A Year in Lagos

by - 08:50

The last few weeks to month have been pretty hectic - with returning, settling in, writing up (I was in Lagos for a year doing research) and getting ready for the start of a new academic session, I haven't had time to focus on my reading and blogging. Well, things have finally settled down, but after a year in Lagos I am feeling pretty reflective. Over the last 8 years I have visited Lagos regularly, but I have never stayed longer than a month. Heading back to Lagos, and spending a year was an interesting experience. Like everything, there were ups and downs. I missed my family, my friends, my life in London and I initially had to adjust to life back in Lagos. And although I had my down days, I also got to see a side of Lagos I never expected to see.

Coming back I was able to experience the cultural scene in Lagos like Terra Kulture with their Theatre @ Terra, art gallery, weekly Open Mic Night, and restaurant (So I fell in love with their food); Bogobiri House, also with its Open Mic Night; Nike Art Gallery (which I recommend anyone in Lagos to go to, it's amazing - it's like 4 or 5 floors of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling paintings, sculptures, you name it. It's beautiful. My words aren't doing it any justice), bookstores (Debonairs, Quintessence, the one in the Palms whose name I never remember), book readings, photography exhibitions and more. There were even natural hair events. Oh! And what's a weekend in Lagos, without going to a wedding - so a few of those also snuck in. 

Apart from that the one thing I will always be eternally grateful for about my year in Lagos is bookshy. I've said a few times I had the idea to start doing this for almost a year before I actually found the courage to do it. And I really believe that there was something in Lagos that inspired me to start it. 

I'm not going to lie and say I'm not happy to be back in London, with my family whom I've really missed and I get to hang out with my friends. Despite that, the one thing I am really going to miss is the easy access to Nigerian novels I had while in Lagos. Nigeria has a pretty impressive home-grown industry, which I fell in love with. I now have a decent collection of Nigerian books, which I hope continues to grow. I also was able to start a small AWS collection, and get a couple of Caine Anthologies. I have a lot of reading ahead of me, which I am really looking forward to. 

And now that I'm back I'm on a mission to discover which bookstores in London (and maybe in the UK) stock African literature. Wish me luck!

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