Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Issues I (top) and II (below) of Enkare Review.

Twenty-six hours ago, Enkare Review magazine released its first issue of 2019, styled the Inclusivity Issue. Within minutes, backlash brewed on social media. A short story in the issue by Jekwu Anyaegbuna—a short story which we have decided not to name or link—is told by an unapologetic paedophile and contains graphic description of children’s bodies and of sexual encounters between an adult and children. Throughout the story, which is filled with morally compromising sentences, the paedophile insists on the similarity of their affliction to queerness, even asking for an acronym in LGBTQ+.

Anyaegbuna, who shared the link on Facebook, stating that is “very offensive,” is clearly aiming for provocation. On Twitter, he called Enkare Review “fearless” and then “the boldest, most intelligent and the most resilient literary journal in the whole of Africa,” because they published the story.

http://

Members of the literary community have challenged the ethics and politics behind publishing a story that is child pornography, calling out Enkare Review, questioning their editorial decision.

http://

http://

http://

Some have accused Enkare Review of using controversy as a marketing strategy.

http://

You see what Enkare review did? I think it’s not about the art. It’s about publicity. It’s about marketing. I think they know controversy sells, that is why they’d accept that thing Jekwu Anyaegbuna wrote and publish it.

There is this claim about inclusion but this is not inclusion. You don’t equate paedophilia to homosexuality and call it inclusion. This is Nigeria, a country where members of the LGBTQ community are experiencing life threatening discrimination still and you now go to publish a story that drags paedophilia into the mix. No, it’s not inclusion. It’s adverse activism. It’s not art. It’s selfish marketing masquerading as meaningful art.

One more thing, the story is actually a non-spectacular disgusting over-reliance on the whole “sex sells” theory to make people interested in the work. Even if the idea was erotica, it was poorly delivered.

Romeo Oriogun has demanded that his poems be taken down from Enkare Review‘s website.

Even in the use of controversy for publicity, there is a clear line between intellectual provocation and the promotion of ethically ambiguous content, and it is saddening that Enkare Review has knowingly crossed this line. In using the words “Here at Enkare Review, we take sides” to introduce an issue themed Inclusivity, in using those words not as an allegiance to the plight of the oppressed but to inflammatorily include a short story in which not only the bodies of children but the moral struggles of LGBTQ+ people are battered for attention, a short story whose very title objectifies children, a short story in which every section is an inference that paedophilia is similar to queerness, editorial integrity has been compromised.

This short story and the efforts made to promote it—by Enkare Review and Jekwu Anyaegbuna—constitute both an active endangering of children and an emotional oppression of LGBTQ+ people. Its insistent equation of a crime with human nature, its non-logic that if paedophilia could be queerness and queerness happens with children then paedophilia should happen to children, its deletion of the probabilities of consent, the editors’ sensationalist Lolita-esque” comparison—a stretched comparison that cannot redeem fiction that is poorly conceived and poorly executed. Its narrator is not unreliable; its narrator is unapologetic.

It isn’t an act of fearlessness that widely-disproven, brazenly false premises with real-life repercussions, premises employed by advocates of homophobia, are being cheaply used to cause provocation. It isn’t an act of boldness that an intellectual institution has done this. It is a curious act of violence, a lack of understanding of cultural responsibility. Art can be used to stir up debate without morally compromising its creator and ethically compromising the publishing platform. We are greatly, greatly disappointed at the side that the editors of Enkare Review have taken.

Tags: ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Review: Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, The Serial Killer | The Ready Writers - May 1, 2019

    […] the African literary community discovered anew this week, writing about the taboo is a fine art. In the hands of an inexperienced or unskilled author, […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

July 10 | Sarah Ladipo Manyika Hosts Strive Masiyiwa on Conversations Across the Diaspora

July 10 _ Sarah Ladipo Manyika Hosts Strive Masiyiwas on Conversations Across the Diaspora

Sarah Ladipo Manyika, author of In Dependence (2008) and Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun (2016), has teamed up […]

Bernardine Evaristo Becomes First Black Writer to Win Author of the Year

Bernardine Evaristo Becomes First Black Writer to Win Author of the Year in the British Book Awards

  Bernardine Evaristo’s winning streak continues as she dominates two categories of the 2020 British Book Awards: Best Fiction Book […]

Apply for the 2020 Morland Writing Scholarship | £27,000 for Nonfiction, £18,000 Fiction

Apply for the 2020 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship

The Miles Morland Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Morland African Writing Scholarships. The awards offer a fiction […]

The Million Naira Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity | Here is How to Nominate Someone

The Million Naira Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity _ Here is How to Nominate Someone

Nominations for The Nigeria Prize for Difference & Diversity is officially open. The new prize, co-presented by digital media platform […]

This is Why I am Endowing a N1 Million Prize for Difference and Diversity in Nigeria | Chude Jideonwo

This is Why I am Endowing a N1 Million Prize for Difference and Diversity in Nigeria _ Chude Jideonwo (2)

Last year, I wrote a piece on CNN during Pride Month​—​a month set aside to celebrate sexual and gender diversity […]

Derek Owusu Awarded 2020 Desmond Elliot Prize

Derek Owusu Awarded 2020 Desmond Elliot Prize (1)

British author of Ghanaian heritage Derek Owusu has been awarded the 2020 Desmond Elliot Prize for his debut novel That […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.