Thursday, 26 February 2009

British Council is SWALLOWED up at NIGHT by CREAKING BEDS

Last night, Sefi Atta and Toni Kan read from their books at the British council. Sefi from her two books: Lawless, a collection of short stories and Swallow, her second novel. Both books are published by Farafina. Toni Kan read stories from Nights of a creaking bed, also a collection of short stories published by cassava republic.

I was not expecting Toni Kan so I was happy to see him: two for the price of one. The two authors are quite different. Toni kan, vibrant and loquacious while Sefi sat demure and calm. Lawless and Night of a Creaking Bed are both set in Lagos and in this the two writers find a common ground. The conversation is centred around Lagos. In one of kan’s stories, a man attempts to move an electric cable off a Lagos road and gets electrocuted. Kan explains that this is an extension of real life as he actually experienced such a scene while driving past some Lagos suburb. He was convinced the man was new to town so he decided to build a story round it. Who touches fallen cables in Lagos? Sefi is shocked that Toni drove past, coming from abroad she thinks one should stop. Who stops by a corpse in Lagos? Only if you want to be the next corpse. Toni says.
Both writers chatter on for a few miutes about their fascination with Lagos. Toni says he will almost always write about Lagos and while Sefi does not say so, she confesses it’s their shared love for Lagos that drew them to each other.
Toni is asked to review swallow. Fortunately for Sefi, it is a good review, one of the few she has gotten for the novel swallow. Toni extols it and says other critiques must be talking about a different swallow. Atta rises to her own defence advising reviewers to put more energy into writing their works than condemning someone who is writing. We are informed that she doesn’t read her reviews. I think it is a good idea and decide that I too, will not read my reviews. No need to get a heartache.
It was a good event, well organised. Farafina surprised me by keeping to schedule. It was also well attended. Sefi continues to read at at Terraculture on Friday, the 27th and at quintessence on saturday the 28th between 3 and 5pm.


Anonymous said...

i havent read any seffi atta books..hrd she is really good!

Writefreak said...

I really wish i could have attended! Hope they organise something in Abuja sometime...

I've only read Sefi Atta's Everything Good will Come and the ending left me wondering why she had to go that way, it was a good book though

Jinta said...

i'm ashamed. haven't read any books lately.