By Sunday T. Saheed
old age doesn’t wear us off
our beauty, it soaks our tongues instead
with acidic rum of an earthenware till
taste is a myth we were once told.
in every raffia mat we spread,
we find cockroaches crawl out
of the thin lines between the earth &
our soles. This is the third time
the hefty man at the door rattles the bell
—the next ring, always louder than the
previous. Everything herein fleets
—black hair, strong gums & straightened
By Marycynthia Chinwe Okafor
The airport in Asaba was more colourful and less crowded than the one you left more than twelve hours ago. Undertones of thick Hausa and boisterous Yoruba could be heard over the prime notes of the airport's automated voice, and it was a welcomed relief to you. But best of all, you could hear the intimate sound of home in the quiet Igbo that rolled out the tongue of most returnees and their families and friends as they embraced.
Smiling widely as embraces turned into long hard squeezes, you turned in a circle and breathed in home. Your smile exploded into a loud laugh when beefy arms snatched you from behind and lifted you off your feet moments before hands grabbed at you and other arms engulfed you.
They laughed with you and spoke over each other an exciting symphony. "Nnoo, welcome. Kedu? How was your trip? Did you ever see snow?" And you tried to answer every one of their questions as cheerfully as they had asked.
The drive—in the bus your family had come to pick you up in—from Asaba to Onitsha was short but not short of excitement. They had since stopped asking questions and were catching you up on recent happenings, ones they had told you about in their steady email to you:
The winner of September Giveaway is Ginika Ifeabunike
This giveaway is courtesy of SprinNG and Roving Heights Bookstore.
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By Opeyemi Oluwayomi
After: Betiku A. Samuel
-- ‘There are many hands here burying the sky.’
When the whites return to our cloth; used, we gleefully
cover our nakedness and gird our loins with African
pride. At that moment, we were like Zion that dreameth,
and we were glad to own our musty-ameliorated attire.
Recently, as we grow in our palmar flexion creases like
flowers in sandy soil, we clocked sixty-two in the callus
Tomilola Coco Adeyemo was born in the small town of Okemesi Ekiti in the late 80s and grew up in the ancient city of Ibadan, Nigeria. She graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, where she studied Dramatic Arts and majored in playwriting. The following year obtained a diploma in screenwriting from the Royal Art Academy in Lagos.
As a storyteller, Tomilola has published a few bestselling romances in E-book format on platforms like Bambooks and Okadabooks and has credited works as a Researcher, Writer & Story editor in Nollywood. Her screen credits include the hit MNET telenovela, Hush, MTV Shuga Naija Season 3, PinPoint Media’s hit sitcom Man Pikin and Nollywood’s first feature-length animation, Lady Buckitt & the Motley Mopsters.
Tomilola is an avid fan of romance and believes there is a need for more work spotlighting the female gaze in and out of the genre. Her major influences include Sefi Atta, Pam Godwin, the late Amaka Igwe, and Chris Ihidero. In addition, she continues to draw inspiration from classic African literature and media, the sounds of Fela Anikulapo – Kuti and Nina Simone, and the pains and struggles highlighted in their music and lives as social commentators and activists. In 2019 Tomilola was acknowledged by Connect Nigeria for her contribution to the Nigerian literary space. And in August 2022, she was named Brittle Paper author of the month after a successful run of her romance submission Efun’s Jazz on the Pan-African literary website.
By Adedayo Onabade
Q: Kudos to you for being Brittle Paper’s Writer of the Month for August and your most recent work, 'Efun's Jazz,' which explored the intersection of love and spirituality. What influences gave birth to the story of Nicole and Laja?
A: Thank you! Honestly, I’d say my whole life. I was raised in a very conventional Christian home, and although Efun’s Jazz explores Yoruba spirituality and that was something we were never exposed to, my family is VERY Yoruba, and as kids, my siblings and I (raised in Ibadan) visited Yoruba towns like Abeokuta, Emure Ekiti, Efon Alaaye, etc. and my parents raised us with the Yoruba language while exposing us to the Yoruba way of life.
My Dad, for instance, speaks the Oyo dialect and my mom and her siblings speak fluent Ekiti (Efon Alaaye) dialect. As an adult, however, I became more interested in Yoruba spirituality, history, and myths of creation. In the past year alone, I have digested more knowledge on Yoruba spirituality, history, culture, and the myth of origin than I ever have. And believe me, I had a very Yoruba childhood, lol. So, the thing about digesting things as a creative is that you always find an outlet. That outlet birthed Efun’s Jazz and eventually the Fated duet.
By Hamed Wareez Adedapo
Oh yes, even if I travel far and wide,
Down into the ocean,
And into the sky at large
But I will still call Ibadan my home.
One day I might have to leave,
To a new town for bread to fill my stomach,
Or to widen my coast,
Might someday go to London,
Or far away to the east,
But I will never stop calling Ibadan my home.
By Chisom M. Eze
The sun chose to be cradled in my chest,
the center of the universe,
where my heart lies and her head rests.
RE: Atlas and the heavens on his shoulders.
All this passion
compressed into a lump of needless energy.
No wonder my heart constantly burns
pumping my veins full of fire.