All posts by richardalijos

Lawyer, Poet, Author of the novel City of Memories.

A review of my friend’s book!!!


Anyone who knows anything about third generation Nigerian writers would know that Victor Ehikhamenor is a big fish. You only need to have followed his column in the now defunct Next newspaper to agree. Excuse Me! is a timely collection of his writings.

I recall now the first time I came across Victor’s column online, I marvelled at the poetic flow of his sentences and how he managed to inform without depressing—even when the topic was Nigeria’s numerous sob stories. I also recall that I wondered – will I ever be able to write like this? I never could, his style was fluid, personal, a trademark that belonged only to him.

Like most young writers looking for a break, It was a feeling of self fulfilment that suffused my heart when, I think it was twice or thrice, my article appeared alongside Victor’s on Next’s famous front page. It was akin to…

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Random Book: Picture of Dorian Gray


I remember an idea l had in love affairs when l was younger the dregs of which remain, it was to love as a higher thing, elementally, as fire or sea or earth. Interminable, unriddable, love like that, self consuming and for love’s sake alone. I had read some Neruda poems as well, secondary school days.

I picked a random book off my shelf, turned out to be Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. I felt a strange pleasure, that not-good-enough word, to read Basil Hallward say “. . . I really can’t exhibit it. I have put too much of myself into it.

I remember an idea l had in love affairs when l was younger the dregs of which remain, it was to love as a higher thing, elementally, as fire or sea or earth. Interminable, unriddable, love like that, self consuming and for love’s sake alone. I had read some Neruda poems as well, secondary school days.

But then, one grows older and becomes like Hallward’s picture of Dorian Gray, kept in an attic. So I smile to read a confession of truth that will lead to tragic ends, written by an author soon to be disgraced. And l wonder if there isn’t someone out there becoming younger for the reason that l am growing older.


[Brittle Paper] The Irreverent Critic: Interview with Ikhide Ikheloa


If I was brave like Dambudzo Marechera, I would call them theFuck You! Generation. They have taken one look at thieving generations of intellectuals and politicians who did little or nothing for them and given them the middle finger. Good for them. Let’s be honest, the West has been intervening to save our writers from Day One. Where would Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, etc, be without the West? This generation does not have anyone but themselves and the Internet. I cannot in good conscience write them off. In fact, I sometimes wish that someone like Elnathan John or Richard Ali is thrown into solitary by some military goon so they can pen the next big one on toilet paper. That would be awesome.


Ikhide Ikheloa in an interview just out HERE on the Brittle Paper Blogazine.

I love it when I get mentions in interviews by my elders and my contemporaries especially when the interviews are extremely topical and important, and when the interviewer is competent. Ainehi Edoro is very competent in this interview on Nigerian and African writing and Ikhide Ikheloa is indeed a man of topical, and even controversial, opinions. Read the entire interview here and #share.

– Ra.

‘Sirees continued, on the alone-ness of the Syrian people: “Our people believe in God. And this is good. But when they start to think that they are alone, and only God is with them, this is…a problem. They fight [in] God’s name, because no one cares.”’

Arabic Literature (in English)

Syrian author Nihad Sirees was recently on CNN and the BBC’s The Strand:

sireesThe CNN piece interlaces the interview a bit…oddly…with somewhat random footage from Syria. In any case, CNN’s Becky Anderson first asks Sirees about his novel The Silence and the Roar, recently translated by Max Sirees and published in the UK in January (Pushkin Press) and the US next month (Other Press). Anderson notes that there are no place-names in The Silence and the Roar and yet “everyone knows” it’s about Syria.

“This is my role as a writer,” Sirees says. “It’s important that literature talks about these problems early, very early.”

Anderson notes that Sirees has left Aleppo, in part not to be silenced, and asks — since he can speak freely — what he wants to say about the country. He says “I want to say that what is going on in Syria is very dangerous…

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“Modern Girls”. Brilliant short story from Teju Cole. There’s a downloadable MP3 at the bottom. The reading is okay. Effective. Do read.

– Ra.


In those days, the trucks came by a dirt road that branched off the expressway. The road was fringed by forest. By the time the trucks arrived at the school, they were covered in dust. On the first day of each new term, we saw men unloading baskets of tomatoes, bunches of unripe plantain, rice in sacks, and bitterleaf. The men, too, were covered in dust. We stood in our freshly-starched uniforms — blue and white check blouses, dark blue pinafores — and gossiped about what we’d done and who we’d seen on vacation, watching them work. The loads of food passed from hand to hand, as did boxes of school supplies: exercise books, ink, blotting paper. The men were dark and thin, and they had bodies made muscular by long manual labor. When they finished working, they clambered into the backs of the trucks, and left us in our…

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Moonchild's Temple

By Kalyani

Indian writing, like Nigerian writing, came under the umbrella of Commonwealth literature on account of its status as a member of the Commonwealth, and as a former colony of the British Empire. The broader label of postcolonial literature has also been used to describe Indian writing in English in more recent times.

Indian writing dates back to the period 1500- 1200 BC when the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were written. The earliest known Indian writing is in Sanskrit. Modern India has twenty- two officially recognized languages. Each of these languages boasts of a considerable body of literature. Indians are very proud of their writers. There is plenty of writing going on, in the various genres of prose, poetry, and drama. It is a vibrant writing scene. The major publishers are Penguin, India, Oxford University Press, Macmillan, and Orient Longman which changed its name to Orient Blackswan in the…

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Blogging for this Dummy


So, I am sitting in front of my computer in my typically disordered room and I am quite terrified. Some music is coming in from God knows where, the beat sounds cheap and toxic and does not help calm me in anyway. Over the fence at the Plateau Polytechnic, the women who run the bukaterias continue their noisy rivalries—someone says something about a girl who got pregnant. Another asks if someone else is not coming along. And here I am, arbiter of all this, a guy with a receding hairline wearing glasses and little else, who has decided to set up a regular blog. Yes, I’m that sort of dummy and the rant so far is to mask my cluelessness about what to write here.

I can’t say that this blog will always be about literature and women, as my cousin Gimba Kakanda’s blog [or politics and commonsense], especially because literature and women interest me only some, scratch that, most, of the time. But at those times when I am unliterary and un-womanizing, I may attempt to blog funny posts, like my friend Elnathan John. Thankfully, I won’t ever know if you laugh at the funny posts or not. So, that’s good. Ah yes, but I have a page for my Current Crusades.

Current Crusades will be where I share my great wisdoms with you as they reveal themselves to me—like the realization that moon is made of cheese and that the Italians have blocked thsi knowledge. Or it may be something about reproductive health. Who knows? I’m a prophet, you see.

I will sometimes post short stories, sometimes poems, sometimes the news that my girlfriend is pregnant or that she has left me. Again. I may write about pretty flowers named Neemata or my fear of injections.  Ey, who knows, I may even write about food—I love food, but cannot cook. I hope enthusiasm counts for something.

Well, in my country, we call doing stuff while you are terrified “freestyling”. So, the Richard Ali blog will do this for who am I to challenge the wisdom of my country? I will freestyle, and try to steal 500 words in minutes of your time every now and then. Dont forget to hit the #like and #share buttons every now and then.