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Thursday, 1 October 2015

55 Years of Nigerian Literature: Book Cover and Illustration Galore

Google Doodle celebrating Nigeria's 2014 Independence Day

My how time flies! I can't believe it's been a year already, but it's that time of year where I celebrate Nigeria's Independence by dedicating the whole month of October to all things Nigerian literature. 

A lot has happened in the world of Nigerian literature since last October - Ankara Press - Cassava Republic's romance imprint - was launched, as was Omenana - a spec-fic literary magazine edited by Mazi Nwonwu and Chinelo Onwualu. We have also had new releases from A. Igoni Barrett, Chinelo Okparanta, Nnedi Okorafor and E C Osondu to name a few. Parresia also announced their 2015 Parresia Books Imprint, which includes works from Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, Maik Nwosu and Amara Nicole Okolo. Let's not forget that Teju Cole and Helon Habila were 2 of the 3 fiction winners of the 2015 Windham Campell Prizes (the 3rd was South African, Ivan Vladislavić), Chigozie Obioma's debut, The Fishermen, was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Lesley Nneka Arimah was the winner of the Africa region for the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize with her story Light, and Uzodinma Iweala's 2005 novel, Beasts of No Nation, has been adapted for the screen as a Netflix original. Obviously there's a lot more that's happened in the last year - from Ben Okri winning the Bad Sex in Fiction Award to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's  essay on depression being published without her consent on The Guardian and the 2015 Nigerian Prize for Literature - which focused on Children's Literature this year - emerging with no winner - but all in all, it's been another great year for Nigerian Literature. So let's recognise it.

This will be my fourth literary celebration, which tries to look at our literature across our Independent history, and this year I have decided to celebrate Nigerian book covers and illustrations. I haven't kept it a secret on this blog, I judge books by their covers and I am obsessed with design - I might love the illustration of a book, as much as I do the content. As such, it makes perfect sense to me that for this year - from book covers and comics to children's literature and everything else in between - I will look at the last 55 years of art in Nigerian literature.


Illustration for Granta Magazine by Pietari Posti - created for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story Ceiling
As always it's my little way of saying Happy Independence to my fatherland - the country where I was birthed and raised. So I hope you enjoy reading them, as much as I do putting them together. Previous celebrations can be found here, here and here

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