The short-run production of The Builder Association's "House / Divided," directed by Marianne Weems, opens with a narrator reading the captivating introduction to John Steinbeck's masterpiece, the Grapes of Wrath:
I will argue for a new Nigerian literary order.
Suppose we call this ‘neo-literariness’, for want of a better word, and because in hyphenation a word acquires two identities. So, neo-literariness is the word to use for a generation of writers and enthusiasts who function despite institutional lapses, and whose artistic engagement thrives of new ways of being, especially web-technology.
I will explain with a few examples.
by Natasha Yarotskaya
Russia by mind comprehended cannot be
Nor by wide arshins measured:
Its uniqueness be that—
Ayodele is one of the most consistent Nigerian writers of the last half-decade. She’s the oldest writer in the Gambit series, although I wouldn’t want to ask her if she’s comfortable being grouped with younger colleagues. I figure that question would be answered with a wave of her hand; Ayodele gives the impression that even the most obvious of borders doesn’t exist. Meeting her in person, I was drawn to her infinite knowledge about everyone and everything in the literary world.
Kei Miller’s second novel, The Last Warner Woman (published in 2010 but released in the United States earlier this year) seems to strike up a dialogue with his first novel The Same Earth (2008), while dismantling the earlier novel’s assump
Still on spring nights green fields
Are warmed by light sun,
That is what the Bishop of Reykjavik told the “Undersigned” (from then onwards known as “EmBi”: Emissary of the Bishop) in Halldór Laxness’ strange novel Under the Glacier. I had begun reading the book in 2009 and it took me slightly over three years to finish a “simple” 200-pages novel.
We began with an oral conversation, recorded with my phone, in her sitting room, since we happened to be in Ile-Ife together at the moment. A conversation that cannot be made public, at least for now, for the simple fact that we were so self-aware, so within the cocoon of our ‘literary ties.’ When I used those words – literary ties – Ayobami had a good laugh; earlier I had mentioned that I couldn’t extricate our friendship from our creative comradeship. This friendship, which has now spanned close to five years, began simply, when I asked her if she writes.
I wrote to Dango: “This, my friend, is a feat of spontaneous introspection, and that has been my aim for this project from the start. I always imagine that I am with you in a live event, speculating on the creative process.” I had, minutes earlier, received responses to the second batch of questions. And in my mind there is nothing more to be said. Except to add that in the hours following this conversation, I have looked upon my creative duty with a newer, fresher, outlook.
I owe you, Dango, a lot.
If one sees a handful of powerful and rich men at the pinnacle of greatness and fortune while the mass crawls in obscurity and misery, it is because the former value the things they enjoy only to the extent that the others are deprived of them, and they would cease to be happy if, without change in their own state, the People ceased to be miserable." Discourse on Inequality, p. 95.