I. Twenty-three writer-people googling each other before they arrive for ten days of reading and writing at a beautiful waterside hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.
II. Emails of short stories, of creative non-fiction pieces, of links to Wikipedia pages.
IV. An excellent reception from Okey Adichie — the man with the warmest smile; making Kenechi Uzor’s acquaintance, sharing a hug with Enajite Emuyufuaye.
V. Meeting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the first time. Reminding yourself to breathe. Hearing you’re in a safe space, amongst kin, within your tribe. Unbuckling your shield. Viewing the humanity of fellow tribe folks. Taking first notes: It isn’t unusual to feel self-doubt. Writing comes from a flawed place.
VI. Writing exercises.
VII. Being charged by Aslak Sira Myhre to affect his life through your writing, to affect the world, to tell your truth, to go where it hurts, to go where it matters. Taking second notes: What isn’t written isn’t part of the world. Normal is good enough.
VIII. Writing exercises. Emails. Writing exercises. Emails. Reading. Reading. Reading.
IX. Making friends. Debating Michael Okpanachi over cigarettes. Listening to Umar Turaki talk film. Realizing Ifeoluwa Nihinola has an editor’s eye and Ama Diaka should make audiobooks.
X. Emails. Reading. Reading. Reading.
XI. Lectures from prolific writer-man Binyavanga Wainana. A study into the work of Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu. Short stories on gender and sexuality inspired by Mutu’s otherworldly collages.
XII. Emails. Reading. Emails. Reading. Emails.
XIII. Taking more notes: Trust your reader. Refrain from creating self-congratulatory pieces. Read the classics. Know the rules, then you can break them. Animate your stories.
XIV. Karaoke with the tribe. Laughter. Dance. Beer.
XV. Taking a nap while the tribe goes hyper-creative and makes a short film.
XVI. Pep talk from Kenechi Uzor on the business of writing.
XVII. A chatter on speculative fiction. Mazi Chiagozie Nwonu making a case for African sci-fi, for Afrofuturism. Taking side notes: Science fiction ignites creativity in its consumers. The science is mere the props. Stories are inevitably about the workings of our collective humanity.
XVIII. Writing exercises.
XIX. Singing the birthday song to Nneoma Ike-Njoku. Selfies, no… usfies with Chinaza Ezeoke, Chika Onwuasoanya, Chinaza Attamah, Ifeoluwa Nihinlola, Umar Turaki, Funmi Unuajefe, Aishat Abiri, Chioma Okolo, Chisom Sunny-Eduputa, Akintunde Aiki, Pamela Naaki Tetteh, Ige Abimbola, Lesley Agams, Miracle Adebayo, Ama Diaka, Aoiri Obaigbo, Kunle Ologunro, Fatima Mohammed, Grace Saleh, Munachim Amah.
XX. Emails. Reading. Reading. Reading.
XXI. Two Eghosa Imaseun classes. Perfecting dialogue. Uncovering the not-so-obvious mistakes in fiction writing. Rewriting the prologue to the Da Vinci Code. A lesson on how to submit one’s manuscript.
XXII. Emails. Writing exercises.
XXII. A discourse on the possibility of an MFA program in an African university. Quizzing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on her American election story. Taking notes: Research is the backbone of fiction writing. The more dramatic your story is, the less dramatic the language should be.
XXIV. A grand literary evening at the Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island. An Efe-Paul Azino performance. A treasured certificate. An after-party with the tribe. Pictures. Autographs. Photo-bombs. A private movie screening of the tribe’s ingenuity, then of Umar Turaki’s production. An after-after party.
XXV. Farewells that only mean the birth of lifetime friendships. Story ideas. Essay ideas. Film ideas. A learning-space one is grateful for. The evaporation of uncertainty. A newness and a solemn resolve: My normal is good enough.
About the Author:
Nnamdi Anyadu grew up in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. He is a reader and film enthusiast who writes short fiction and poetry. Someday soon, he hopes to travel the world, for now he is content with traveling around his country. @The_Africanist