Sunday, 8 December 2019

Get Published Today!

HYBRID PUBLISHING

Printing and delivery of your book will cost between N550,000 to N650,000 (40,000 words manuscript and 1000 copies).

This might be difficult for some people, and that’s why we developed Hybrid Publishing. This option is a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. This option is mostly for those that can't afford our printing cost. This option will allow them to print elsewhere at cheaper rate, and still use our name and logo as publisher.

Requirement:
1. Before we give authorization for this option, the client must send their work, and we go through it to make sure it meets our standard.
2. After publishing elsewhere, 5-10 copies must be sent to us for marketing purpose. It can be sent through agent.

Benefits of Hybrid Publishing:
1. Authorization letter to use our name and logo on your work.
2. ISBN
3. Submission to book contests and awards like 9mobile Literary Contest and Caine Prize
4. Blog posts/interview.
5. SMS campaign. One page SMS will be sent to 3000 readers nationwide. You can provide us with up to 300 numbers as well.
6. Your profile and bookstores to get your book will be listed on our website.
7. 20-30 seconds video of short positive review of your work by one of our reviewers (Caucasian male/female, British/American accent).
COST: N85,000. (Ghana: C1,275).

For more information on our publishing options, kindly contact Black Tower Publishers.
http://blacktowerpublishers.com.ng/publishingoptions.html

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Why You Should Have Your Manuscript Edited



Writing is getting words onto the page, expressing your thoughts and ideas, creating a story. But the process also incorporates a stage often ignored by authors — editing.

The days when you sent a manuscript to a publisher expecting them to work with you are over. While publishers can do edits with an author, it all depends on the author to present their work in the best way it can reflect to the readers how serious they are about their writing.

Many authors, especially those not yet in the professional sphere, will be confident in their writing and not recognize the error in their manuscripts, which is one of the most important aspects of creating a successful novel.

Even the most successful authors in the world use multiple editors to refine their work in the best way.

In recent years it’s increasingly become the author’s job to be their own editor. Knowing you need an editor is half the battle, and making efforts to find the most professional editor for your work is all that’s left. Black Tower Publishers has years’ experience of helping authors shape their drafts into manuscripts that are ready to be published.

There are a number of stages in editing. The first and most important stage is the structural edit, where plot, story, character, pacing and voice will all be considered. This is the main area BlackTower Editors focus on. By working on these aspects first, it ensures the book as a whole is solid, entertaining, and appealing to the public. Therefore, this is where the author will spend most of their editing time. When this process is complete, an author might think about publishing their work.

Once the manuscript has been edited, the author might consider the secondary editorial process, which is proofreading. This is not compulsory, since Black Tower makes sure your manuscript is 99% error free. This secondary editorial process can be easily done by the author. It focuses on finding minor errors like typing mistakes.

For more information on editing services, kindly contact Black Tower Publishers.  

Friday, 11 October 2019

Why You Should Publish Online and Sell Thousands of eBooks.


Most Nigerian authors have been searching for publishing companies to help them publish their books. They expect the publishing houses to review their manuscripts and then offer them publishing contracts where the publishing house handles the cost of publishing the book. Well, as long as it’s in Nigeria, that might never happen because most publishing houses in Nigeria don’t operate that way. They can only offer contracts to well established writers like Chimamanda, Wole Soyinka or promising up and coming writers like Charles Umerie. These are people they think they can make profit off their books even if it didn’t sell well. Nobody wants to invest their money into an unknown author; and not just that, Nigerian literary business isn’t that hot for unknown authors to break the market just like unknown music artists do all the time. That’s the simple truth.

A lot of young authors have figured that out, and they don’t depend on publishing houses to give them contracts. Rather they resort to printing their own books. That’s a totally brave move, but very unwise. Unless you have people requesting your book before you print it, and also have a perfect channel to distribute it after publication, you shouldn’t think of wasting money by printing it.

Well, don’t be discouraged by this post because I have an amazing solution on how you can achieve your literary dreams. Have you heard of online publishing? Most people have, but if you haven’t, I think you should really pay attention.
Online publishing can be the answer to the problem young Nigerian authors face today. With online publishing, your book would be available for purchase worldwide! That’s one thing printing your book can’t give you. You can’t distribute it worldwide. And any author that doesn't have an online version of his book isn't a professional author.  

We live in an advanced age, and if you look around, you will notice that printed books are starting to lose value. Everything is read digitally these days. If you go to church, pastors are using iPad/tablets as bible. Even newspapers don’t sell that much again! Why purchase bulky papers when you can read them online- for FREE?!



That’s the world we live in, and writers should adapt too. My advice to them should be they should publish online first. When you publish online, and maybe you are lucky enough to break the internet with your online published work, you will notice how publishing houses would be calling day and night to publish your work because you have proved that your work worth the risk.
Now let’s talk about how you can publish online.

Publishing online is just like printing the book. Both of them are still read. That’s what most online publishers forget. They think since it’s free to publish online, they can treat their work anyhow and put it out for people to see; and still at the same time expecting to sell thousands of it. If you don’t prepare your online work professionally, it will never get anywhere. It would be available to the world, but only to be rejected by the world too.

With my research, it costs about N580,000 to print about 500 copies of your book, and still, most people won’t sell about 50 copies of that book. But do you realize that with just.. let’s say less than N30,000, you can have your book professionally published online? If you can handle the processes of publishing it yourself, starting from editing the manuscript, formatting it to kindle format or epub, designing the book cover and uploading it online, then you do it yourself. But if you can’t, I suggest you meet a professional to help you do it. There are a few publishing houses that help people publish online at a very cheap rate. Check www.blacktowerpublishers.com.ng and contact them.
After your work is available to the world, all you have to do then is promote. As a person, you have friends and families. Share the link to your book to them through Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, and also ask them to share with their friends and relatives too. Then connect with them and build yourself some fan base.

There are many platforms to publish your book online. They include Amazon Kindle, Lulu.com, Okadabooks etc. Amazon also offer print-on-demand. That is when people order a copy or copies of your book, they print the book and ship to the person. Amazon Kindle can be downloaded digitally, but that is mostly for international sellers. Most African countries (including Nigeria) can’t purchase kindle books on Amazon Kindle. But you can still publish there if you still wish sell to international audience that reads mostly kindle books. Then the best ones for Nigerians are Okadabooks and Lulu. Okadabooks is easier, and it has over 200,000 Nigerian readers on their site. Readers can easily purchase your eBook just by recharging their Okadabooks account with airtime. The minimum withdrawal limit on Okadabooks is N10,000, and you can withdraw straight to your local bank account. On Lulu people can easily buy your eBook with their ATM cards, download the book and then read it on their phone!

You can visit these sites and find which is best for you! Or contact www.blacktowerpublishers.com.ng and request how they can help you publish online. Good luck!


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Interview with Orezi Saint Emamezi

Over the years we've met a lot authors and other influential people, and today, we will be introducing Orezi Saint Emamezi.

Orezi Saint Emamezi


She's the founder of ELMORE CHRISTO KIDS CLUB. She said the club is a Christian kids' club for kids and teenagers. It is centered on raising kids up in the fear of the Lord, and making them believe in themselves through reading of books and learning new things.

Elmore Christo kids club 
Elmore has an English and French meaning. In English, it means ; 'river bank' or 'ridge'; while in French , it means 'noble' and 'famous'.

The vision of Elmore christo kids club is to keep kids impacting their generation for God. Our mission is to reach out to kids and help them discover their God given potentials.

Our strategies are empowerment programs that focus on 'yes, you can do it'. With God all things are possible.

She said, "I love kids. I am always inspired by their humility and gentleness. Ever since I was taking care of kids during Sunday school sessions in the church, I have been mentoring kids and helping them shape their character positively."

"My mission is to use 'Elmore Christo kids’ to continue mentoring kids and building their characters in order to change the world, making it a better place for the Glory of God.

It nice to have this chat with you.
Please can you share details of your background with us?

Orezi: I was born in the on 23rd of December, 1989, in Warri and hail from Ofagbe Isoko North Local Government, Delta State.  I attended classical International School Warri, Delta State. I love singing, reading, writing and listening to music.

Are you full time into the writing or business? Or do you have a day job or other businesses that you run?

Orezi: I am not a full time writer. I am still studying for my masters (LLm) at the Girne American University.

Please tell us what your writing is about.

Orezi: My writing is about teaching morals and inspiring the younger generations.

What prompted you to write your book?

Orezi: Actually, I was inspired to write 'Victoria' as a result of the quest for victory over life’s challenges.

When did you first notice you love to write?

Orezi: I will answer it this way; I noticed that I could write 8 years ago after I read 'The Purple Hibiscus' by Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie.

What are the obstacles you’ve faced as a writer and how were you able to overcome them?

Orezi: Some of the obstacles I faced while writing are: Noise pollution and the thoughts of the negative effects of piracy on my books. However, I was able to overcome them through the encouragement of family, and also remembering my message in the book, 'Victoria'.

You mentioned piracy. How do you think the government should combat piracy?

Orezi: Well, the government has made some laws like the Copyright Act to help discourage piracy, but the enforcement of these laws are poor. I think that to help writers from the perils of piracy, the government should through the copyrights commission, issue licenses to all publishing companies, and also keep register of all printers in Nigeria. Every book published or printed should bear the license number of registration number of the publisher or printer. This will help to check piracy.

Orezi Saint Emamezi
Orezi Saint Emamezi is the 2016 Girne American University faculty of Law Moot Court Competition First Price Group Winner.
She's also the 2016 African Students Grand Award for Uprising Entrepreneur.




Sunday, 17 March 2019

Why You Should Publish Online and Sell Thousands of eBooks.


Most Nigerian authors have been searching for publishing companies to help them publish their books. They expect the publishing houses to review their manuscripts and then offer them publishing contracts where the publishing house handles the cost of publishing the book. Well, as long as it’s in Nigeria, that might never happen because most publishing houses in Nigeria don’t operate that way. They can only offer contracts to well established writers like Chimamanda, Wole Soyinka or promising up and coming writers like Charles Umerie. These are people they think they can make profit off their books even if it didn’t sell well. Nobody wants to invest their money into an unknown author; and not just that, Nigerian literary business isn’t that hot for unknown authors to break the market just like unknown music artists do all the time. That’s the simple truth.

A lot of young authors have figured that out, and they don’t depend on publishing houses to give them contracts. Rather they resort to printing their own books. That’s a totally brave move, but very unwise. Unless you have people requesting your book before you print it, and also have a perfect channel to distribute it after publication, you shouldn’t think of wasting money by printing it.

Well, don’t be discouraged by this post because I have an amazing solution on how you can achieve your literary dreams. Have you heard of online publishing? Most people have, but if you haven’t, I think you should really pay attention.
Online publishing can be the answer to the problem young Nigerian authors face today. With online publishing, your book would be available for purchase worldwide! That’s one thing printing your book can’t give you. You can’t distribute it worldwide. And any author that doesn't have an online version of his book isn't a professional author.  

We live in an advanced age, and if you look around, you will notice that printed books are starting to lose value. Everything is read digitally these days. If you go to church, pastors are using iPad/tablets as bible. Even newspapers don’t sell that much again! Why purchase bulky papers when you can read them online- for FREE?!



That’s the world we live in, and writers should adapt too. My advice to them should be they should publish online first. When you publish online, and maybe you are lucky enough to break the internet with your online published work, you will notice how publishing houses would be calling day and night to publish your work because you have proved that your work worth the risk.
Now let’s talk about how you can publish online.

Publishing online is just like printing the book. Both of them are still read. That’s what most online publishers forget. They think since it’s free to publish online, they can treat their work anyhow and put it out for people to see; and still at the same time expecting to sell thousands of it. If you don’t prepare your online work professionally, it will never get anywhere. It would be available to the world, but only to be rejected by the world too.

With my research, it costs about N280,000 to print about 500 copies of your book, and still, most people won’t sell about 50 copies of that book. But do you realize that with just.. let’s say less than N30,000, you can have your book professionally published online? If you can handle the processes of publishing it yourself, starting from editing the manuscript, formatting it to kindle format or epub, designing the book cover and uploading it online, then you do it yourself. But if you can’t, I suggest you meet a professional to help you do it. There are a few publishing houses that help people publish online at a very cheap rate. Check www.blacktowerpublishers.com.ng and contact them.
After your work is available to the world, all you have to do then is promote. As a person, you have friends and families. Share the link to your book to them through Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, and also ask them to share with their friends and relatives too. Then connect with them and build yourself some fan base.

There are many platforms to publish your book online. They include Amazon Kindle, Lulu.com, Okadabooks etc. Amazon also offer print-on-demand. That is when people order a copy or copies of your book, they print the book and ship to the person. Amazon Kindle can be downloaded digitally, but that is mostly for international sellers. Most African countries (including Nigeria) can’t purchase kindle books on Amazon Kindle. But you can still publish there if you still wish sell to international audience that reads mostly kindle books. Then the best ones for Nigerians are Okadabooks and Lulu. Okadabooks is easier, and it has over 200,000 Nigerian readers on their site. Readers can easily purchase your eBook just by recharging their Okadabooks account with airtime. The minimum withdrawal limit on Okadabooks is N10,000, and you can withdraw straight to your local bank account. On Lulu people can easily buy your eBook with their ATM cards, download the book and then read it on their phone!

You can visit these sites and find which is best for you! Or contact www.blacktowerpublishers.com.ng and request how they can help you publish online. Good luck!


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Review: Across the Desert




Today I will be discussing Across the Desert by Charles Umerie. This book is not out yet, but I was privileged to read it. The author did an amazing job putting the story together. The book discusses feminism, religion and other social issues we face today. And the author did it within an intriguing story. This is not the type of book you will get tired of reading, because it’s totally something new. The culture and the people are not what we are used to, and you will definitely learn a lot reading this book.

It’s a historical fiction that took place in the 15th century. The author also painted a picture of how people in that era behaved, especially how they treated women. One of the things I learned from the book was that the empire this book was centered on was once the world’s supplier of gold. I also learned that someone from the empire discovered America 200 years before Christopher Columbus.

There are a lot of things to learn in this book, and it’s also a quick read. If you are really into Historical fiction and love movies like Troy or 300, this is a book for you.

That’s all I can share now about this book. Once it’s out, I will do a full review on it.

I advise you to follow @charlesumerie on Instagram and Twitter so you will know when this book is out. There might be some discounts, so don’t miss your chance.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

African literature, the english language and the nation – Part 3

 Image result for african literature
The fifth problem is associated with the ironic twist in an African writer condemning European values while employing an European language, which in itself is an European value item. This is probably what Sartre means when he says, “if he destroys it (French value, that is) in French, he poetizes already.” As Ulli Beier observed in 1957, the African writer’s work is “naturally concerned partly with a criticism and rejection of European values – and yet he has to use a European language to express the same rejection”. This may be a sweet twist but it has the deeper connotation of insufficiency, for curses are more efficacious if uttered in one’s own tongue!

Truth be told, the African writer who must earn respectable financial dividend from his/her writing would have to write in one of the major world languages, of which the English language is a prominent one. The world languages are largely European languages which offer a very wide market for a writer’s artistic works. The local languages, apart from being spoken by small populations, are in most cases yet to be developed. Moreover, those literate and committed to reading in the local languages are usually restricted groups. In a situation in which only two or three African writers at the moment may be able to sustain themselves on the proceeds from their writings, to further cut the market could be a drawback to their development as writers.

These burdens impede the writer’s work, but they also pose challenges to him/her. The issue of language is so crucial in African literature that more than fifty years after the debate on it started, it is yet to subside. In 1991 and 1992, two most prestigious African literary journals, African Literature Today No. 17 and Research in African Literatures Vol. 23, No. 1, devoted each of the respective editions to the language problems in African literary expression. This is to be expected since literature is essentially a by-product of language, the formalized representation of life through the crucible of imaginative thinking. To contend with the language question, a number of strategies and options have been advanced and practised by African writers and intellectuals: a new English as propagated by Chinua Achebe, a return to orality, a detour to the mother tongue and the experimentation with Pidgin English.

African Literature, the Nation and Liberation
More than one idea may be read from a literature and the nation. Homi Bhabha (1949 – ) recently popularized ‘nation’ as a critical site and challenges the Enlightenment conception of nationalism and nationality and questioned the possibility of an essentialist or universalist idea of the nation. This cannot be what we desire. ‘Nation’ is an aggregate of people, nay African people, desirous of physical and mental liberation in which development is a target. Thus this seems quite close to my notion of nation and liberation which refers to any deliberate attempt made to open a people’s eyes to both what is wrong with themselves and what is wrong with their society. Tied to liberation is development to which relevance is predicated My thinking of ‘national development’ is ‘growth’ in the mental and psychological attributes of the individuals who make up a society, and so ultimately engineer society’s growth. Consequently, to grow demands that we do so according to our personal and national capabilities, potentialities and endowments, needs and environments. In other words, in our drive to develop, we need not imitate a European man or woman of our age, nor should Nigeria strive to be England or Switzerland. We should grow according to our nature, and the nurture we receive, predicated on the preparation which our own circumstances have permitted us. A seed grows in consonance with its genesiology, the type of soil, space, sunshine and water available to it at the point of germination. An ube seed will never grow into an udara tree, nor would an ukwa seed turn out to be an iroko, no matter what is done or given to it.

Are African nations engaged in true development at the moment? My answer is few and far between. Instead of the Eldorado hoped for at independence some 60 years ago or thereabout, Africa is today bedevilled with a myriad of problems which makes the level of disillusionment Emmanuel Obiechina in 1976 observed inherent in the immediate post independence African novels (three of them) a mere child’s play. Since the late 1970s, African political economy has taken a massive nose-dive for the worse marked by decadent production structures, slump in investment – domestic and foreign – endemic inflation, poor balance of payments, absolute fall in living standards, governmental corruption and the breakdown of civil peace and order (Offiong 1980; Onimode 1983; Ake 1979 and 1985; Akpuru-Aja 1998 etc.). These have had their worsening impact on every facet of African life: distrust between segments of society (e.g. Fulani herdsmen); ethnic rivalry (being stoked in Nigeria, Kenya, the Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia etc. by those in leadership positions); lack of faith in policies (some of which are nepotistically churned out); the breeding of an unproductive moneyed class made possible by institutional failures and weak, uncommitted punishment system; decline in qualitative education; emergence of leaders who serve themselves and their ethnic groups rather than their nations; and a general lack of social and political will to engage eye-ball-to-eyeball any observed anomaly in the civic configuration with a view to exorcising it.

On the driving seat of this wagon of African woes are the African governing elite, busy doing the bidding of international capitalism with the intention to feather their private nests, the proceeds of which are usually lodged in foreign bank vaults. As a consequence, a low moral now pervades the current social and political climate of African discourse – both at home and among the African Diaspora. This pervading climate of doubt (aporia), this ‘season of anomy’ – to employ a famous Soyinka title – is no more than the result of a cumulative consequence which stretches “not only from the beginning of colonialism but also through and beyond it in the form of neo-colonialism and other guises by which the advantages of colonialism are retained to the disadvantage of the previously colonized”. A recognition of the reverse conditions for genuine development, the opposite of which we have just tried to admit, will ensure that we abandon ‘a faulty foundation’- to employ a popular Pentecostal cliché – and embrace a solid groundwork. It is from an underbuilding which recognises that “a seed grows in consonance with its genesiology” that we may later become whatever we desire to be as a people. It was probably the non-involvement of the African-experience data in the continent’s development forward lunge that led Steve Ogude to observe that “the greatest problem of development in modern African societies is that it is not rooted in the African tradition”. It is only literature – oral and written – that always hammers on the autochthonous and has the immediate capacity to arouse us into action, of taking us back to the drawing board. In fact that is what we should really be doing now – that is returning to the initial steps because, we have really missed both the rhythm and the trend.

African Orature/Verbature and Development
One agrees with Olatunde Olatunji when he insists that oral literature and written literature enjoy “a simultaneous existence and are contemporaneous” (3). However, one would like to give separate treatment to the impact of each in the context of both liberation and development. This way, each of them – verbature and ecriture – may be appreciated for what it is, and can do or achieve in the African quest for growth and development.

The term ‘orature’ was an attempt by the East African critic, Pio Zirimu, to avoid the implication of ‘litera’ which means that which is written, while as we know oral tradition is meant to be verbalized rather than scribbled down. Thus I make bold to add the term, verbature. Orature or verbature stands for the product of a people as they live out their lives on a minute-by-minute basis. In this day of an expansive chirographic influence around the world, it is important to note that there are still people who consciously create in the various oral genres without any inclination to immediately subject their oral artefact to the glitch of writing. As a living tradition, the oral text attains sustenance and survivability by constant use. This is different from what happens to the written text which, in addition, enjoys storage and forms of preservation. So saying, a useful oral literary text is a breathing one. Thus verbal literature or verbature is often used for immediacy, to draw the attention of individuals, and or society to their profane and obdurate ways.

So enthused was Ezenwa-Ohaeto about the Igbo icon of caustic orality, onyekwuru/onyekulie (who said?), the night masquerade, that he cast his artistic mould after this high spirited, dramatic disguise. Onyekwuru set for himself the bounden duty of reviewing from time to time the foibles and follies of individuals in the community and such misdemeanours to their hearing. But this is usually at night when darkness would cover his face and his voice would travel farther than it could ever have done. Ezenwa entitled his 1996 poetry collection, The Voice of the Night Masquerade. No format of criticism other than verbature may successfully do what the night masquerade does without lawsuits. The aggrieved victim of a nocturnal masque’s satiric barbs can only grumble, and should he/she complain to other members of the community, they would discourage him/her from doing anything funny as that could aggravate the situation. Oftentimes what onyekwuru knows and speaks about is already known by the villagers; the night masquerade only emblazon it. Meanwhile, the onslaught against one’s poor moral showing, arrogance, acts of wantonness, horniness, misadventures, wickedness or avarice, poor leadership displays, even at the family level has been exposed, and things could never be the same again. As Professor Sam Uzochukwu summises about orature , it helps restrain people from anti-social acts which are detrimental to their general well-being, and by so doing creates a conducive environment necessary for national development”.

African Ecriture and Development
Compared to other cultures, the African culture is new to ecriture (writing). In fact without ecriture formulated in English and French, one doubts if there would have been ‘African literature’. By ecriture, one is referring to the written text which is propagated as a social institution, invested with ‘public’ meanings. The author, the initiator of ecriture is regarded as only an intermediary in whom the action of writing precipitates the elements and codes of the pre-existing linguistic and literary system into a particular text. It is because of the preserved and preservable nature of the written word, its beauty and compactness, and retrievability that a French philosopher and sociologist, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) has had to state, albeit racist in tone: “The depicting of objects is appropriate to a savage people, signs of words and of propositions to a barbaric people and the alphabet to a civilized people” (qtd in Derrida 3). Georg Hegel (1770 – 1831), a German objective idealist put it more crudely when he said: “Alphabetic script is in itself the most intelligent”. One does not intend to join the fray in terms of which one is more liberating – the verbal/oral or the scriptic. It is my considered opinion that both of them in so far as they are the bearers of the literary sign are roots of intellectual extensions central to personal and social development.

Modern letters in Nigeria, particularly the sophisticated and written literature, recall Chinua Achebe’s writings which began in 1958. This does not in any way suggest that nothing had been written amounting to literature in Nigeria and Africa before him. Or that Achebe wrote alone. What is being said is that Achebe’s writings “inaugurated the Nigerian tradition in literature”. Nnolim advances his contention by further saying:

It is Chinua Achebe who originated and finally defined what I shall call the Nigerian tradition in literature. By that tradition I mean… the literary conventions and habits of expression deployed by Achebe in the practice of his art. It subsumes other narrative techniques employed by other Nigerian writers, especially Achebe to highlight the Nigerian worldview in literature. By the Nigerian tradition in literature, I further mean that tradition which takes its roots from our oral literature and folkways and is given ballast by vigorous and robust recourse to our folk culture. (Nnolim, “Writer as Nigerian” 3)

One has been keen to quote Nnolim at length because in his remark about Achebe’s place in written Nigerian literature, he (Nnolim) consciously emphasizes the famous writer’s penchant for using the oral heritage, thus the two traditions of literature – oral and written – cohabit in one writer’s body of works. Most African writers achieve similar feats in their oeuvre because they are both Africans, and at the same time colonial victims upon whom foreign languages have been imposed willy-nilly.

With respect to African poetry, we easily remember the infectious style of Okot p’Bitek in whose poetry, just like in Achebe’s fiction, both the oral and the scriptic reside. Not only is his poetry cognitively simple and perceptible, his ‘songs’ are various tearful lamentations which compellingly return us to what we should have loved to forget about the colonizer’s social and cultural castration of the African. In his major poetry volumes – four of them – he devotes each to the sorrowful circumstances of the African, imposed on him by colonial conquest as well as how poorly the colonial victim has had to grapple with the emergent situations. His tone is largely abusive and mocking, reflecting the Igbo response of “ama nwata ajo nkwukwa, ajo ikwu afuo ya n’onu” (if a child is given a dangerous shove, maledictions issue from his mouth). Thus p’Bitek’s personae’s catachreses are not lost on us as we know the source of the vituperative response. The poet strives to arouse us out of our complacency as when Ocol thinks he is now a new and superior species of the African just because he has received unhelpful Western learning or his Clementine who paints her lips and uses toning ointments to mediate the colour of her skin.

In African drama, I have the singular honour of referring to another Nigerian, Wole Soyinka, who perches at its apogee without yet harbouring the intention of flying away. Not only is he the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, he has written in all genres of literature, including autobiography and mythology. Specifically, his drama is filled with a passion for challenging the African who has failed to utilize the energy inherent in his cultural nexus. He is often identifying with Ogun, the Yoruba god of creativity and destruction, god of war and iron, and the patron saint of blacksmiths. He sees in this deity a combination of forces which may turn our lives around if only we would exploit its symbolic and artistic depictions. Although Soyinka’s drama is often lodged in ‘ritual aesthetics’ which occasionally alienates his audience, his writings are always calling for a revolution of sorts against injustice, misrule, oppression, corruption and general amnesia. Thus, many of his plays are often directed at Africa’s anaemic leaders and their antics. For him, it is only when this category of misleaders declines in importance, shall Africa experience genuine renaissance.

Conclusion
My conclusion is that ‘African literature’, ‘the English language’ and ‘the nation’ are not settled issues. For a long time, African intellectuals will continue to toil over those epistemes because they are protean, rapidly assuming different shapes and forms. For instance, when the definition of African literature was all the rage, the novels with ‘gender agenda’, those with Marxist orientation or novels by migrant Africans were not part of the picture. Ngugi, taking after Obiajunwa Wali, abandoned writing in English, but tolerated the translation of his works into English. This Ngugi paradigm recalls the picture of the man in an Igbo anecdote who fearing he may be poisoned threw away the oiled ugba delicacy placed in his outstretched hand but immediately licked the palm! While Achebe regards Ngugi’s stance as “doctrinaire”, Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1992 described it as “some posturing”. Simon Gikandi, a fellow Kenyan asks: “Did his (Ngugi’s) new writings belong to the world of Gikuyu literary expression or were they novelistic or dramatic genres in the European tradition?”. These counter positions by critics of Ngugi’s ‘defection’ to the mother tongue school show that the debate on the use of the English language in African writing remains unsettled.

With respect to ‘the nation’, the concept is still expansive and the discourse is ever mutating. For instance, is Sahrawi Republic a nation? We knew what happened in Rwanda in the 1994 when more than a million Rwandans lost their lives to ethnic cleansing. In Nigeria, are we in a nation where colonialism compelled over 250 ethnic groups to be compressed into one country in which those at the helm think first about their tribes before they think about Nigeria, in which Nigeria’s money is laundered in order to buy commercial and residential houses in developed nations and then bank the rest? If the Sudan had been a nation, would there have been a Southern Sudan today? Does the 2008 Kenya post-election crisis which sacrificed over 1000 nationals prove that Kenya is a nation? We can go on and on. However, African writers should not lose hope; they should continue to question their respective countries until things change for the better.
• Nwachukwu-Agbada is a professor of Literature at Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu.