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By Toyin Akinosho
18 February 2018   |   4:14 am
Eghosa Imasuen, co-founder of Narrative Landscape Press Limited, (NLP) has dismissed misgivings that his one-year-old company “poached” Chimamanda Adichie from Farafina Books.

National Theatre

We Didn’t Poach Adichie From Farafina, Says Narrative Press
Eghosa Imasuen, co-founder of Narrative Landscape Press Limited, (NLP) has dismissed misgivings that his one-year-old company “poached” Chimamanda Adichie from Farafina Books. Ms. Adichie, a hugely influential author with several critically acclaimed works of fiction, has been Farafina’s main drawing card for close to 15 years, since the company bought the Nigerian rights to Purple Hibiscus, her first published novel, in 2004.

NLP dropped the literary world’s equivalent of a bomb shell, when it announced, two days ago, the launch of its traditional publishing division, and the signing of Ms. Adichie to the firm. “We will be publishing special collector’s editions of Ms Adichie body of work, beginning with Purple Hibiscus and continuing through Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah, and her non-fiction books, Dear Ijeawele and We Should All Be Feminists”, NLP announced. “The relationship between Adichie and her publisher was thought to be so close that she has become synonymous with Farafina”, wrote Nathan Bivan, in Daily Trust, a few hours after NLP’s press release. Bivan didn’t forget to add that Imasuen and his partner, Anwuli Ojogwu, are former employees of Farafina. The word “Poaching” would suggest that NLP approached Adichie with juicier deals than Farafina had signed with its top author.

“I’m aware of how this looks, Re poaching”, Imasuen, himself a novelist with book contracts with Farafina, explains. “There was no poaching. It has been two years since I left Farafina; it was more than a year-and-a-half before Adichie’s management approached us. And I have no background on why she was looking for new publisher beyond the fact that she wanted to work with me. And we made sure we had (Farafina’s Founder) Muhtar’s blessing”. Imasuen stresses that “Muhtar Bakare and Anwuli and I are very cordial”. Imasuen was Chief Operations Officer at Farafina from July 2013 to April 2016. “I consider Muhtar my father in this business. And I am happy that I have his blessing as I grow mine. Anwuli Ojogwu, was also trained in publishing by him. She was an editor at Farafina around the time my first novel was published”.

The new editions of Ms Adichie’s books and novels will be released to the public in April of 2018. The cover design, which inspire familiar feelings of home, of nostalgia, and elegance, were designed in collaboration with VLISCO, who provided the cover art.

With Our Son, Ugbede Overstates the Case
Paul Ugbede’s Our Son the Minister highlights the extent that family, friends and associates go to compel ministerial appointees to loot the Nigerian treasury. Makoji Ejembi, a modest, practicing medical doctor in a hospital in town, has only been announced as a Ministerial nominee, which means he hasn’t been sworn in. But his mother has spent a quarter of a million naira feting her friends; his Uncle has awarded the contract for a new family house (to be paid by Ejembi) to his own son; his aunty comes up with a request for her son to be employed in the Ministry and his friend has rented four Hummer Jeeps and a Mercedes Limousine, to take the “entourage” to the state house for swearing in. It is all too much for the self-effacing, idealistic Makoji, that at a point he decides he is rejecting the appointment. This means, to everybody, that he has gone mad. Ugbede has designed Our Son the Minister as a laughter machine. And in the just concluded production at the TerraKulture Arena, director Kenneth Uphopho attempted, with mixed results, to realise the design. Except that the author himself has put too many ingredients in the broth. Like many Nigerian authors Ugbede wants to say everything that is wrong with the country in one text. The fake herbalist; a love drunk pastor, the clueless psychiatrist, all, with incompetent policemen, have to happen in one evening. Patrick Diabuah is commendably restrained, as the lead character Makoji, a required contrast in this uproarious comedy that has everyone screaming to be heard. But quite a few of the actors, especially Soibifaa Dokubo as Uncle Abutu, trash around ceaselessly, coming across as improvising both lines and action. Still, it’s a loveable presentation. Our Son the Minister is the winning play from the maiden edition of Beeta Playwright Competition, organised by Beeta Universal Arts Foundation.

A Hundred Productions For The Fifth Lagos Theatre Festival
The Lagos Theatre Festival, bigger than last year’s, starts in Nine Days’ time, running in several venues in the city from Tuesday February 27 to Sunday March 4 2018. It will feature 98 shows from 47 companies/producers across Lagos Island and Mainland, including, for the first time, shows in Ikorodu and Epe in the northern and eastern flanks of the city respectively. This is a clear 40% increase in participation over last year’s 70 shows by 32 companies. There will be six curated productions (specially selected by the producers and partly funded by the sponsors), including Dialing Love, by Kininso Koncepts, Quarter Life Crisis, by Yolanda Mercy,,,Strelitzia, by Poedio Productions, Waking Julius Beggar, by Magni-Cedar Production House, Panty Liners- by 1000 Stories Production, The Illusion of Truth by Mara Menzies. All curated productions will be held at the Freedom Park, in the Onikan-Campbell Street precinct, which is the festival hub. “We have selected work that is experimental, fresh and innovative and uses space creatively and unconventionally”, say the organisers who, in the main part, are the British Council. There are 26 shows for the Fringe Strand: an open access aspect of the festival designed to allow more performers/production companies the opportunity to present their work without restriction to style (small theatre, children’s theatre, dance, film, spoken word, comedy, puppetry, cabaret, music, interdisciplinary arts etc.). The Lagos Theatre Festival was initiated in 2013 by the British Council and is coordinated by the Theatre Director Kenneth Uphopho and his wife, Brenda. First Arts, a First Bank owned charity, contributes some of the sponsorship.

Ifeoma Okoye To Read At Unilag Readings
The novelist Ifeoma Okoye will be reading her latest novel The Fourth World, at the University of Lagos on Wednesday February 28 from 11am in the morning. Venue is the Faculty of Arts Building. Unilag Readings is an initiative of the University’s Department of English headed by Hope Eghagha. Since September last year, the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA) has joined the initiative. In The Fourth World , Okoye characteristically turns the searchlight on brazen acts of misgovernance by Nigeria’s leaders and the helplessness of the victims. The Fourth World is Mrs. Okoye’s fourth novel.

Compiled by staff of Festac News Agency