Friday, 15 May 2015

News Alert: Call for Submissions Issue 18: The Crime Issue

Crime is part of everyday life, affecting us viscerally, contributing to the dynamic of our relations. The fear of theft, of assault, builds up walls we often do not see slowly rising up. In this issue, we hope to explore the intricacy of crime. Not as a news headline, or as sensationalism. Crime is the life we have been living, and we live.

Consider submitting poetry, genre fiction, literary fiction, essays, criticism—writing of any sort that helps articulate and problematize crime, lawlessness, even jurisprudence.

Our publications reflect and represent the best of emerging writing mainly from Nigeria, but also from the rest of the African continent. Our goal is to give emerging writers the opportunity of having their works published. “Emerging writers” is defined loosely, to spark useful dialogue—but we are interested in writers whose work show tremendous promise but have hardly been published in a major literary magazine.

Please submit via

Deadline: June 28, 2015.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

News Alert: The 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize

In 2015, we are calling for stories on the theme of Water.
Deadline 31 July. Submit to 
1st Prize R10 000
| 2nd Prize R2 000
| 3rd Prize R1 000
The Judges:
Billy Kahora
|Mary Watson
| Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Prize winners will also win an online creative writing course from All About Writing. 1st Prize Sponsor to be announced. 2nd Prize Sponsored by Books Live. 3rd Prize Sponsored by SSDA Staff.
Terms and conditions below:

Prize Sponsors
Terms and conditions of entry
1. Any African citizen or person part of the African diaspora, as well as persons residing permanently (granted permanent residence or similar) in any African country, may enter.

2. Writers of all ages are welcome to enter.

3. Only writers 18 and over are eligible to win cash prizes.

4. Writers may only submit one story for the competition. Repeat entries by the same writer will be disqualified.

5. Writers are welcome to submit stories in any fiction genre.

6. Stories must be between 3000 and 5000 words in length.

7. Stories must be submitted in English. While you are free to incorporate other languages into your story, the story must be able to be understood fully by its English content.

8. Stories must be submitted as a .doc (or similar) attachment to, subject line WATER, by 11:59pm CAT on 31 July 2015. Late entries or stories not attached in an appropriate manner will not be accepted.

9. To facilitate easy reading and judging, please format your stories according to the standard manuscript format stipulated below. Stories not formatted in this way are at the risk of being disqualified.

10. Stories must not have been previously published in any form or any format.

11. Simultaneous submissions are not welcome. Any story entered or published elsewhere during the course of judging or publication will be disqualified.

12. You are welcome to enter under a pseudonym or nom de plume, as long as you also include your real name along with your entry. (Guidelines on how to handle this in your entry can be found in the standard manuscript format below.)

13. All entries will be judged anonymously, i.e. with names removed.

14. The judges' decision is final.

15. By submitting a story the author attests that it is their own original work and grants non-exclusive global print and digital rights to Short Story Day
Africa; non-exclusive digital rights to Worldreader to publish individual stories on Worldreader Mobile; and non-exclusive global print and digital rights to Short Story Day Africa and BooksLive for publicity purposes.

16. By entering, the author agrees to allowing Short Short Story Day Africa to include their entry in an anthology should it be selected by the judges; and to working with editors to get their story publication ready.

17. We will not share your personal information with anyone. We will, however, add you to Short Story Day Africa mailing list for the sole purpose of informing you of next year’s event. Standard manuscript format
If you submit manuscripts to publishers or agents, you've probably come across the demand that you use “standard manuscript format” (or “SMF”) for your submissions. It isn't always spelled out what this means, however. Generally speaking, the term indicates that you should format your document with the following guidelines in mind:
Type your document, using a single, clear font, 12-point size, double-spaced. The easiest font to use is Times New Roman, or a similar serif font. Include your name and contact information at the top left of the first page. Put an accurate word count at the top right. Put the title of your story halfway down the page, centred, with a byline underneath. Start the story beneath that. If you write under a pseudonym, put that beneath the title – but remember to include your real name in the top left of the first page. Put your name, story title and the page number as a right-justified header on every subsequent page, in the format: Name/Title/Page Number. Generally, you can also just use a keyword from your title and not repeat the whole thing on each page. Left-justify your paragraphs. Ensure there is at least a 1 inch or 2 centimetre margin all the way around your text. This is to allow annotation to be written onto a printed copy. Indent each new paragraph by about 1/2 inch or 1 centimetre, except for the first line of the story or the first line of a new scene. Don’t insert extra lines between your paragraphs. A blank line indicates a new scene. Put the word “End” after the end of your text, centred, on its own line. If you are printing out your submission (rather than submitting it electronically), print on plain white paper, on only one side of each sheet. Don't staple your pages together or bind them in any way, but package them up well so that they won't get damaged and send them off. It’s always worth checking the exact requirements of any publication or competition you submit to, but if they don't specify any formatting requirements, or just say “standard manuscript format”, follow these guidelines. Click here for further details. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

News Alert

Good day, Lagosians. If you have not, I guess you have to do it now: revisit your schedule, to accommodate the 14th edition of the Nigeria International Book Fair. The 14th edition of the Nigeria International Book Fair is scheduled to hold from Monday, May 11 through Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Multi-purpose halls of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos state. Click Lagos International Book Fair for more details.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Generational Curse: A Bloody Superstition? Penetrating Damilola Yakubu’s Ireti

Not all stories I have read made me feel this way; very few did: I felt I had the penetrative power which logged me into the authorial privacy of Damilola while reading through his new short story Ireti—featured in the Survival (17th issue) of Saraba Magazine.

Ireti is the story of a young woman (Durosinmi) who suffers the pains of miscarriage allegedly attributed to a generational curse placed upon her family (Orimogunje) by her great grand-father’s adopted wife. All of them—the female children—will suffer this misfortune four times and only those who could dare or survive to try the fifth will have the joy of remaking themselves.

The reason for my feeling: I am very familiar with the traditional belief in generational curse, and stories woven around it. One of the most familiar grand narratives—from which I felt Damilola sourced his story—is this:

In the distant past, a wealthy man owned slaves punished a woman slave for getting pregnant by ensuring she was given ‘saltless’ meals throughout the pregnancy period and after  delivery. The slave, feeling humiliated, placed curse on the man’s generation of female children to suffer still-birth and other related misfortunes if they did not get similar degrading treatment. 

Nonetheless, the most impressive thing about  Ireti is how Damilola reworked the narrative to problematize the concept of generational curse; fit in the story with the theme of survival, and carefully eased himself out of falling into ‘nollywoodian stereotype’.

The curse? takes another direction in Durosinmi’s life. Instead of waiting for the fifth time to get her remake, it takes her just three times. The joy though doesn’t last long as the baby dies not long after his birth. Thus, Durosinmi’s dissimilar experience throws up a big question for Orimogunje family—and indeed every individual that believes in generational curse—to answer: this cyclical experience, is it really the case of generational curse or genetic inheritance?  
Nurudeen Lawal

Note: To read Ireti and other interesting stories and poems about survival, download the 17th (Survival) issue of SarabaMagazine here: