Saturday, May 31, 2008

Creative Writing Workshop with Chimamanda Adichie, Binyavanga Wainaina, Dave Eggers and Marie Elena John

I was recently telling a budding writer about this program and now can't remember who.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be organizing a creative writing workshop in Lagos from August 19 to August 29 2008. The workshop is sponsored by Fidelity Bank.

Guest writers who will co-teach the workshop alongside Adichie are the Caine Prize Winning Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina (author of Discovering Home), the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominated Caribbean writer Marie-Elena John (author of Unburnable) and the Pulitzer Prize nominated American writer Dave Eggers (author of A Hearbreaking Work of Staggering Genius).

Workshop participants will be expected to read and discuss a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, as well as complete short writing exercises. The aim of the workshop is to encourage published and unpublished Nigerian writers by bringing different perspectives to the art of storytelling.

Participation is limited to those who apply and are accepted. A symposium open to the public will be held at the end of the workshop.

To apply, send an e-mail to
Your e-mail subject should read ‘Workshop Application.’

The body of the e-mail should contain the following:
1. Your Name
2. Your address
3. A few sentences about yourself
4. A writing sample of between 200 and 800 words. Please indicate whether your sample is fiction or nonfiction. Acceptances will be based on the quality of the writing sample.

All writing material must be pasted or written in the body of the e-mail. Do NOT send any attachments. Applications with attachments will be automatically disqualified. Deadline for submissions is July 12 2008. If accepted, you will be notified by August 5, 2008.

Thanks Musing Naijaman for the link.


Up late watching Girlfriends. I didn't always like the show, though over time it grew on me. The characters became more three-dimensional and it (the characters and stortylines) gradually all came together.

I've been watching the first 3 seasons on DVD and am noticing how polished and sophisticated it is, especially compared to some other African-American sitcoms. It has this sheen. My guilty secret is that I mostly like watching it to look at Tracee Ellis Ross's characters hair and clothes. That's my style star.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Apprentice Africa

I just caught the ending of Apprentice Africa. I really enjoy the show, however the editing leaves a lot to be desired. I know that a lof of reality shows edit creatively, so sometimes you get the story they want you to get - as opposed to what actually happened. However, very often in AA, you are left feeling like you've missed some important chunk of the story, but not quite sure what it was. It just felt incomplete.

This is particularly so when watching the team enjoying their 'prize.' Some of these prizes have shown almost total unimagination, although the editing and presentation of the prize segment is even more lacking.

Today's prize actually seemed cool (a meeting with image consultant Ifeoma Williams of Fruition, a meeting with designer Lanre Da Silva and a photo shoot in one of her designs, which the contestants would get to keep). However, did we get to really share the experience of the prize with the winners? Nope! We got some visuals alright, but layered with an incredibly annoying soundtrack looping what I take to be exclamations from the contestants during their day of "Are you serious?", "I LOVE it", "This is great" and ..... I can't even remember now. We didn't get to hear anything of the conversation that went on during the day, e.g. tips shared by the image consultant, designer, reactions from the contestants.

I suppose one way of looking at it was that perhaps none of the conversation amounted to much in the first place and that we were kindly spared by the editors. However, because this is par for the course with regards this show, I think otherwise. I remember one episode in which the winning team (Zulu) won a lunch with Oba Otudeko (successful entrepreneur and chairman of Honeywell Group), did we get to hear what pearls of wisdom he shared with the team? No! Instead, we got to observe the tush restaurant in which they had their lunch, how nicely set the table was, what they ate, drank, etc. We saw the hand-shaking, bowing, curtesying that went on and the lovely picture they took at the end of the meal. Wow! I learnt so much from that. Nigeria! Too much emphasis on the superficial and not enough on what lies beneath.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Life of a Woman

W.TEC’s Girls’ Technology Camp

The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) is now accepting nominations for its upcoming W.TEC Girls’ Technology Camp.
The 1-week residential camp, which will take place in Lagos in August 2008, is aimed at bridging the technology gap between boys and girls earlier in their career path. The camp is designed to encourage young women to choose a career path in information and communication technology (ICT) or to develop more interest in using and/or managing ICTs.

The primary aims of this camp are to:
  1. Introduce young Nigerian women to a variety of computer applications and other ICTs, which they can use productively for leisure, school and work, and help develop their skills in using them
  2. Encourage the young women to consider a technology career, by giving a realistic and positive idea of computing-related careers through career talks and career-themed films
  3. Help the young women plan their future careers with the assistance of mentors and women currently working in these fields

The programme is targeted at female students who are:
  • Currently in JSS 2 to SSS 2 and no younger than 11 years of age
  • Interested in computers and other ICTs
  • Considering a career in a computing-related field or one in which computers will be used frequently

Nominations should be sent to, with the following information: First and Last Names; Class; Age; School; Contact Address; Phone Number; and Email Address.

Alternatively, visit the W.TEC website to read more and apply.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dr. Love

I'm up when I should be asleep and listening to Dr. Love on Silverbird TV. He's hilarious! Between his fake Americana accent and goro-sheened hair, the show is a laugh-a-minute.

Tonight he was talking about (amongst other things, I'm guessing since I only caught the last 10 minutes) how to turn a woman on. He is spot-on in some ways though. According to Dr. Love, it only takes a second for men to be "Ready-Freddy-Steady" (ROFL), while a woman is like the volume dial on your hi-fi set. He ends the show with a list of 10 Ways 2 Get a Woman to Fall in Love With You, including making her laugh, not being possesive (not being "all sticky-sticky to her"), paying compliments and remembering little details she'd told you in the past. I don't know if those will make a woman fall in love with a guy, but I suppose it can help.

Okay, the show is over now and I should get offline now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

I attended a talk today at the ongoing CTO2008, a yearly technology forum organised by the United States Commercial Services.

First off, Shina Badaru editor of Technology Times presented the top 100 websites visited by Nigerians. Topping the list was Yahoo (perhaps no surprise there), closely followed by, Google and Facebook. The highest ranking Nigerian-owned website was Nairaland, which came in at number 13, showing perhaps how much Nigerian love to talk.

Then, Ayo Atobatele, founder of Nigeria.Com, spoke about how the Internet is influencing how we do business in a presentation entitled Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants. Hmmm, interesting ideas on how the Internet has changed so much about how we get information, communicate, do business, etc and how most people are either drigital natives or immigrants. Digital natives are born into the technology of now and grew up integrating it into all facets of their lives. Digital immigrants are forced to learn how to use these tools later in life as a result of professional needs or personal interest. Most of us (I should say, most of us in the late 20s and over) are digital immigrants, while anyone younger could be a digital native.

There must be a 3rd group not identified in his presentation at all; the group of people for whom these Internet-based technologies have no impact at all, the digital aliens?

Anyway, he goes on to say that most tools we use now were developed by digital natives; usually to meet a personal need or just for fun. However, the profit-making or impact-generating angle was spotted and developed by digital immigrants, who tend to have more business experience.

The bottom-line is:
- If you want to reach out to this younger, tech-savvy group, you need to be sending out your message through channels where it will get to them e.g. blogs, social networks, discussion groups, SMS, etc.
- Don't forget about the digital immigrants while you're at it
- This also means providing services that both groups will appreciate. How about online banking that actually is, and not just limited to checking balances, for example?
- You will most likely need the digital natives to develop the tools, but have digital immigrants use them to create competitive advantage and address business needs

To this, particularly the last point, it's important to:
- Create a process that encourages the creativity of digital natives (apparently, most Google products were initially employees' personal project and Google allows employees time to work on these projects). Okay, I laughed at this, sure that NO Nigerian company would do this, until he said that GTB's GENS SMS service is based on an application created by a GT employee.
- Create digital native mentoring programs with digital immigrants as the mentors
- Since most of us listening to his presentation were at best digital immigrants, we would need access to some digital natives to give insight on proposed products, services, and information delivery channels

It was good to see some interesting ideas, as well as some things that we intuitively know pulled together so cohesively. Download the presentation.

The Internet is definitely having a big impact in our lives, however limited access (availability and low bandwidth) continues to curb what we could be achieving with it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Watching Films ...

One of things I have to do everyday is go online (to check email, blogs, read articles, visit websites, anything, etc). One thing I LOVE to do while surfing is to watch or, more accurately listen to films.

I recently The Namesake, seasons 1 to 3 of Absolutely Fabulous, Daddy's Little Girls that way (I can't watch The Wire that way though). Now, I'm about to start the Three Colours trilogy and since I don't speak French I will actually have to pay attention.

The Namesake Re-watched

I watched The Namesake last year when it was shown at Nu Metro. I loved the book and liked Mira Nair's films, so I hoped that I would like the film. Thankfully, I loved it. I think my friend and I were the only non-Indians in the cinema hall. I said I would get the film on DVD.

I did a few weeks ago and re-watched it several times (I'm currently listening to the director's commentary). It still strikes me as such a beautiful poignant film. I would have added "one that so astutely depicts the immigrant experience in the US, or anywhere for that matter", but I fear that would be so nauseatingly cliched. LOL! Okay, so I just said it.

However, it still does bring back those feelings of loneliness, being the outsider, having to explain your country and culture to people over and over again when they ask you the maddeningly vague "So tell me ALL about Nigeria", and listen to them patronise you with their 'deep insight' on what the problem with Nigeria is.

However, the Namesake is so much more than that. It's such a gorgeously told story about family: you love them sometimes; you can't stand them sometimes; but somehow they always seem to be the ones at the start of the story and with you at the end.