At the Goethe Institut this evening, to attend the monthly Author Interaction there, there were drinks, and brilliant artists from various fields chatting, arguing, and sharing anecdotes and opinions on each other’s works. This is the whole purpose of the event, it turns out. Poet and novelist Lola Shoneyin, journalist and artist Victor Ehikamenor, journalist and writer Sam Umukoro, and poet and author Kume Ozoro, all sat and read from their works while fielding questions from the very interactive, attentive, active, and articulate audience.
Lola Shoneyin is the author of the famous novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, and an evergreen book of feminist poetry So All the While I Was Sitting on an Egg. Victor Ehikamenor is the author of Excuse Me! a collection of anecdotes previously published at 234Next newspapers, and the artist behind Amusing the Muse, an exhibition of drawings and paintings, on till May 31. Sam Umukoro, who worked previously with the Guardian, is the publisher of a website devoted to interviewing famous Nigerian writers, celebrities, and newsmakers. He has also published a book (whose name I have now shamelessly forgotten). The fourth guest, Kume Ozoro, is the author of a collection of private love poems.
Met also, for the first time, a few people with whom I have interacted over the social media for months, and even years. Deji Toye is one of those brilliant rascals, present in most of every cerebral gathering in Lagos, vocal and engaging in each of them sometimes to be mistaken for the host, and effacing enough to miraculously evade capture at crucial moments after the show for a short aside conversation. Until today. An affable man. I also had a chance encounter with Marc, the director of the Institut who sat around through the event and paid great attention to everything going on, sometimes gesticulating to the host to move it forward whenever the subject began to dwell too long on a controversial point. Then, there was Gbemisola, a loyal reader of the blog who surprisingly was able to recognize me out of a crowd, to my pleasant surprise. I also met Sola, a graduate of Theatre at the University of Ibadan who invited me to come see a few of his live theatre workshop/performances in Ikeja which takes place once every month. I intend to, sometime.
With writer/columnist Bayo Olupohunda much later around Ikoyi, among defiant spirits of the Bogobiri club, dreadlocks woven taut on a couple of heads, we chatted for hours with Swedish journalist Erik Esbjörnsson in town to research the portrayal of women in Nollywood movies – an interest of both himself and Mr. Olupohunda. We talked Nairobi, Uppsala, Eldoret, Germany, and Iowa, beers flowing around the warm glow of the club insides. It is “Marley Day” in Lagos, although, curiously, none of the sounds from the muffled bar speakers played Raggae. Outside, painted on the fences and gate in colourful motifs of the street, are the colours of Lagos, and scrap metals that wear visual arts like fancy clothes. I could as well have been in Fela’s famous Africa Shrine.
It’s night now, and I’m back home, in the arms of Mrs. Tubosun, where I rightly belong.