Sunday, 26 August 2012

An evening with Farafina


I've mentioned on this blog before how much I absolutely love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Well what I didn't mention is, I also love anything Farafina related. For the past 4 years Farafina has organised an annual creative writing workshop sponsored by Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc, with Chimamanda Ngozi adichie as the main facilitator. I've always wanted to attend the workshop, but time hasn't permitted to submit any piece of writing. Besides I need to polish my writing so that when I do make a submission I stand the chance of getting selected...No one likes being

After the workshop, a literary evening is always organized which is open to the general public.

This year's workshop began on the 14th of August and ended yesterday 24th of August with the literary evening. I was opportune to attend the Literary Evening and I was/am still ecstatic. It was my first time of attending and I totally loved it.

Armed with the two most important things to me at that time- my camera and my copy of Chimamanda's book, 'The Thing Around Your Neck' (Half of a Yellow Sun is too big to fit into the pouch bag I carried along and Purple Hibiscus was stacked up somewhere amongst my other books far away from my reach), I made my way to the venue, Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The event was billed to start at 5pm, so I was quite nervous when I still hadn't reached the venue at 15 minutes to 6pm. Finally at a little after 6pm I got to the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotel and Suites, so sure I had missed all the fun. I was so wrong. There was a cocktail going on, and according to the usher I spoke to at the entrance, after the cocktail, the main event was to start at 6pm. I was so happy.

I took a seat happily and in no time the event was due to start. I spotted Chimamanda coming in and I immediately took a shot of her as she exchanged pleasantries with a few people. It felt good to see my mentor for real in real

Muhtar Bakare (Farafina Trust), Chimamanda and Nicolaas Vervelde, MD/CEO NB Plc...Guess who's seated right there in front

 The M.C of the day was Iretiola Doyle of Oge with Ireti fame or more recently Tinsel (where she acts as 'Sheila')

First off was a short speech by Muhtar Bakare of Farafina Trust. Then was the presentation of certificates to the participants of this year's edition of the workshop. On introducing each participant, Chimamanda told us a bit about them and what she felt about their writing.

with the participants
After the presentation of certificates to the participants, the other three facilitators of the workshop, Binyavanga Wainaina, Jeff Allen and Rob Spillman, sat with Chimamanda on the stage. The former two read from their work after which they all engaged in conversation.

Couldn't get a better shot
Binyavanga read an excerpt from his book, 'One day I will write about this place' and the audience was in stitches as he read from it all too comically. I was forced to purchase a copy for myself at the end of the evening.
The Kenyan print version

Questions and contributions were entertained from the audience; ranging from 'What is African writing.....'?, to 'Why do you think Nigerians don't read.......'?, etc, then a bit of misguided criticism or more of a sheer display of ignorance that got what it deserved...Silence..., and lastly a valid contribution by Odia Ofemum, renowned poet and writer.

It was a blissful evening

The high point of it all was when Onyeka Onwenu took to the stage (yes, you guessed right) and got us shaking our bodies (including me, who doesn't dance in to her rich music. She sure knows her art well. 32 years of experience no be beans.

She loves dancing oh
Chimamanda joined her and they sang beautifully in Igbo


Chimamanda autographing my copy of her book
I had so much fun. I didn't want to leave but I had to because it was running really late.

It would sound so cliche, but I'll still say "You guys missed" Anyways I'll encourage writers and basically lovers of literature to attend the Literary Evening next time.

I'm so trying out for the workshop next year and I hope you'll do too if you're interested.

Till then I'll leave you with advice from Chimamanda, "Keep reading and keep writing" and "Make sure you write the truth and nothing but the truth" (okay she didn't put that this way that was my major take home from the event in my own words.)

Thanks for stopping by
Always stay happy and optimistic....:)

*Update: Special thanks to my friend who helped with taking the last two photos, and other photos not shown here... you know yourself.. :)


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing the pictures. Pictures definitely speak louder than words. I would so love to see a video Chimamanda singing with Onyeka. Two generations of creativity.

    I see how you put the autographing of your book last! LOL! You saved the best for last :-)

    1. Yeah, you're welcome. Pictures definitely do.
      And I actually wanted to record a video of them singing, but well...

      Yeah, saved the best for last!!!

  2. I had no idea Chimamanda could sing. Coolness. I'm desperately craving a vacation becuase there are some books i have to get through, The thing around your neck inclusive.

    Seems all the fun things happen in lagos *pout*

    1. She sang pretty well.. Yeah you need to go on a vacation if that's what it will take

      Awww...pele... Will tell them to come to Ibadan next time *wink*

  3. Lovely pics, so sad I missed :(

    Where are your pics though?

    1. Thanks:). Yeah, you missed...

      About my In the picture of Chimamanda autographing my book, I was actually beside her. Did a bit of editing..

  4. Wow!!! This is really so great and I love the way you reported it with those pictures. This is absolutely beautiful! Meh... now I want to cry I missed such an event. Anyway, remember the literary group on WhatsApp I introduced to you? A member of the group who was there was updating us with pictures and words, somewhat of a live feed of the event. I will surely attend the next one. And I hope I make it as a participant next year too. Maybe we would finally meet then.

    By the way, you still haven't sent me the mail you promised to send soon. is the mail address

    1. Seems like the pictures are really head is swelling..
      Don't cry I can just imagine. Yeah, you should attend the next one and I hope we both make it as participants next year oh.. That will be good.

      The group sounds nice... Sorry for the delay in sending the mail. I did say I'd send it 'as soon as I can'...:)
      Will send the mail after this.

  5. it's obvious you enjoyed yourself and i love the way you write, one would think you're a journalist
    lovely blog btw..
    ff u already

    1. Hey rainbowlove!!... Yes oh, really enjoyed myself..
      Thank you so much!! Hmm, now I‘m feeling
      Thanks for stopping by and for following...:)
      Will run along to check your blog.

  6. Thanks for making me even more eager to attend


Feel free to leave a comment. You can't tell how much that encourages me :)