In 2017, Goethe-Institut, Saraba and Bakwa announced a Cameroon-Nigeria literary exchange program. The result of the program, “the fruit of a series of workshops and mentorships,” is an anthology by the two magazines: Limbe to Lagos: Nonfiction from Cameroon and Nigeria.
Edited by Bakwa founding editor Dzekashu MacViban and Saraba founding editors Dami Ajayi and Emmanuel Iduma, the collection features new writing by Adams Adeosun, Afope Ojo, Caleb Ajinomoh, Godwin Luba, Howard M-B Maximus, Lucia Edafioka, Nkiacha Atemnkeng, Raoul Djimeli, Sada Malumfashi, and Socrates Mbamalu.
From the Introduction:
Our technique for the Exchange Project was to find similarities that were untethered to artificial constructs like borders on the African continent. The conversation about the geographical proximity of Nigeria and Cameroon is a trite one belied by rivalry that spans from the Bakassi Pennisula to the now-famed African Nations’ Cup final match between the two countries in 2000. Cross-cultural engagements are incredulously scanty; it is baffling that only a few hours by the waterway will take you from Calabar to Tiko.
Besides publishing theme-specific issues of our literary magazine, the Saraba Manuscript Prize was launched in 2015 as an attempt to give Nigerian writers an opportunity to develop manuscript-length work. Our decision to focus on both fiction and non-fiction was greeted with mixed response. While there was a resounding engagement with the fiction, obvious from the large amount of manuscripts we received, our slush pile lacked quality non-fiction submissions. After extending the deadline, we still received a paltry amount of non-fiction submissions. Unrelenting, we commissioned five longform nonfiction essays after a call for pitches. But our charge was still at large: most of the manuscripts were in need of serious work.
In this regard, the Limbe-Lagos Literary Exchange enabled Saraba and Bakwa to engage non-fiction writing in a practical, pan-African manner. Our intention was to nurture a new crop of writers with promise from both Cameroon and Nigeria, expose them to the possibilities of non-fiction in the most hands-on manner through travel, workshop and mentorship. At the end of our project, we hoped that the participating writers would have travelled (the Cameroonians to Nigeria and vice versa), learnt how to engage with the possibilities of writing non-fiction in a practicable and sustainable manner, and produced an original piece of writing to be anthologized.
Here is a compendium of keepsakes from writers whose foray into the landscape of the mind is a compelling signpost to formidable writing. Here are stories that are not only true because they happened but because they are windows that open into our contemporary African existence. Here are stories that obsess about the self, about relationships erotic and complex, about defunct corporations, about affection, and about the endless things that ramify into shared humanity.
At the moment, the anthology is available for sale only in Nigeria and Cameroon. For purchase in Nigeria, visit or contact:
- Patabah Books: B18, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, Adeniran Ogunsanya St, Surulere, Lagos
- Terra Kulture Book store: 1376 Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island, Lagos
- Ouida Books: 3C Oba Dosunmu Bookshop, Ikeja GRA
- TheBookDealerNG (0810 255 0106), for nationwide delivery.
- Alaroro Books (0816 168 3920)
In Cameroon, please contact [email protected].
See photos from the anthology launch HERE.