Thursday 3 October 2013

Poetry Interview pt 3

Afam Akeh, is the author of Letter Home & Biafran Nights, a delightful poetry collection, with lines so quotable yet haunting.

In spite of his hectic schedule, the poet obliged me an interview, here is an excerpt:

Uche Peter Umez: There is almost a palpable sense of looking back in many of the poems in your collection. A masked feeling of nostalgia, the inexorable pull of memory. This image in the poem ‘Letter Home’ (pg 5) vividly captures this fact for me:

…the gecko
seeking warmth
behind shut doors
to its new perch,
dreaming of home
in another life.
The familiar dream
a constant lure…

How much of your ‘travel guilt’ still clings to you? Have you been unable to shed much of it?

Afam Akeh: Memory is not always friendly. I carry my immigrant travel guilt with me always – not in any disabling way, but in the sense that I am frequently reminded of it by daily encounters. I am acutely aware that I am not alone in these paths taken, but have also committed my children and possibly their children...

you can read the whole interview on Africa in Words

Poetry Interview pt 2

Tade Ipadeola, is the author of an impressive poetry volume, The Sahara Testaments, which is on the shortlist of the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature.

I recently interviewed the poet, here is an excerpt:

"Uche Umez: The Sahara Testaments appears to be the largest volume of poetry by a Nigerian I have read in recent times. 184 pages. How long did it take you to write such an impressive volume? Was there a point when you thought it wasn’t worth completing and had to give up?

Tade Ipadeola: I’m sure there are larger volumes of poetry out there. The thing with poetry though, is that size means nothing if there is no substance to it. People study Elizabeth Browning’s incredibly long poem, Aurora Leigh, as well as the really slim Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti. The actual writing of The Sahara Testaments took about four years, although the material had been gathering in my mind since 2003..."

but you can read the whole interview on Brittle Paper

Tuesday 1 October 2013

2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000 – 5000 words) in English. Submissions must be made by the author of the short story. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible.

Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before beginning the online entry process. No entries will be considered if received after the closing date unless given prior consent from the Prize Administrator at

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions if you are uncertain about any aspect of the entry process.

Entry rules here

You can visit the website


Mother at 53

Today, motherland is 53. So I tried composing an ode for her, but I'm torn and too stumped by her ineptitude and indifference to fend for her diverse children.


I want to call you Mother,
with a child’s heart
that is blind
to your scars
and sores:

your desire for what’s ugly
and brutal
your body shot through with waste
age scored with blood –
I want to love you


sing an ode to you
but images of you
wrench from my heart
a threnody

photo credit: