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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Saraba Magazine to Launch its First Print Edition: 'Transitions'






I admitted once, and I am not ashamed to admit it again - I was late to discover Saraba Magazine. For me it was August 2012 on one of my many searches. What stood out for me initially was the cover designs, and what they conveyed about the themes of each issue - which at that time was published 4 times a year - around Music, Food, Sex, Justice, Art and more


Past digital issues of Saraba Magazine

Saraba first appeared on the literary scene four years earlier - February 2009. This was after conversations in late 2008 between two undergraduates at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife - Emmanuel Iduma and Dami Ajayi, about emerging writing in Nigeria and Africa. Since then Saraba has gone on to publish almost 30 digital issues of their magazine, as well as poetry chapbooks. They also launched a manuscript project in 2015.

Well, after nine years Saraba is making the transition from digital to print. Their first print issue is aptly named Transitions, and explores the theme through questions of time, movement and sexual identity, among othersThis transition from digital to print, the excitement surrounding it, as well as the significance of Saraba Magazine in the (African) literary space was beautifully captured by Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire of Writivism in a thread on twitter.




As Bwesigye goes on to tweet in his thread:  
At 9 years, Saraba is an inspirational story for building literary infrastructure on the continent. Fine literary activism. Solid record ... [and] if any one individual or/and institution reflects what our generation has contributes to the African Republic of Letters, Iduma/Saraba.

Well, Transitions launches in a few days (October 2 2017) and in a press release on the forthcoming print issue, the Saraba team writes: 
We have gathered writings - reportage, short stories, travel essays, poems - befitting of our foray into print. Our contributors are writers you should be reading, and visual artists whose images are compelling. 
... and let me just say Saraba is not playing with their first print issue. As the press release goes on to state:
The cover is designed by Ojima Abalaka, the brilliant illustrator whose work has been featured in the New York Times. The are poems by Gbenga Adesina; short stories by Suzanne Ushie, Ireonosen Okojie, Abiola Oni, Eboka Chukwudi Peter, T J Benson, Amarachi Ekekwe, Hajara Hussaini Ashara and Ebele Mogo; essays by Temitayo Olofinula, Kola Tubosun, Uche Okonkwo and Yinka Elujoba; portfolios of photographs by Ladan Osman and Ayeni Olajide. And an interview with Ayobami Adebayo
Transitions also includes writing from several of the awardees of Saraba's Manuscript Project and essays from writers that participated in the 2016 edition of the Invisible Borders trans-Nigerian road trip 
To celebrate this momentous occasion, Saraba is having a number of launches across Nigeria, UK, USA and Canada. The first of which takes place in London on Monday 2 October (19:15 - 20:30), and I have the absolute pleasure of chairing. Co-hosted by Saraba, Africa Writes and the Royal African Society, the launch takes place at the Khalili Lecture Theatre at SOAS. At the London launch will be Emmanuel Iduma, Ireonosen Okojie, Abiola Oni and Ayobami Adebayo. Tickets for the event are £8/£5 (concs.) and free for RAS Members, and can be purchased here. Hard copies of the magazine will also be available at the event. 
N65 by Aderemi Adegbite. Image via Africa Writes
Other events lined up for the launch include: 
In collaboration with Waterstones, Gower Street: At the Great Magazine Weekend, Friday 6th October, 2:15 – 3:15 pm, 82 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6EQ. With Emmanuel Iduma.
In collaboration with the MFA Art Writing program atthe School of Visual Arts: Thursday 12 October, 6.30pm, at 132 West 21 Street, New York. With Dami Ajayi, Emmanuel Iduma, and Gbenga Adesina.
In collaboration with the Ake Book and Arts Festival: Thursday 16th November, 1-2pm, Arts and Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.

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