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The novelist and LGBTQ activist Unoma Azuah has called for submissions for a queer anthology of Nigerian poetry. The project is titled Mounting the Moon: Queer Nigerian Love Poems. Her co-curator for the project is Michelle Omas.

The first Nigerian to have her writing centered on the queer experience, Unoma Azuah’s work—including the novels Sky-High Flames and Edible Bones—have garnered her the 2006 Urban Spectrum National Best Novel of the Year, the 2006 Association of Nigerian Authors/Flora Nwapa Award for Fiction, the 2011 Aidoo-Snyder Book Award, and the Hellman-Hammett Award. In 2016, she edited the groundbreaking anthology Blessed Body: Secret Lives of LGBT Nigerians. Currently she is professor of creative writing at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago.

Here is the call for submission she made on her Facebook page.

*

Nigeria is at a crossroads. Since the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act was first proposed in 2006 and especially after its passage into law in 2014, debates over sexual and gender rights have reached a level of intensity never seen before. Homophobia and transphobia have erupted in the public sphere, and threats and attacks against LGBT writers, activists, as well as anyone suspected of being “deviant,” have skyrocketed. At the same time, demands for respect and equality have also intensified, and in spite of the dangers, LGBT activist groups have sprung up almost everywhere in the country. Celebrities and community leaders are speaking up for the rights of LGBTQ citizens, bloggers are fighting misinformation and sharing news, and creative writers are increasingly tackling LGBT themes openly and sympathetically.

Homophobia and transphobia have not only tried to render the Nigerian LGBT community invisible, they have also tried to erase it physically. However, the suppression of the community will not succeed if we keep asserting our presence. In addition to organizing and lobbying, therefore, we have to write our invisibility into visibility. We have to write our own stories. As Chinua Achebe said, “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” In the face of all the hate around us, we must celebrate the reality and beauty of our lives, which are hinged on love. Nigeria boasts Africa’s largest and most vibrant literary scene, but until now our LGBT writers have largely been silenced. It is time to begin making our voices heard.

This project is focused on highlighting the positive aspects of being a Queer Nigerian, as a gesture to remind us of who we are and to provide comfort at this most dangerous and volatile time in our history when we are being hunted and dehumanized, our bodies broken, our history denied. This book of Queer Nigerian love poems is our response. We will not be cowed. We are here. We have always been here. We are human. We love. We live. We will survive. This book is our love chant to ward off evil. This project is a ray of sunlight and positivity to brighten up the lives of people being persecuted for who and how they love.

As a start we are gathering together some of the best new LGBT-themed Nigerian poetry for publication in the first print anthology of its kind to appear anywhere in Africa. We call for poems of Nigerian queer love, queer identity, and queer struggle: poems that validate us, poems that show we exist in our fullness and in our love.

  1. Submissions are welcome in English and/or Pidgin English on any theme relevant to LGBT life and rights in Nigeria or the Nigerian Diaspora.
  2. Poems can be in any form and any length up to a maximum of 200 lines.
  3. Authors may submit as many individual works as they wish.
  4. Please include a brief bio (max. 150 words) with each submission.
  5. Please submit your work by September 15th, 2017 to queernaijalovepoems@gmail.com.

This is a very necessary project and Brittle Paper is one hundred percent in support of it.

*****

NOTE: Brittle Paper has no stake in this project. Further enquiries should be directed to the anthology’s email: queernaijalovepoems@gmail.com.

 

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Opportunity for Nigerian Poets | Submit to Mounting the Moon Anthology of Queer Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Atanda Obatolu 2017/07/17 at 09:33 #

    It reads ‘submit your work by September 15, 2017…’
    Does that mean submissions before that time will be ignored?

Leave a Reply

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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