Singing Our Own Song

“We, not foreigners, must be the judges of whether or not a particular book has told us something we need to know about our evolving tragedy – flawed elections admitted to even by the victors, an ex-president alleged to have slept with his daughter-in-law, two hours of electricity a day despite billions of dollars expended – except that we have bought into the notion that the real world happens elsewhere, and that what we think and feel are of no account,” wrote the Gong Publishers, in the introduction to their new anthology, The New Gong Book of New Nigerian Short Stories.

“In other words, we believe in our own mediocrity, which is why, for instance, the established Nigerian publishing houses have signally failed to follow where the writers have led and are content instead to continue churning out sloppily edited textbooks for a guaranteed local market. It was with this in mind that The New Gong was launched in 2005: to provide an indigenous platform for new Nigerian writing that made no excuses in terms of editorial values.

We believe we have made a modest start in that regard but we wanted to extend it further by showcasing in a single volume the range of good writing coming out of Nigeria, hence this anthology. We simply put out the word and selected from the best that came in without regard to gender, theme or any of the other ‘smelly little orthodoxies’ which finally make a mockery of the thing itself. The reader will judge for themselves how far we have succeeded in our self-imposed task.”

The book features writing by Omale Allen Abdul-Jabhar, Folu Agoi, Unomah Azuah, A. Igoni Barrett, Babatunde Alade Dawodu, Eghosa Imasuen, Dulue Mbachu, Razinat Mohammed, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Tolu Ogunlesi, Wilson Orhiunu, Sumaila Umaisha, Chika Unigwe, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Jumoke Verissimo and Molara Wood.

It was launched at the 34th annual African Literature Association (ALA) Conference @ the Western Illinois University; 22 – 27 April 2008.

More here.

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