It isn’t every day that you spend one evening with Chimamanda, her parents, Eghosa Imasuen, Binyavanga Wainaina and an army of people who came because we shared a common love- Literature.
The anticipation for this year’s Farafina trust had me in Lagos two days before and on the D-day, three hours early. No Lagos traffic, real or imagined would get in my way. LOL
I knew what to expect from the evening: talks, interactions and people. Especially the people. I had met fabulous people from such literary gatherings before, Alvan, Jessica (@bey_bitrus on twitter), Ebube( @Ebubay on twitter), I was looking forward to meeting a lot more and I did.
I do not know exactly when, but we were at the cocktail area when Chimamanda appeared, I thought she was more beautiful in person. The first time that I saw her TED talk; ‘the danger of a single story’, good friend Kelechi Ahunanya who showed me the video enthused: “Olivia watch out for those eyes”. We were in the same room now, I was definitely watching out for those eyes. LOL
Chimamanda talked a little about why she started the workshop. she shared how validation is important to writers and also how important it is that different approaches to writing be explored with the overall goal of making better the craft, skill and talent of participants of the creative writing workshop.
All through that evening there was a safety that existed. That you could start a conversation with the person sitting next to you about any literary topic and they will not come up blank: will not look at you like you speak a foreign language. This was validated when my seat neighbour who is a writer (going for an MFA. Which is super cool!) asked for my thoughts on Fiction and its different kinds. It was superb.
The Beat Fm’s Olisa Adibua supplied the conversation all night as compere
Binyavanga talked, answered questions- and that was priceless
Eghosa Imasuen told his Doctor-to writer story
I spoke with Chimamanda’s father (and it wasn’t in English) and
Phyno was thrown into the mix. Nobody’s Friday night was better. Nobody!