All posts by richardalijos

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


Really gorgeous poetry from Pearl Osibu.

Fifty Shades Of Me


To be with you is

To be bathed in light is

To eat ambrosia is

To drink from clear springs is

To sniff the earthy smell of the first rains is

To sniff the earthy smell of the first rains is

To feel the first warning chill of the Harmattan winds is

To stand in that indistinguishable line in the rainbow

Where Indigo melds into violet is

To snuff out a candle and follow the smoke                                                                     Whose trail is the scribbling of wonders unknown is

To hover in the timeless instance between tick and tock
Where one second greets the next is

To stand on a hair and straddle the line
Where love is hate and…

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Achebe’s Long Journey Home

Moonchild's Temple

There was nothing more striking about Chinua Achebe’s funeral than the ambiance  for how does one mourn a man who had become an ancestor while still very much alive? And perhaps caught in this conundrum, events to mark the funeral, euphemistically dubbed ‘transition’, were tinged with an ambiance of a celebratory sense of loss.

He had accomplished more than he had envisaged, perhaps, more than was envisaged for him. And had, by all his accomplishments, risen to the point where the Archbishop of Aba Anglican Province, Ikechi Nwachucku Nwosu said of him: “There are some people who cannot be buried.”

The mortal remains of Achebe were lowered into his grave at a mausoleum built within the walls of his house in his native Ogidi, Anambra State. That was where he was born in 1930. The little town was graced by Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan and his Ghanaian counterpart John Mahama, several state governors…

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Some Parents Don’t Get It

Gorgeous new blog from Pearl Osibu.

Fifty Shades Of Me

Alvarado, Cassandre 2009

Her problem was N50 and you had better believed it. I listened to her tell the person on the other end of the line that she will not be able to make the detour because it will cost fifty Naira extra. I heard her say “I no go fit come oh, abi will you support our transport?” the ‘our’ being she and her son whom she was carrying on her laps, and the person must have said he could not because she then decided to go on home. I knew it was a man because she kept saying “oga.” I mouthed at her “fifty Naira, Maryland to Allen is fifty Naira” but she said she was going home anyway. That was when I realized that fifty Naira was a big deal.

I was on a bus going home from Tejuosho market and this lady having this phone conversation was…

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Literary Prizes: Joining the Caine Prize ‘Blog-Carnival’

Last week saw the announcement of the shortlist for the 14th Caine Prize for African Writing. The shortlist of 5 stories was selected by judges Gus Casely-Hayford (Chair), Sokari Douglas Camp, John Sutherland, Nathan Hensley and Leila Aboulela out of 96 submissions from 16 African countries. While in the last 5 years the shortlist has always represented a geographical spread of writers from East, Southern and West Africa, this year the shortlist is made up of writing from West Africa alone – with 4 of the 5 shortlisted writers from Nigeria. The shortlisted stories are:

Whispering Trees

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On African Writing and Adjectives



 For the avoidance of doubt, I am a “northern Nigerian writer”, I am a “Nigerian writer”, I am an “African writer” and I am a “world literature writer”. My writing is the product of all the nuances each of these geo-polities, in succession and in strengths discrete and great, give me. 

Further for the avoidance of doubt, I dissociate myself from the neutral, neutered idea that is called being “just a writer”. I am all my adjectives, each is held dear. I am a synthesis, bearing antithesis in my womb. And what is that but adjectives in flux seeking identity?

The writer is the sum of his experiences, and he stands above these.