Friday, October 4, 2019

My Experience at the #CNWritersConference 2019

This year has been pretty busy for me with mini collaborations here and there that are yet to come into the limelight. Don't worry i will keep you abreast with them as time goes on. Today I want to talk about my experience at the 6th edition of the CN Writers Conference which took place in Lagos (at Seedspace, Ikoyi) last month. 


I got the pleasure of mingling with other professional & aspiring writers and meet my coworkers in the Connect Nigeria Article hub. I learned how to move my ebooks and many other topics of immense relevance. Most of which I would share on my website https://annthewriter.com.ng/ Below are the speakers at the program and the topics they covered:


I was happy to not only be there, but to also showcase my books before the fiction workshop started and attempt to market them. having books in print is always a different ball game from ebooks and it was nice to share that part of my journey with others.


Nugget from Sally Dadzie (Facilitator of the Fiction Workshop and Best seller Okadabooks Author): Follow where the money is. Test the waters with your story to find out what the audience is interested in or the direction people are leaning towards before releasing a book. Creative writing is beyond normal writing, it is about taking and maximising what you have. There are so may markets for Creative Writing. Nigerians read, give them what they want to read and they will follow. whatever you are writing, there are groups of people who like it. Your passion gives you money and will push you out there.  


As a mom who works remotely In another state, it was great to get away from the kids and be around women like me who are achieving their dreams. 


I made a few friends. I didn't to snap with all of them though. And I haven't kept in touch or followed up with them since then (my bad). But their energy was great and it made the experience warm and fun.

And I took some pictures with one of the guest speakers (Mrs Awele Ilusanmi, Author of Launch Money) and one of my senior colleague (Ibiene, who also has a blog of her own - www.ibienebidiaque.com) to help me remember the day. See pics below:




After the conference, we had an in-house writers meeting which was more of an orientation meeting for all the Connect Nigeria article writers. it was a long overdue meeting with a much needed discuss. 


After the serious bit was done, we played, snapped pictures and said our goodbyes. It was great to hangout with people you have worked with online for over a year. there is paradox that says writers embrace solitude in a bid create content that connects with other human beings or something like that.  Ironic but true. 


As writers, we gain material from experience, life, events, happenstance and from our imagination. We do not take it for granted when we have a chance to meet up and encourage each other. There is so much negativity/discouragement in our world today and that leads to a false image of happiness projected by people on social media. A writers' conference not only empowers writers with knowledge but also opens them up t a community of others who understand the struggle.  



If this conference felt this exhilarating, I wonder what Comic Con or Ake Festival will feel like. Now I get the reason writers travel to attend literary events around the Country. I'm looking forward to the next edition of the Connect Nigeria's Writers Conference.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Happy New Year!

Well, I guess the year is far gone for 'Welcome to 2019' But whatever season you are in, I welcome you to a new phase of life. Life is only what we make of it. we may have many plans but ultimately, it is the things we work on that will bear fruits. So don't be busy, be productive. sure the steam will run out in a few weeks or months time, but it is up to you to refuel your fire and keep the passion to achieve burning.

In January when I started writing this post, I wrote this paragraph to cover February 2019 elections in Nigeria: "We are entering a quintessential time in the history of Nigeria as we fall upon yet another 'June 12th' moment. Will democracy yield the best result for us as Nigerians? Will the vast Majority rally around a candidate that holds the most promise to cause a change in our current story? Everyone is asking, who do we vote? Will our votes count? In all these, I want to say, let's seek peace above all else. Don't lose your head or relationships because of political inclinations. Let's be of one mind on what we want and nothing will be impossible for us. Shun ethnic and religious bias in your decision process and vote according to your beliefs and conscience. Let's agree to disagree."

That aside, we are in March. and on March 3rd, the International Wildlife Day, we addressed a very important issue in our history as human beings. Below is an article I wrote for my Connect Nigeria travel column:  

International Wildlife Day
One beautiful part of tourism is taking time out from our world to have a peek at Nature. We long to see animals in their habitat and how they interact. It reminds us of how special the world is.
That is why on March 3rd 1973, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) took a stand on issues relating to protecting endangered species worldwide. They made their plans tangible on the 20th of December 2013 when March 3rd was declared as the International Wildlife Day. The aim was to raise awareness of the world’s animals and plants.
March 3rd was the day of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered species (CITES) of Fauna and Flora before it became International Wildlife Day. It was the set aside in 1973 to make sure international trade does not threaten the survival of wildlife.
Since 2013, UNGA has given March 3rd themes to direct the focus of the celebration of wildlife. In 2015, the focus was on crimes against wildlife; 2016, it was the future of elephants in our hands. While in 2017, the focus was on enlisting the youths in the cause by encouraging them to take responsibility for environmental and wildlife conservation. Last year, the focus was on saving predatory big cats - like lion, leopards, tigers,  - which have become endangered worldwide.
This year, the focus is on Marine life. The theme for the International Wildlife Day 2019 is Life below water: for people and planet. Our coastal areas and its biodiversity have provided humanity with livelihood over the years, contributing to GDPs and enriching lives. There is so much our marine life can offer us. However, marine life is being threatened by humans. Threats range from bleaching of coral reefs and plastic/metals/faecal coliforms/industrial waste pollution to deforestation, urbanisation, poaching, etc.
In Nigeria, rather than be enthralled by or revere marine life, the appeal for the exotic has put many sea creatures on the menu. Also, the fear of the unknown has led to the death of many unique species. E.g. The West African Manatee killed in 2016 at Badagry by people lacking in knowledge on aquatic biodiversity. It’s only crime was being an unidentifiable sea creature. But that isn’t the only case. In 2014, there was a report of Nigerians killing an unidentified sea creature (which looked like a white Humpback whale) found at Eleko beach in Lagos state for food.
Other sea creatures that have been killed on Nigerians shores include a Dolphin, Stingray, Shark, Turtles and Tortoises, etc. Humpback Whales were killed In Ilaje and Ese-Odo, Ondo State and In Brass, Bayelsa For Food in July last year. In January this year, the video of an endangered species, Leatherback Turtle, found at Okpoama Beach in Bayelsa was posted on social media showing its maltreatment while being taunted with a cutlass. This poor attitude towards marine creatures is exactly why we need to get as many Nigerians educated on how to conserve marine life and the environment.
With tourism activities, such as deep sea diving and snorkelling, becoming a thing these days and beach cleanup by tour companies as a voluntourism, there is a growing awareness of protecting Marine life. Just last month, Doyinsola Ogunye, a lawyer and conservationist, rescued a pregnant Leatherback turtle at Elegushi beach, Ikate, Lagos from desperate area boys looking to make quick money from it or mince meal of it.
Hopefully, the celebration of the 2019 International Wildlife Day will help to create an increased awareness on the need to protect the biodiversity of marine life in Nigeria and come up with sustainable development plans for marine species. You can get involved by learning about different species of marine life, the challenges they face and how to help them. Then share what you’ve learned on social media using the following hashtags: #LifeBelowWater, #WWD2019, #MarineSpecies #DoOneThingToday #SDG14. Let us help to make Nigeria a safe haven for the numerous Wildlife within our Borders. Let us help to make Nigeria a safe haven for the numerous Wildlife within our Borders. 

This is a conversation that goes beyond a single day in a year. Our Zoos are lacking in variety of animals while we eat all kinds of animals as bush meat. This is a trend that must stop. If we are not helping to prevent their extinction by ensuring their numbers increase, then we should not be eating them. My heart broke as I read reports of Nigerians eating harmless creatures that balance our ecosystem. isn't it enough that their lives are under threat from global warming and all manners of pollution? It is a shame to have a Ministry for Environment or Minister of state for environment and yet have no documentation or statistics on the range of wildlife within our borders both on land and in the sea? We need to have aquatic museums where our children can visit and glimpse the life of animals under the sea and safe water activities and sports that help us Nigerians to have a healthy interaction with the creatures of the deep. 

We need to do better as a people. The world is changing, let's not become footprints in the sands washed away by the tides of time. 


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Before the year ends...

Since my last post, I have been gathering momentum to come back but life had other plans. Before the year ends, I would like to share with you a little something I worked on this year. I have a free short story called Troubled Horizon on Okadabooks and Chowilson. But I wanted to put out another collection of short stories like I did the Quilt and decided to merge them with the free story. It is a far smaller collection which I hope when printed will be cheap enough for lovers of my work to grab off me in a jiffy. While the proofreading and editing stage is taking longer than planned, I do want you to have a sneak peek of one of the stories in the New compilation which is also titled Troubled Horizon.



Today the story I will be sharing with you is from my Brittle Paper 2017 December entry that didn't make the list or winners. Someone said it was because the story was a bit sad. Although I have revised the submission to what is below, it is important that we acknowledge the fact that not everyone has a Merry Christmas. Some people lose loved ones during the season, others are so broke they can only afford a meal. A few are too sick to celebrate and poverty has a grip on so many that celebrating is a challenge. These are realities faced by Nigerians which should not be ignored by literature in a bid to change the narrative of how Africans celebrate Christmas. For the African Narrative to be complete, it must be full of robust stories showing the good, the bad and the ugly. That way we correct the danger of the single story held by the West about us.
Enough talk. Here is my story and I'd like to hear your feedback in the comment section or on the social media platform where you followed the link to this blog.

                               WATCH-NIGHT

17-year-old Ese stood in the doorway, gazing at the rays of light streaming through the window onto the neatly made bed. In the beam were dust particles; she knew she should change the sheets, but she dared not. It had been a week since someone had used the bed and she didn’t want to forget that.
Ese sighed and moved into the room. She fished through the pockets of the clothes in her father’s cupboard and found a wad of 20 naira notes in one of his trouser pockets.
This should do, she thought to herself. Then she meandered out of the house to get some breakfast items for herself and her siblings.
The day was still young. Though the sun was up, it wasn’t scorching, and the harmattan breeze was refreshing. She walked leisurely to the kiosk built into the fence of her neighbour’s house to buy what she needed. The stroll afforded her time to think. Christmas was the next day, and she still hadn’t heard from her father. She had last heard from him three days ago.
“Hey Ese, are you coming to watch our knock-out war tonight?” Ohioma interrupted her thoughts.
She had not noticed when he walked up to her. She had been waiting for Mama Kess to appear by the kiosk window and sell to her through its protective window bars. Before she could respond, Mama Kess appeared.
“Good morning ma,” they both chorused.
“Good morning my children, what do you want?”
“I want to buy six packets of knock-outs ma,” Ohioma said.
“And you?” asked Mama Kess.
“A loaf of sliced bread, three eggs, a tin of milk and 20 naira’s worth of Lipton, please.”
Mama Kess turned around and ransacked her shelves for the items needed.
“So are you coming?” Ohioma resumed.
“It depends. You know my Dad doesn’t like us being out during ‘watch-night’. Besides, it will be hard to keep an eye on my younger ones while you guys are going all out in a knock-out war.”
“Well, sometimes you need to bend the rules. Live a little,” Ohioma said, turning his back to Mama Kess’ window, a broad carefree smile etched on his face. “Give the little ones some cartoons then join us to have some fun. We will beat them Oghenero’s gang tonight. They dared us! There is no going back. It’s our street versus theirs, and the war is taking place over there.” He pointed at the main road that connected both streets.
“Won’t it cause trouble for road users?” Ese asked as Mama Kess tapped him and gave him his ammunition before collecting her money.
 “Nope. Most parents will be indoors preparing for Christmas. The streets are ours tonight!”  
Ese paid Mama Kess and collected her goods. Ohioma followed her as she headed home.
“So what say ye? You know we need the girls to cheer us on and sing our victory song. The ‘Okponyo’ go too sweet.” Ohioma chuckled.
“And what makes you think you will win?”
“Oh we know we will. We are getting mercenaries from other streets to help us ambush them.”
“Hmmm, seems you’ve got it all figured out. Anyway, as I said, if I can, I will try to be around. No promises.”
“Okay. See you later,” Ohioma said and rushed off to his house where his elder brother was impatiently waiting for him at the door.
Ese shook her head. A smile played across her lips until the sight of her house reminded her of her predicament.
Daddy promised to be home three days ago. What could have kept him? Lord, please let him be alright. 
Losing a mother was hard. The idea of losing a father barely a year later was devastating. But no, Ese refused to allow herself to think of such things.
What was her mother fond of telling her? “Ese, as you think, you become. What you declare as your reality with your mouth and in your mind will become your reality in life.” She wondered what thoughts her mother had in her last moments before the car exploded after the accident. Had those thoughts become her reality?
Eyewitnesses had claimed her mother had died instantly during the accident. They claim she was trying to avoid a pothole near the Market when a vehicle appeared in her line of sight. Although she did her best to avoid running into the family of four driving towards her, her car somersaulted three times before bursting into flames. It happened in the blink of an eye. It had been so fast that there was nothing anyone could do about it. All they got was a call on their house phone from a stranger.
Ese opened the door with the house keys in her hand and heard the TV. Her younger ones were up and watching Christmas-themed cartoons on Cartoon Network.
“Ochuko, Doro, have you brushed your teeth?”
They shook their heads.
“Oya, before I count to five, go into the bathroom and brush your teeth or else I will turn off the TV. One…”
She didn’t need to tell them twice; they knew she always carried out her threats. So they ran out to comply immediately. She went into the kitchen, made their breakfast and served them. When they were through, she ordered them to take their baths and dress up. She laid their favourite outfits on the bed for them to wear. That way, they would look ready for a celebration if they decided to go outside to play.
As soon as they were done getting dressed, the power went out.
“Awww,” they groaned, “they have taken the light.”
“Aunty Ese, can we go over to Maro’s place to play?” Ochuko, her younger brother, asked.
“Yes, you can. But promise me, no ‘long-throat’ when you get there. If your friends don’t offer you a snack or a meal, don’t beg them or cry for it. Say your sister said you should leave now and just come home. You hear me?”
“Yes Aunty Ese,” they chorused and ran out of the house excited.
With both of them out of the house, Ese could now focus on herself and also battle those scary thoughts that kept running through her mind.
The house was empty. The money she found would not be enough to get them the ingredients she needed to make party Jollof rice or fried rice. What was she to do? The last thing she wanted to do was blow all the money at once on a one-day celebration.
What would we eat tomorrow or the days after if daddy didn’t show up?
Every time the phone rang, she prayed it was her father, not a stranger calling to give them bad news. Her relief was palpable every time it turned out to be a friend or a relative calling to wish them Merry Christmas.  
The day seemed to crawl.
***
By this time typically, the family would be out shopping. Even with her mother’s death last year, her dad had tried to keep the tradition. He took them out to Kingsway supermarket to buy as many food items as possible.
The cold air conditioning in the place usually made up for the hassle of the car park. They would stroll through the aisles with their cart, window shopping the items their parents would never get them, like the pretty toys. Then they’d buy household favourites like a bucket of Ice cream, baked beans, hot dogs and big bottles of fruit juice. For clothes, they would go to the Main market downtown and walk through busy, dusty streets to the areas where the clothes merchants were.
Cries of, “Pretty girl, come, I have something for you”, “Oga wetin una dey find? I get am. Come”, “Fine, Fine, cloth here. Fine, fine cloth here”, “Cheap fine cloth dey, come and buy", and lots more would fill the air. Some traders would go as far as pulling one of them by the hand towards their shop.
During such market visits, their Father was fond of saying, “Stick close.”
Ese feared getting lost; the fear of not having any familiar face around or to depend on frightened her and compelled her to obey.
***
It was that same fear of being alone that she felt now that her dad had not shown up as planned. She couldn’t bear the thought of life without him, especially when death had already snatched their mother away.
She looked at the time; it was now 3 pm. Time for her siblings to eat lunch and have their siesta. She went to the neighbour’s house to get them.
“Oh sorry dear, your siblings fell asleep already. Let them rest; we will send them home when they wake up.” Maro’s mum said.
“They are supposed to come home for lunch before they sleep,” Ese protested.
“Don’t worry dear; they ate lunch with my kids. They are in good hands. Why not take time off and enjoy yourself? I’m sure your dad will be home before you know it.”
“Okay, thank you ma.”
Ese left and walked around her neighbourhood for a while. They lived at the father’s company’s housing estate. She saw the Ereoyakas decorating the pine tree outside their house with tinsel and Christmas lights. As she walked further down, the smell of fried chicken wafted through the air from the Talabi’s kitchen window.
When the heat from the sun became unbearable, she headed back home. Besides, seeing how others were preparing for this year’s Christmas celebration caused an ache in her heart.
“Think positive, Ese,” she told herself, “I’ve got to get my mind off this worrying. It’s not doing me any good.”
The cheers of children from different houses signalled that the electricity was back on. She smiled to herself as she hatched a plan to watch romantic Christmas movies to while away the time and quickened her pace. When she got home, she went to count the money in the house to ensure it was enough for any impending hard time.
While watching the movie, she fell asleep. It felt like a few minutes rest because, in her sleep, she could still hear the doorbell ring. She grudgingly rose up and went to answer it. Her friend May was at the door.
“Hi, I come bearing gifts,” she chirped cheerfully, “were you sleeping? You look awful.”
“Yeah, I was. Come in.”
Ese walked into the parlour leaving May to take off her slippers and close the door.
“Here, this is for you.” May handed her a nylon bag with a cooler and a small wrapped present.
Ese opened the present to see a handmade cardboard frame with a broken glass. The picture of an actor she had a crush on had been cello-taped to the glass. It was an innovation they had both come up with one day while playing adventure seekers around their school premises.
They created their local frame with pictures torn out of old magazine issues and abandoned broken glass. Ese came up with the concepts of what to put in it while May penned down any words they came up with. It also proved to be the start of a lucrative business for them both. They usually sold it to fellow schoolmates who used the frames to declare their love for their crushes. They had never thought to keep one for themselves, so it was quite sweet of May to gift it to Ese.
“This is so nice, thanks May. What’s this?” Ese brought out the cooler.
“I told my mom that your dad was late in returning from his business trip and she decided to send over some emergency Christmas food. It’s just in case he doesn’t show up in time with Christmas groceries or for you to do any Christmas shopping. Hey, have you guys heard from him since?”
“No oh. I have been so worried all morning trying to keep it all together. But I am scared May. What if he never comes back. He said he’d be back days ago and he is still not here.” Ese’s voice broke. She took a deep breath before she could continue. “Today is Christmas Eve, and my dad has not returned. I don’t know what to do, May. I’ve lost a mother, I can’t bear to lose my father too.” Ese sobbed, releasing all the tears she had held inside since morning.
May hugged Ese and let her cry it out.
“Don’t think such thoughts Ese. That’s fear talking. Let’s choose to believe that your Dad is all right. He will come home.”
After Ese had calmed down, May asked, “So what are you watching?”
“I don’t know I slept off. I’m sure the film I was watching has ended, and this is a new one.”
“And where are Ochuko and Doro?”
“They went to play with my neighbour’s children and fell asleep there.”
“I have an idea. Why not come with me? My church is having a night of hymns and carols. It’s starting at 5 pm, if we go now, we can make it in time. Your siblings are at your neighbour’s, so this is the best time to enjoy yourself. Let’s go. There will even be fireworks. It’ll be fun. It’ll take your mind off things. Come on.”
“Okay. Let me change into something better and inform the neighbours, so they don’t send my brother and sister home while I am gone.”
The service was just as fun as May said it would be. As the choir sang hymns in orchestra style, the harmonies seeped into her mind, causing her to be more relaxed. She told herself, I am going to stop worrying and trust that God is in control.
So she whispered a prayer, “Lord, by faith I choose to believe my Father is fine and he will come back home to us this night. Help me to stop worrying and just enjoy this Christmas Eve or what is left of it now. I thank you for I receive the answers to my prayer now, in Jesus name, Amen.”
And from that moment on, she enjoyed her time at the service and felt her spirits lift. When she got back, the street wars had started. With barely any street lights or lights from moving vehicles, the sparks from the knock-out wars were like stars exploding close to the earth. She watched and cheered for Ohioma’s team. He was right, their victory was guaranteed. They used video game tactics to outwit their competitors.  
The night was getting quite dark and she felt a bit tired. She left as they sang their victory song to pick up her siblings from their neighbour. When they got to their house, they saw their dad’s car in the driveway. They all squealed and raced home.
“Daddy, Daddy,” cried the younger ones.
Their father flung the door wide open and embraced his children, “Oh, I’ve missed you so,” he said. “Sorry for giving you a fright Ese, I know you worry a lot like your mother.”
“It’s okay daddy; I am just glad you are back. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without you.”
She pressed herself closer to her father as tears of joy slipped down her face. This was what she had prayed for in the service, and now, she had the best Christmas gift she could ever desire. Her family together for Christmas.
“So, I brought home some frozen chicken and a crate of drinks,” dad said.
“Yeah!” they all squealed. A little something was better than nothing right?
May’s mother’s excellent Nigerian party jollof rice would go well with the chicken and drinks to suffice for a grand Christmas meal, Ese thought.
“It might not be much but it’s the least I could do not to make Christmas a total disaster, their father chuckled. “Oh and I got you these little trinkets for Christmas presents,” he added, bringing out a nylon bag of goodies he had hidden away behind him.
Christmas seemed to be shaping up nicely now. There was nothing a big piece of chicken wouldn’t solve.

The end.
Thanks for your time and happy new year in advance. See you in 2019!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

8 Things You Should Know About Medical Tourism


Every year, tons of Nigerians troop out of the country for medical care and with most skilled Doctors leading the way, it is no wonder those who can afford their services are heading out as well. A classic example would be our own Baba ‘Bubu’ who has gone a couple of times or more to the UK for ear infection treatment and other medical related issues. 


Tomislav Mestrovic (MD, PhD) defines Medical tourism as the process of people travelling from their country to another country to receive medical care. Even when patients travel from one city to another to receive medical, dental or surgical care that is called domestic medical tourism. This is one sector of tourism that can rake in a massive income that can improve the economy of our country - if the needs of our health sector are adequately met.
Here are a few things you need to know about medical tourism:
1. People engage in Medical tourism due to affordability, access to or availability of better healthcare services. Patients travel to receive the high-quality treatment they can’t get in their country or receive that same quality of treatment at a lower cost in another country. An example would be Nigerians travelling to India for Eye surgeries. Some people travel to other countries for procedures that are considered illegal or not yet approved in their country because of the health risk it poses. E.g. a transgender Nigerian travelling abroad for sex change surgery.


2. What really makes travelling for medical reasons tourism is when the patients are required to stay in a foreign country for a little while before being released to travel back home. In the time they are resting, that’s when they engage in tourist activities like city tours, visiting historical monuments and places, and any other tour activities.
3. Some hospitals provide accommodation (free) for patients and their caregivers to stay after being discharged from admission. The purpose is to make their stay in the country easier so they can be available for a regular check-up before they are cleared to go home. It is in this space of time that patients get the opportunity to become tourists during their stay.
4. Medical Tourism differs from Health Tourism. Medical tourism strictly refers to surgery (cosmetic and otherwise) while Health tourism is more inclusive. Health Tourism comprises a wide range of healthcare services like psychiatry, rehabilitation, burial, preventive and curative forms of treatments, etc. It also covers Wellness Tourism, fertility tourism, dental tourism, circumvention tourism among others. 


5. Medical Tourism Associations/Companies are responsible for bringing awareness of this industry internationally to consumers who travel for health care services. These companies not only make the medical options available, but they also coordinate the patients trip back and forth including visa processing and post-op care. They keep a list of certified healthcare providers safe to work with overseas and keep a detailed analysis of your health condition.
6.  We have a few Medical Tourism Companies in Lagos and Abuja. They link Nigerians with foreign hospitals, cheap medical facilities and improved health care both in Nigeria and abroad. They are Care Point Solutions, Medvisit, Redbridge healthcare and paradigm health care.
7. Nigeria as of 2016 was the leading African country in Medical Tourism. An average of a billion dollars is spent annually on medical tourism. The average medical tourist spends about $30,000 on each medical trip.
8. Medical Tourism opens up the country for integrated healthcare systems between local and international health providers. For example, Indian hospitals are opening health care centres in Nigeria to cater to specialised health care cases. This will improve our healthcare options within the country.

So the next time you have a relative or friend travelling for medical care, be a good buddy and find out a list of safe tourist activity or program they can attempt before they come home. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Writing Gigs you don't want to miss

Blogging is a path on its own and with a small community, it gets easy to take for granted the platform it affords us as writers. A lot has been going on with me in the last three months and it's been hard to show up on this blog as I used to. But that is still no excuse for my inconsistency and for that I apologise. 


Tomorrow by 8 - 9 am, I will be speaking on How to Write When You Can't on the Win Again Today Instagram platform along with my dear friend Xavier Ighorodje and the famed Edirin Edewor. For anyone who likes the idea of writing and always had a dream to write, this online conference is a great place to start. I will be explaining what writing as a career/skill is, how to acquire the skill of writing, what it takes to become a writer and how to find your unique voice/style of writing. We will look at genres of writing for both fiction and non-fiction to help you come to terms with which career path you should take if writing is your passion. 


This will be my second online speaking engagement this year, the first was early in the year when ChoWilson invited me as a guest judge for a flash fiction writing competition. We had the pleasure of reviewing stories sent in from aspiring writers and it was nice to see the world through the eyes of other people who are very different from me. That's the joy of reading, seeing the world from another perspective. My other speaking engagements have been offline. I don't refer to myself as a speaker because it takes away from the fact that my core desire is to write.  


Speaking of reading, I have had the joy of reading some books this year in line with my personal reading goals. Sure I read and write almost daily but it is usually research to get ideas for my column on Connect Nigeria (an online info portal). It is a column on Tourism and every time I write for it, my head is filled with ideas on how I could incorporate these places into a story. So if you are a writer, I would advise you to read my column as well. You can't grow reading only fiction or the genre you like, sometimes, you need to read widely. 

Back to the books I have read this year. I finally read the most talked about Young Adult fantasy novel in 2018, Children of Blood and Bone. For weeks since I finished it, I can't stop thinking about it. Now I know why it is all the rave. A part of me can't wait to see the movie of it because everywhere I turn I see potential actors for the characters in the story like Amari and Zele. I also wish they would act some parts in Nigeria, it would help to boost our tourism sector greatly.


Reading it made me want to start an online bookstore for ebook readers because I do have quite a large collection of ebooks. some I have read others I am yet to read. But more importantly, I am thinking of holding The Writers' Hub online workshop in November. It was slated for May but life took over. Maybe November is too far, Let's do it late October, early November. what say ye?

If you are interested in a one-on-one two weeks exclusive session with me to improve yourself as a writer? Type I am in below. The cost of the class is just N5000 and those who enrol will get a free copy of The Quilt (ebook) along with resource materials and writing assignments that will be overseen by me personally. You will also get a preview of my upcoming book, Troubled Horizon as well as a chance for me to read your manuscript of no more than 5,000 words. sounds like a sweet deal right? So what are you waiting for?

My Experience at the #CNWritersConference 2019

This year has been pretty busy for me with mini collaborations here and there that are yet to come into the limelight. Don't worry i wi...