Our lead story for the launch of Open Country Mag is a profile of two remarkable women: writers-turned-editors, both, who felt that it was not enough for them to acquire skills, that it was a responsibility to equip the next generation. To solve the problem of the lack of editors, the two, Anwuli Ojogwu and Enajite Efemuaye, cofounded the Society of Book and Magazine Editors of Nigeria (SBMEN).
We spotlight the writer Arinze Ifeakandu, who graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka only four years ago and now has his debut book deal for his fiction collection about queer Nigerian men. We also tell you about a new organisation, Kathekon, founded by three young Nigerians—the journalist Socrates Mbamalu, Ifedolapo Ogunjubee, and Morisola Alaba—to fund initiatives for change.
We speak with David Ikpo and Kehinde Bademosi, two of the organizers of Pride Afrique, the Pan-African event that back in August held online space for conversations about queer progress. Teniola Tayo, the director of the 2020 Abuja Literary and Arts Festival, tells us how the festival harnesses creative power for community-building.
There are reviews: of Nsukka Is Burning, the BBC Radio 4 documentary on how a small town influenced Nigerian literature; of Transcendence, the new poetry album by Wana Udobang; and of The Geez, the new poetry collection by Nii Ayikwei Parkes.
We bring news, too: from South Africa, where Dambudzo Marechera’s biographer is revealing their love relationship; from Nigeria, The Freedom Awards honouring LGBTQ and feminist advocates; from the UK, where Afreada magazine has gone to print for the first time; from Kenya, where a newer magazine, Lolwe, is making excitement; from the US, FotoFest’s book featuring 33 African photographers; and from Nigeria, a remembrance of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the writer and activist who was executed 25 years ago by the regime of General Sani Abacha. We also suggest to you a book that teaches how to say it like Chimamanda.
Over the next few days, we bring more stories, we spotlight a fast-rising writer, and we profile two remarkable novelists from different regions of the continent and with different paths to literary success.