manoeuvrings ensured that the event, once started, progressed smoothly.
Spoken word performer, Efe Paul Azino, thrilled the audience with his powerful and heartfelt poetic renditions. Chimeka Garricks did a review of Fine Boys, highlighting its strong points and stating that the book spoke to him because it also told his own story and moved him to tears. He ended his review by saying to its author Eghosa Imasuen, “Guy, you sabi write sha.”
Eghosa Imasuen, looking dapper in a crested blazer, read from Fine Boys and deftly addressed questions on how he came about the idea for the book and the writing and publishing process. Binyavanga Wainaina was engaging and funny when the spotlight was on him. He had the audience eating out of his palms. By the way, the audience was a dream for any author. They were interactive, asking intelligent questions and providing interesting commentary.
The ambience of the event was very good. Quintessence had a good range of books on display for sale, and there were interesting portraits, photographs and pieces of art to enthrall those who visited. Unfortunately, the room provided for the book launch was too small for the large turnout of interested book/art lovers who turned up, leaving most people standing and sandwiched at the back of the room, with quite a bit of spillover outside.
All in all, it was quite a lovely and enjoyable event.
Ayodele Morocco-Clarke teaches environmental law at Lagos State University and is the editor-in-chief of Critical Literature Review.
All images are courtesy of Emmanuel Seun Oyeleke and Nosa Imasuen.