Dateline: 26 October 2018
What a stroke of good fortune! The advance copy of my novel Imminent River makes an auspicious entrée right into the embrace of writers gathered at the 37th Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Int’l convention, Lagos. The book, nicely wrapped in the logo of Prima, the imprint of Narrative Landscape, global publishing’s new kid on the block, appears to be breathing, with a life of its own quite apart from the one bearing it. And who is this herald of the morn? None other than Eniye, lovely wife of publisher Dr Eghosa Imasuen, who instantly prettifies the atmosphere. (You met her or her namesake in FINE BOYS, didn’t you?) As she weaves her way through Oranmiyan Hall, Airport Hotel Ikeja where a mini-bookfair prefaces the convention’s opening ceremony, her smiling eyes are all excitement as she hands the package to me – like someone who had read the book and therefore now considers me (wrongly, I assure you) a sort of celebrity.
I dare not open the package myself, my heartbeats now in overdrive. Instead I hand the task to a curious Ekaete George, the gender rights advocate and Ediye obio Canaan poet who, by another beautiful augury, is sitting right next to me as we listen to Prof Karen King-Aribisala regale us with a master class of a keynote speech on Mega-cities and Mega-narratives, interspersed with songs, including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s ‘Suffering and Smiling’ that gets the audience in a sing-along.
I look away as the manicured fingers of Ekaete do the slow unwrapping, but when the book emerges, smooth and supple like a newborn babe, I am first to touch lips with the sleek, kiss-seeking cover. I’m sure you will too, as you lay your hands on one, when the books arrive in their full force, in December. That’s only a few weeks away, yet seemingly far, like a first nuptial night. This copy, meanwhile, is passed round like traditional kola nut, for benedictions and snap tastes.
How kind, this cover on my Ebedi Writers Residency baby, to serve as a door that opens to reads of the sweetest redolence. A rather prescient snap-reader has dubbed it ‘a buffet of love story, history and mystery’: how can I differ? All I can say is that this story offers nectar, even if the route to it (for the characters) is often strewn with sore thumbs, landmines and sometimes, Cyclops-sized obstacles. But you will savour the nectar, magicked out of the honey pot. Stay on the élan lane, as we await the promise of December.
NB: To book your copy in advance, stay on this page:
A.I.: Tel: 234 (0)818 107 3995.