Wednesday, December 30, 2009

At the threshold of 2010

After today by the special grace of the Almighty, I shall arrive at New Year's eve. I shall be spending the night of the New Year's eve with my wife and children attending the last night of Giant Strides crossover services into 2010 at the Hope of Glory International Christian Centre, in Plumstead. I look forward to Victor Iruobe's insightful and energetic word on the night.

2009 has been a year of several highs as well as several lows for me. It was also a year in which I made so many worng choices, took on too many projects at the same time, and all suffered in one way or another. I also spent more time than necessary on social networking; tweeting, facebooking, beboing and so on.

In 2010, I am praying for the grace to streamline my work and make the fewer projects bigger and more successful. I am praying for the discipline to do the social network thing at the weekends only. I ask all my friends and associates who for some inexplicable reason prefer to send important messages to me on Facebook rather than one of my standard e-mail addresses to note that in 2010 I will not see any messages on Facebook until the weekends, in which case they might be late. My best e-mail addresses are:

If you send to my facebook e-mail address i.e. I may never see it.

Better still call or text me +44 7812 755 751

Ah, 2009, I shall remember you as the year that Sentinel Poetry Movement moved forward in realising some of our long-held dreams. In November 2009 we successfully established the Nigerian chapter of Sentinel, and published Champion Poems our new print magazine of selected poems from the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition series. We also held the first Sentinel Literature Festival in London. In 2009, Excel for Charity - the writing competition series I established in late 2008 successfully held two writing competitions in aid of Diversity House and the Psychiatry Research Trust. A paperback version of Blue Hyacinths - an anthology of selected poems from the Diversity House (Excel for Charity) Poetry Competition 2009 edited by Geoff Stevens and Nnorom Azuonye was published on 28th of December and is available for purchase or download now at: Buy Blue Hyacinths

I can also now announce that My Trousers are Longer than Yours - an anthology of short stories examining the shifting gender roles in the Nigerian family edited by Chika Unigwe will be in all good bookshops including in the 3rd week of January 2010. I wish to thank all the contributors for their patience while I dealt with many issues on the way to realising this project.

I truly thank God for my health, and the lives of my mother and my parents-in-law, my wonderful wife Thelma NwamAmaka, my exceptionally glorious children Arinzechukwu Chinedum Nnorom and Nwachiamanda Ola Akuoma. I thank God for the love of my brothers and sisters Chukwuma, Ikechukwu, Ndubuisi, Adindu, Uzoma, Obioma, Uchechukwu, Chike, Chukwuemeka, Kodi, Kelechukwu, and Chinyere. May God's ministering angels also reach out and protect my brothers and sisters in law, my nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-niece, cousins, uncles, friends and associates. May the year 2010 be a year of triumphs in everything we do in the powerful name of our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I also pray for the souls of friends, and artists who went into transition in 2009 including Chienyem Okoroafor-Nwosu, Michael Joseph Jackson, and Dennis Vincent Brutus. I also remember my incredible only uterine sister Ngozi 'the wind' Ezeobi (1956 - 2008), I cannot believe it has been more than a year since you continued your journey, Ngozi, be well. My father Stephen Onyemaechi Azuonye (1916 -1982), my brother Chidi Iroanusi Azuonye (1963-1982), my fantastic nephew, the majestic mista mystic Nnamdi Obioha Azuonye (1982 - 2001). You travellers gone, I thank you all for the love we shared while you lived among us, and I thank God for the privilege of knowing you and for the honour of calling you nephew, sister, father, brother, friend, inspiration. God bless you.

2010, here we come.

Happy New Year to all.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dennis Brutus rests

After a most beautiful Christmas Day celebration with my brothers, our wives and children yesterday, I woke up this morning to the news that a Nigerian wanted to blow up a plane. As serious as at is, I was very pleased that he did not succeed. But as I was ready to swing back into the mood of the season, I learnt from the Blogazette Newsreel that Dennis Brutus checked out today. One of Africa's great poetic voices. He will be missed.

Dennis Vincent Brutus, 1924-2009
by Patrick Bond

World-renowned political organizer and one of Africa's most celebrated poets, Dennis Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85.

Even in his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from apartheid. He was a leading plaintiff in the Alien Tort Claims Act case against major firms that is now making progress in the US court system.

Brutus was born in Harare in 1924, but his South African parents soon moved to Port Elizabeth where he attended Paterson and Schauderville High Schools. He entered Fort Hare University on a full scholarship in 1940, graduating with a distinction in English and a second major in Psychology. Further studies in law at the University of the Witwatersrand were cut short by imprisonment for anti-apartheid activism.

Full article >


There is a postcard from yesterday on my desk
that tells the story of a yester-Christmastime,
of a village air taut with the aroma of burning hair;
goats' hair, cows' hair, and sheep's hair licked by
frond fires - in rears of houses where the animals
bleed from slit throats into the gullets of the earth.

Outside the African food shop in Woolwich, where
I shop for miserable portions of Oha leaves,
icy winds there hit me like a thousand knives -
winds that bear no clouds of beautiful tropical dust
raised by dancing feet of festive masquerades
and of women swinging to Nwangelenge xylophones.

Christmas will arrive tomorrow and London streets
will fall asleep, empty, like an endangered city
evacuated on the account of a plague.
There are no girls modelling Christmas clothes here;
pulling targets of on heat boys with fresh haircuts
asking of everyone, 'Dance Christmas for me.'

At times like this I wish to stand on a mountain
with a placard that says "MISSING TIME: CHRISTMAS
hijacked by the heathen, hedonised, violated."
Jesus the Christ's birthday party has transfigured,
and is now a carnival of Visa and Mastercard tricks
of over-eating, over-drinking, over-sexing, over-everything.

- Nnorom Azuonye
London, Christmas Eve 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Mugs of coffee hot on my lips
Radiator set to the maximum
Doors and windows firmly shut
To keep the chill out
To think that now at Isuikwuato
Doors and windows may be open
Palm Wine and Deer kind on tongue
It's man bonding with nature
Now tell me where is the sanity
In leaving sunshine and its warmth
In leaving that buzz of the village square
to come and live in a freezer
Damn! I'm going home someday
Good or bad to Isuikwuato
Where the world is sweet
And it's all mine, at Isuikwuato
Where the hunting knives
Their blades aglint
I want to see the sun rise
Over the hills and the palms
It is the only world I know
Where I'd like to walk on sand
And not on cold mounds of snow.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recent stuff online

A Father's Story

On Father's Day 2009, I read an early version of my everyman's poem "A Father's Story" in front of many fathers and future fathers in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Dartford, UK. I have since shared "A Father's Story" with friends on Facebook, and in December 2009, it was retold in the webzine Ink Sweat & Tears.

Enjoy the poem.

What is Illuminating about Adichie's 'The Danger of a Single Story'?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the golden girl of Nigerian literature we all love to bits. As a literary ambassador of Nigeria and Africa, she gets to talk about Africa vs the World a bit. In The Danger of a Single Story, she delivers a lecture on a subject so old the cobwebs on them have grey beards: If you have just one side of a story, you could be thoroughly misunderstood. This short essay in Maple Tree Literary Supplement (Issue 5, December 2009) is a quick post-mortem on Adichie's great new idea.

Enjoy the essay.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sentinel Literature Festival


As part of the celebration of its 7th year in service to world literature from its base in Britain, Sentinel Poetry Movement is set to run a three-day Festival of Poetry, Fiction, Music and Fun. The time for the performances is 7pm to 10pm on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of December 2009.

The festival will open with a short report on 7 years of Sentinel Poetry Movement by founder Nnorom Azuonye who also doubles as the Festival Director. This report will then be followed by poetry and fiction readings and performances, and live music by, among others, the headline acts: Harry Zevenbergen poet, performer and citypoet of Den Haag, author of “Punk in Rhenen”, Tony Fernandez - author of “The Sound of Running Water” and Editor of Africa Awakening magazine, Lookman Sanusi - a theatre practitioner, fiction writer and author of “Skeleton”, Nnorom Azuonye - editor of Sentinel Literary Quarterly and author of “The Bridge Selection: Poems for the Road”, Clare Saponia – a young voice with publications in The Recusant, Platform, Red Poets, Inclement and Pennine Ink. There is also Afam Akeh – founding editor of African Writing and author of “Stolen Moments” and “Letter Home and Other Poems”, Chika Unigwe - author of the bestselling novel “On Black Sisters’ Street”, and Malgorzata Kitowski – one of the foremost Poetry Film-makers in London and author of “Doppelgangers”. The three-day play will be concluded on the 3rd of December by the performance of “Sampo: Heading Further North” by the Middlesbrough duo Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie. SAMPO: HEADING FURTHER NORTH is a spoken word and music extravaganza of story telling, lyric poetry, beat sensibilities and postmodern experimentation by poets Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby with musical collaboration by world music duo Gobbleracket based on the Finnish myth cycle Kalevela connecting to their north eastern identity, it has toured the north to critical acclaim and is now heading further south! With its South London Premiere. Live music on the first two evenings of the Festival will be provided by South Africa-born Italian Folk Jazz singer songwriter Aletia Upstairs. The line-up includes new songs and others from her debut album, “Possibility”

The Festival will take place at two venues. On Tuesday the 1st and Wednesday the 2nd of December, the events will take place at Waterloo Gallery, Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Road, London SE1 7AA. Then on Thursday the 3rd of December the festival moves to Play Space, 1 Coral Street, London SE1 1BE. Both venues located across the road from the Old Vic are literally 2 minutes’ walk from Waterloo Station (Northern Line and British Rail), and about 4 minutes from Southwark Station (Jubilee Line).

For convenience, the £6.00 per day tickets can be purchased in advance from the Festival website, or at the door.
More information available at
Tel: 0870 127 1967 or 07812 755751

Nnorom Azuonye
Festival Director

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here is an up to date list of poetry and short story competitions organised by Excel for Charity and Sentinel Poetry Movement. (The Ambit competition originally posted on this page jas since closed.)

Check out the poetry and short story competitions list here>

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Psychiatry Research Trust Competition Results Announced

The results of the Psychiatry Research Trust (Excel for Charity) Poetry Competition 2009 organised by Eastern Light EPM International have been announced. This competition has been held in aid of the Psychiatry Research Trust - a UK charity committed to finding solutions for the eradication of mental illness.

The First Prize winner of the competition is Molly Case with "NIGHT SHIFT ON THE DEMENTIA FLOOR." Second Prize went to Roger Elkin with THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A W, and Third prize was won by Neil Bates with LEARNING TO FLY.

There are four Highly Commended entries, namely: 65 YEARS AGO by Corrinna Toop, DOLPHINING by Angela Thomas, CARTING STONE by Roger Elkin and HER FIRST LESSON IN SIGN LANGUAGE by Don Dixon.

Congratulations to all the prize winners and the highly commended poets. Special respect to Roger Elkin who has given hundreds of poets unforgettable guidance as a teacher and as a former editor of Envoi. It is fantastic to see him continue to notch up wins across many competitions in the UK. Elkin you might recall also won the First Prize in the first Excel for Charity poetry competition in which was held in aid of Diversity House this year.

If you are interested in reading the report by Gerald England, the judge of the just concluded competition go to:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Songs for Wonodi - Publisher's Devil in Overdrive

Just a few months before my good friend Molara Wood left her life in London to join Next - that paper that is stealing Nigerian writers including Tolu Ogunlesi and Toni Kan from other employers, she mentioned to me a new call for submissions for an Anthology to be edited by Dike Okoro. Incidentally, just a few days earlier, I had chanced on a review on the Internet of Songs for Wonodi edited by Dike Okoro. This review by Jessica Bastidas had a sectioned that mentioned my name in this context:

Despite all the emptiness that was felt, they never stopped believing and never stopped loving. Although many other poems described the love for one’s country, Nnorom Azuonye reveals that insatiable love in “My homeland”.

They lie like bitter, twisted ruins
Battered by wind, age, and rain
Because once in them, they exude
A generosity of spirit, second to none.
Poverty, sickness, and diseases
I do not deny
The tantalizing taste of uziza
The tingling sensation of suya
Are all witnesses to my secret deal
With Africa, my beautiful homeland. (68)

Words as “bleak,” “corruption,” “deceptive,” “awe,” and “allure” all describe what is seen that the eyes cannot behold. Azuonye uses these words to describe the overall physical and emotional devastation. Even though only remnants remain of what once were there, the memories that live in those remnants, no matter how small, are never forgotten. That force to never letting go, no matter what ails them, is vivid.

I said to Molara, 'I recall sending some poems to Dike. He never got back to me to say he would use the poems, only for me to see a review in which a poem attributed to me is quoted.' I use the word attributed because, first of all, I DO NOT recall writing a poem entitled 'My Homeland.' Secondly, as I read those lines, as beautiful as they are, they didn't sound like me. Everything I have ever written, good or bad writing, depending on the judge, I have deliberately written as it is and I would recognise my words any time any place and I certainly did not write the words being attributed to me. Unless of course I was drunk, and I have been drunk a few times in my life. Even as I write this, I have prepared myself for lunch with half a glass of Chianti - which on an empty stomach makes me feel a little like I have had a Gulder or two.

Molara was kind enough to provide Dike Okoro's email address to me, and I wrote to request a copy of the book. Several e-mails later and a few reminders on Facebook messaging service, the book arrived this morning. As I searched for my name and my poems, I chuckled when I saw Amatoritsero Ede's legendary difficult name severally and insistently printed as 'Amaritsero.' 'Fuck! Dike, Amatoritsero will kill you,' I said to myself as I thumbed through the book. Then I found my name. Two poems appeared under my name; 'Isuikwuato' my favourite poem about my village which I wrote in 1989 when my life was still full of hope and optimism, first published in Summer 1990 in Agenda (UK), and 'My Homeland' which I did not recognise, because I did not write it when my life was at any kind of point - in fact, I did not write it at all.

It was like a Mike Tyson punch below the belt. The first thing that caused me severe pain was that the last line of Isuikwuato in Songs for Wonodi reads: Jenna Nkechy Akuchie, just after the actual last line; 'without fear or pain.' So anybody who reads this poem will be completely disorientated as the last line does not make any sense at all with regards to the rest of the poem.

Then I spent a few minutes looking at the notes on contributors and found an entry for a Jenna Nkechy Akuchie author of the 1994 poetry collection Crossing the Frontiers. (I wonder if Jenna is in any way related to fellow Umuahian and old friend Reginald Akuchie). There are no notes on a person known as Nnorom Azuonye. Poor Jenna does not appear in the Contents pages at all.

I suspect that 'My Homeland' was written by Jenna Nkechy Akuchie. This means that Jessica Bastidas' review should have read:

Despite all the emptiness that was felt, they never stopped believing and never stopped loving. Although many other poems described the love for one’s country, Jenna Nkechy Akuchie reveals that insatiable love in “My homeland”.

They lie like bitter, twisted ruins
Battered by wind, age, and rain
Because once in them, they exude
A generosity of spirit, second to none.
Poverty, sickness, and diseases
I do not deny
The tantalizing taste of uziza
The tingling sensation of suya
Are all witnesses to my secret deal
With Africa, my beautiful homeland. (68)

Words as “bleak,” “corruption,” “deceptive,” “awe,” and “allure” all describe what is seen that the eyes cannot behold. Akuchie uses these words to describe the overall physical and emotional devastation. Even though only remnants remain of what once were there, the memories that live in those remnants, no matter how small, are never forgotten. That force to never letting go, no matter what ails them, is vivid.

I was going to send this to Dike in private, but the reviews of this book are in the public domain, and dear Jenna must have been finding it extremely annoying. I would.

I am sorry Jenna

I didn't mean to steal your thunder

I didn't edit that anthology

And I didn't publish it.

I am sorry Jenna

If you want to hold somebody's neck

Try Dike Okoro's and bosses at Malthouse Press

What kind of excuses will they have?

I am convinced that Dike Okoro and Malthouse Press have been aware of the screw up on My Homeland but have made no attempt at a corrigendum whatsoever - even with a small note in response to the review by Jessica Bastidas, or a note inserted in copies of the book as they sell them.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introducing Sentinel Nigeria

Sentinel Literary Movement of Nigeria (SLMN) is now open for business. This is the fruition of a long-held dream and has been entrusted to a young man; Richard Ugbede Ali who has been a member of Sentinel Poetry Movement since 2003. Richard understands the Sentinel mission of contributing to the development of the literatures of the world by bringing together every writer - beginner or established - in a community where they can all learn from each other, and birth powerful creative works that will outlive our generation. Richard brings on board the energy of youth and optimism and shall work with a team of his own choosing to bring his visions of a Nigeria-specific literary community to life.

From the International Administrative domain of Sentinel Poetry Movement, I will chair Richard's Executive and Editorial Boards in a supporting rather than guiding manner in other not to interfere with the his autonomy and editorial policies.

I am excited about the wealth of poetry, fiction, drama, essays, interviews, reviews and biographies that will be published in the Sentinel Nigeria - the online magazine of contemporary Nigerian writing which SLMN will publish quarterly from 31st of January 2010.

To learn more about SLMN and get involved, go to


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obiwu's Biafran Hunting


By Obiwu

On the other side of the road, behind the rowed outlays of mud fences, farther in the farmlands of Ezeowere, the town’s boys were abroad scouting earth-holes to catch slumbering rabbits in their surprised lair. My brother Emman and my cousins Anyïam, Cletus, Edison, Goddy, Isaac, Isaiah, Japheth, Jonah, Jonathan, Josiah, Nwachukwu, Chukwumaobi, Obi, Princewill, and Sunday were the trapsters of the Agbarama kindred. I discovered that humans learned architectural art from rabbit holes.

“Rabbit holes are not like a lion’s den,” Isaiah was saying, “with one entry and no exit. Where every animal that enters must kill all others to show its strength.”

“Nigeria was a lion’s den,” Isaiah joked to the half-hearted laughter of everyone.

“Every rabbit hole has an exit ten to twenty feet from the entry point,” Goddy continued, obviously addressing younger ones like me. “More ambitious rabbits have their exits much further. You must first comb out the exit route before you assault the entry point. Now, mass out!”

Quickly, we stuffed dry leaves and small sticks into a small round clay pot with a round opening rigged at the base. Then we put in flaming coals from a bonfire which we had made for the occasion. More dry leaves and sticks were pushed into the pot that smoldered amidst thick smokes that escaped from both the nozzle and the bottom opening. Goddy stooped on his knees to examine the entry point again.

“It is in there alright,” he said of the encircled rabbit. “The footprints are fresh.”

All the big boys fanned out in a circle. The diggers, who used a hoe, and the smoke-pot blowers crouched at the entry and took turns at their tasks. Others held machetes, cutlasses, and heavy sticks at the ready, including those who kept guard at the exit route. Smaller boys like me stayed out of the line of attack and kept watch at both the identified exit and the surrounding bushes. The rabbit was a trickster, and often misled its hunters with false exits while keeping another exit shrouded in a stupefying overgrowth. A determined rabbit inhaled a large volume of smoke and then blew it back into the smoke-pot and unto the surprised face of the blower who was left choking, coughing, and staggering in confusion. If others were not watchful the rabbit used that instant to stage its escape through the exit. Some daring rabbits had been known to push through the smoke-pot stuck fast in the entry point.

“Stop!” Goddy called on the diggers.

They had broken through some tiny pebbles and half-eaten bits of wood that dammed up the inner chamber of the hole as a protective wall against invaders like us.

“The digging has gone deep enough,” said Goddy. “See freshly cracked kernel shells. See the hard and smooth floor of the hole. Here is the living room.”

Goddy paused to study the rabbit stool in his palm.

“The round pellets are too uneven. It seems we have more than one rabbit here. Let’s smoke them out!”

The smoke blowers went to work, thrusting the hub of the smoke-pot into the hole and blowing air through the round opening at the bottom. The result was instantaneous.
“It is here!” screamed the watchers at the other end.

Some of us ran over to see the sharp tugging at the exit which had been plugged with wood. Before we knew it the plugs were pushing out of the exit-hole and two giant rabbits were scrambling between our feet into the disturbed bushes. There was a pandemonium as we jumped and screamed in a tumultuous din. But before the big boys could regroup to wield their arsenal the unthinkable happened. The fleeing rabbits ran right back into their hole again. It was mystifying because none of us had ever seen anything like that. An animal in flight stayed in forward motion, not running backward to the same hole from which it had just escaped annihilation. All of us stood aghast watching the gaping hole. The bedlam had just as quickly died down and one could almost hear the sound of falling cotton buds in the afternoon breeze.

“Wait a minute.”

It was the conspiratorial voice of Goddy breaking into our astonishment. He was the oldest of the hunters and always seemed to fathom the behavioral mysteries of wild animals.

“They have bunnies in there,” he said almost with a soundless whisper.

His perception made immediate sense to everyone. Why else would the two rabbits risk their hard-earned freedom to run back to the imminence of a brutal death in a smoking confinement?

“Let’s plug back the hole,” Goddy shouted. “And this time we should make it impossible to push out. Let’s overwhelm them with raging fire. Blow the smoke with all your strength!”

The smokes were pumping out of the exit route and every pore underfoot. We heard numerous sharp squeals which grew faint with each passing second. Then there was dead silence.

“Blow harder!” Goddy commanded.

The blowers changed guards and intensified their smoke pumping into the hole.


All of us gathered very close to the entry point and the exit. There was no sign of either movement or squealing from the rabbits. Goddy waved at us to move back. He resumed the digging himself. Then he pulled out a buck. It was dead. A few inches further he pulled a dead doe. Suddenly we were confronted with litters everywhere. All over the hole dead baby bunnies lined the full length of the floor. We dug and pulled until we dug all the way to the exit. We counted eight smoke-charred bunnies.

The spectacle was grisly, and the scene wasn’t exactly what some of us had in mind when the war turned us into premature rabbiters burrowing through ancient farmlands to smoke fledgling innocents to untimely death. Goddy was already cutting up and sharing the quarry among the hunters.

“Divide the dead bunnies among the kids,” he commanded.

I had had enough for the day. I started walking home, Paul at my heels. He wanted to know why I couldn’t wait to take my share of the bunnies, and my response came from somewhere beyond my comprehension.

“I don’t know,” I stammered with sudden exhaustion. “Father said that was how the Igbo were burned alive inside churches and trains before the war.”

I never went rabbit hunting again.

But in a shooting war of bombs and bullets our town’s children did nothing else but hunt. When the days were bright and wildlife was in a playful mood we turned to slinging missiles of stones and okpomkpo woods at perched birds and tree-jumping squirrels. A few of us owned catapults. My playmates Alex, Anayö, Chïma, Christian, Herbert, Japheth, Livingstone, Matthew, Patrick, Paul, Samuel, Stephen, and Thankgod became specialist-hunters of crickets, praying-mantis, and other edible insects. We discovered the rare war delicacy of rats, lizards, and larvae. Paul and I sometimes wandered away from everyone else to pick tasty year-old kernels from round the bases of inner farm palm trees. Our pockets bulged with the haul of kernels, as well as the balls of igneous stones which were inevitable for cracking the hard shells.

“A palm tree would soon grow out of your stomach!” mother warned against what she described as my excessive eating of palm kernels.

My stool did, indeed, become stone-hardened most times from daylong consumption of palm kernels. I feared that mother’s prophecy might come true. At such times I found myself digging down on residual energies to push out my shï acï. Mother was often sent into fits of excitation for my sake.

“How could a child survive Nigerian war bombs only to die from stupid kernels?” she would fret with dramatic gestures.

With the sun slouching behind Bernard’s apü tree, all the boys formed informal gangs to stake out spawned pear and mango trees around the neighborhood. Little ones like me hung out at bush corners in reconnaissance while the older ones climbed up to pluck the fruits with the agility of hunted games.

Girls like my sisters Rosa and Cathy and my cousins Berna, Bertha, Chïka, Chinedu, Christiana, Comfort, Dorothy, Edith, Ekwutösï, Florence, Happiness, Ifeyinwa, Ihuezi, Lois, Lovette, Ngözï, Patience, Peace, and our aunt in-law, Bernadette scouted out wild fruits, like üdara and uruöca. On occasions they brought home mushrooms and some strange vegetables which war emergency had made eatable, sometimes with disastrous consequences. A particular haul of theirs which I relished beyond description, so much so that it left a lasting warm taste on my tongue, was variously called nkwa, cïcïba, and öbanceleke. It was scrumptious alright, but I always hoped to one day understand why such a bitsy dessert could have so many big names.

But that would be when the haunting wings of the war have swum with the rainbow beyond the great sea.

The end.

Copyright 2009: Obiwu. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Michael Jackson talks to his macaw from beyond the grave says sister La Toya - Exclusive -

Oh dear, La Toya, poor poor La Toya, what is it you eat? I mean, this is a bit weird, if you know what I am saying. If only I knew the name of the thing, I shall seek its help in talking to my sister, "Ngozi, the wind" Or rather, it will make Ngozi talk to me through the whistling pine outside the old stone house my father built. Greetings to Michael's macaw. Ask the bird what Michael thinks about This Is It showing for only two weeks, denying millions of fans an opportunity to see his final work. I am sure the bird will be all too happy to help.


Michael Jackson talks to his macaw from beyond the grave says sister La Toya - Exclusive -

X Factor: John and Edward predicted to stay – Rachel Adedeji favourite to go -

The Mirror article reckons that the Irish clowns John and Edward will stay after voting closes on Sunday night. That is quite a possibility. Although some talented singers such as Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke have triumphed in the x-factor in the past, the non-tone-deaf UK lovers of the monster reality talent show have regularly been shocked by the patterns of voting; the kind of painful pattern that gave Leon Jackson the crown in 2007. Never a fan of Rhydian, the Welsh should have beaten Jackson without needing to sing.
I will therefore not be surprised if John and Edward stay after the votes come in later tonight. I however do not agree that if the voting pattern reflects the quality of performances, that Rachel Adedeji would end up in the bottom two. She definitely sang well and looked great. Danyl and Joe were amazing. I suspect that Lloyd Daniels and Lucie Jones will be in the bottom two, even though the truer reflection of performances should be Lloyd and John and Edwards doing the sing-off.

See Rachel's performance here:



The Mirror article

X Factor: John and Edward predicted to stay – Rachel Adedeji favourite to go -

Monday, October 19, 2009

If we were all prophets

Flash Forward on Five is pretty good drama, but with very little surprises so far. I have seen four episodes. For two minutes and seventeen seconds, the world suffers a kind of black out and the majority of people catch a glimpse of the future. Suddenly everyone plans and lives his or her life in lieu of the visions. Some people hope their visions would come true. Others are doing whatever they can to avert or change that future.

Good premise, I must say, and I am hanging on to see how the premise would eventually be proven. Something tells me though, not to mortgage 9pm to 10pm of my Mondays watching this thing because at the end the season, the makers of Flash Forward might not contrive any satisfactory denouement, but would hang our emotions out to dry on the line of television ratings, commiting us to thirst for another season.

But it is not all bad. Flash Forward gets me thinking, what if? What if I knew what would happen, say on 31st of May 2010? Would I adjust my life to embrace that event? Or would I carry on the way I am now? To be totally honest, all I really want is to have a million pounds in my bank account, so that I would not have to do a 9 to 5 kind of toiling, but rather concentrate on trying to make a proper writer and film director out of myself. If I were to be shown a lottery ticket dated May 31st 2010 with which I win a million quid, would I really carry on as I am, or would I get a loan to tide me over until that day, and in the meantime bring forward my full time writing days?

To be politically correct, I'd like to say that I would definitely carry on with my day to day grind until God or the future actually shows me the money in my account. However the way I feel, the knowledge I have that you are not really living if you are not doing what you love to do, I suspect I will take out that cash advance.

What about you? If you became a prophet. If you were to see what your life would be six months from now, what would you do?


Writing Competitions


The Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition takes place every 3 months in January, April, July and October. These competitions are held to promote creativity and literary excellence. Winners of the competition win cash prizes and the top poems in from each competition may be collected into a chapbook subject to quality of entries.
Details at
Like the Poetry Competitions, the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition takes place every 3 months in January, April, July and October. These competitions are held to promote creativity and literary excellence. Winners of the competition win cash prizes and the top poems in from each competition may be collected into a chapbook subject to quality of entries.
Details at
Excel for Charity Writing Competition Series is administered by Eastern Light EPM International. These competitions are held to raise money for charities in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world. In each competition, one third of net entry fees goes to the charity it supports, whilst the top three poems win cash prizes. Writers interested in these competitions should regularly visit the competition website for information on new competitions, or join the Mailing List on the website.
Details at
Information on other competitions will appear here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Musical Pope

Just chanced on this little piece in TheLondonPaper of 31st July. Apparently Pope Benedict XVI will rap, OK, maybe not rap, speak and sing in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German on this record.

I wish this talk music would include segments of the pontiff singing in Igbo or Yoruba, or for good measure ebonics. But alas...

Anyway, the album will be released on November 30, 2009. TheLondonPaper reckons it to be an 'unlikely contender for a Christmas number one.' How wrong can they be? Imagine the catholics coming out in force to support their Holy Father? The sales could rival the phenomenal sales of Thriller, and if that happens - voila - the highly sought-after Christmas Number 1 for sure. If I were a catholic, I would support my pope's musical efforts.

I certainly look forward to this album titled Alma Mater in which the pope is accompanied by the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, and released on the Geffen UK/Universal label.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who needs a friend like Mark Lester?


As a well-advertised fan of Michael Jackson, it is difficult to appear unbiased each time I talk or write about him. About a fortnight after his death, on Facebook, a friend, Chika Omeje started a thread in which he asked in a rather tongue-in-cheek way, how it came to be that Michael Jackson, a black man, could produce blonde blue-eyed children. My immediate reaction was suggesting to Mr Omeje to ask questions about things that were actually his business, and I believe I also asked him precisely how it would improve his life if he found out the truth about the paternity of Michael Jackson’s children.

Of course Mr Omeje is not the first to wonder if the children were biologically Jackson’s children and indeed the questions and scepticism about the subject has been around for a long time. People like Omeje, who wonder how in the world Michael Jackson could father white children have obviously not heard the story of Sandra Laing – the black Afrikaner girl born to white parents. Sandra was so black that her father had to take a DNA test and it was confirmed that he was indeed Sandra’s biological father. Laing is the subject of Skin – a film by Anthony Fabian which has just been released. Question. If two white parents could produce a black child, is it impossible for a black man and a white woman to produce a white child? Far be it of course that I suggest Michael Jackson on top of everything else, also had the kind of genetic oddity that produced Sandra Laing, but it is possible.

Even I, the unwavering Jackson fan once spent time and looked at the pictures of Jackson’s apparent white children and it almost crossed my mind that while they were in fact legally his children, they might not be biologically so. But then I suggested that they might actually be Jackson’s children but may have been genetically-modified to give them a white appearance or to make them white. Somebody asked me why it would cross my mind, a Michael Jackson fan, who has always asked people to leave Jackson alone and stop accusing him of not wanting to be a black man, just why would it cross my mind that he would genetically modify his children to make them white? The answer is simple: Paranoia. If Michael indeed had vertiligo or vitiligo, which resulted in the white patches on his skin he tried to deal with by having painful skin peels, then it stands within the arena of logic that Jackson might have been trying to avoid having children who might inherit that skin disorder, and who might be driven to take the kind of drastic actions he took, only to become objects of ridicule and public scrutiny. The truth is we don’t know the real truth. We may extrapolate all we want, the children are Michael Jackson’s children and that should actually be the end of the story, but it is not.

At first, the rumour mills went to town with the claim that Michael Jackson’s former dermatologist Arnold Klein and former boss of Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe was the biological father of the children. Dr Klein said to the best of his knowledge he was not the father of the children, although he once donated sperm ‘but not absolutely to him’ (Michael Jackson), whatever that means! Then suddenly an entity known as Mark Lester has come out of somewhere plastering his face all over the media claiming to be the father of Jackson’s daughter, Paris.

Mark Lester is an actor who played Oliver is 1968 and last worked in Crossed Swords in 1977. A person past his due as an actor and largely forgotten, he is rumoured to be in pre-production of a new film “1066” due for release in 2010.

The question that has nagged me since Mark Lester’s claim is what motive could he have for coming out with such a claim even before the King of Pop had been buried.

I reckoned that first of all, Mark Lester is dreaming of a comeback of sorts with 1066 and therefore has roused up this tale to sneak into the consciousness of people and help his comeback. At least by the time 1066 appears in 2010, it will be seen to star Mark Lester the sperm donor, or Mark Lester the man who claimed he made a gift of sperm to Michael Jackson and may be the father of Paris Jackson. There will be people curious enough to go and see this traitor on screen. The other possible motive is that Lester does not wish to miss the boat. Paris Jackson is co-beneficiary of the Michael Jackson estate estimated to be worth nearly Three Hundred Million Dollars after his debts have been paid, and growing with the massive sales of Jackson’s records following his return to the astral plain, and new contracts from the forthcoming Jackson movie, and memorabilia. Lester probably imagines that if he is proved to be Paris Jackson’s father, the little girl who so publicly declared her love for her real father Michael Jackson on July 7, 2009, would turn around and look at Lester and call him Daddy, and invite him to share her fortune.

Why Lester is somewhat disgusting is that he was godfather to Michael Jackson’s three children. Even if his claims were true, the decent thing he should have done is wait for Michael Jackson to be buried, give the children space to mourn their father and adjust to life with their grandmother, and then perhaps on the birthdays of each of the children, send a card or gift as a godfather should, and gradually build a relationship with Katherine Jackson and the children, a different relationship from what he shared with Michael Jackson and the children.

If this self-serving, back-stabbing man, Lester only imagined that he was at risk of being cut out of the lives of Michael Jackson’s children, he ought to be assured of that now. He is not Paris Jackson’s father, biological or imagined. A father would be sensitive to the fragile emotions of the 11-year-old who has been so suddenly bereaved. A father would have tried to protect her from the carnivorous press, from ridicule, from undue scrutiny. What is shocking is that it never crossed the mind of this traitor that Paris Jackson would end up resenting him for the rest of his earthly life.

As a fan of Michael Jackson’s music and work as an artist, I have sometimes taken a dim view of some of his decisions. In my view, the worst decision Michael ever made was declare Mark Lester a friend, and make him godfather to his children. The man deserves an F-word but that word is certainly not “Friend.”

Sadly, as I write this, Michael Joseph Jackson, the world’s greatest entertainer of all time, the King of Pop, and loving father of Prince Michael I, Paris Katherine, and Prince Michael II, is not available for comment.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

At the Confessional

Beards of my wrongings

Are now too grey to dye.

Every cell in me

Is a contradiction of sorts;

This heart built pure

Is weighed down by fault.

I have visited goodness

With betrayal.

The saddest part of all is

I know that you know it well;

If my path had no thorns

I would not sin. Yet thorns

On my path are not

My smoothest foes,

The weak me unhanded

By life so grey, I am.

- Nnorom Azuonye

London 08-08-09

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Father's Story

(A poem by a father for a future father; Arinze Azuonye, & all fathers on Father's Day 2009)

There was a time I only imagined it;
to be the broad-chested father
of a bunch of kids in good working order,
big man about house, building a squad
of God-fearing kids, giving orders,
a stern but affectionate scolding here,
a frightening, yet warm stare there,
talking volumes and instructing across
the room with a slight shake of head.
Imagining this wonder filled me with hunger
for a lifetime of teaching, a lifetime
of learning from the seeds of my own loins.

Sometimes a brooding dream would fruit,
as it did on that blazing Summer morning;
The Almighty snapped his fingers,
He snapped me out of my dream-trek.
He made my wife and I step out of time.
The music had begun! and I, long-gifted
with two left feet, was eager to dance,
and indeed I danced in the air.

Two years and counting, I say with great cheer,
any man for whom God has made it possible
let him join me on the glorious dancefloor
of fatherhood - this is where I lose myself,
this is where I savour wondrous perks:

Relentless crescendo of deafening wailing at dawn
ripping apart delicious sleep and dreams.

The slashes warm on my face that then wet my shirt,
and heavenly scents of soft golden relief on my shoes.

That purely manipulative cry for attention
at moments I must take important phone calls.

Helplessness when my little scientists make
submarine of my cellphone in a cup of water.

The bliss of my children converting me
into a living Super King Size bed.

They turn my belly into a trampoline
and my legs are their playground slides.

Best of all is when they smile as God must smile
and hug me so tight I cannot breathe.

O, I love this dance. I love this dance,
and I dance it once, twice, I glorify God.

- Nnorom Azuonye

"A Father's Story" was first read in public at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Dartford, on Father's Day 2009.

Copyright 2009 Nnorom Azuonye.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Vol.2 No.4, July 2009

The new issue (July to September) of
Sentinel Literary Quarterly,
the online magazine of world literature went live on the 31st of July.

What is in this issue?

Poems by:

Chuma Nwokolo Jr,
Clare Saponia,
Kangsen Feka Wakai,
Mandy Pannett (Third Prize Winner, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition, July 2009)
Michael Pedersen,
Michael Thorne,
Miles Cain (First and Second Prizes Winner, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition, July 2009)
Paul Eustice.


Bob Beagrie: The Sentinel Literary Quarterly Interview with Nnorom Azuonye

Essays & Reviews

Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie: The Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2009) Judges' Report.

"E.C. Osondu's Waiting" by Nnorom Azuonye


"The Faker" - a short story by Laura Solomon

Go to Magazine now:
Sentinel Literary Quarterly>>

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July July

Dear July,

If you were a person, I might find myself looking over my shoulder when I am with you. You were the very month in which the first shots of the Biafran war were fired, and I, an overstayer in Igirigi Ututu's womb, finally made it into the war-ravaged Biafra on the 12th day of you.

July, what a strange one you are! Can you even imagine how my mother felt holding a day-old me in a country at war?

It was also in you, July - on your 11th and 16th days some 9 and 4 years (not 94) before that my brothers Chike and Chidi were born respectively. I fell in love with you, July, even though Chidi went away, it was October that took him, not you. I loved you, July until you allowed my beloved sister, Ngozi - The Wind herself, to blow by on your 19th day in 2008.

See what I mean? What a weird month you are. Last weekend Chike and I celebrated our birthdays, today Chidi would have been celebrating his, and then in three days time, I would be asking Pastor Yemisi to pray for Ngozi.

Oh July July, redeem yourself. You and God must find a way to make you a happy month for me again - do something new and marvelous in my life this month.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Stillborn Oration

(What I would have said if I had attended the Michael Jackson memorial on July 7, 2009)


On the twenty-fifth day of June 2009
The man in the mirror sighed a great sigh;
the writing on the glass unequivocal:
I have never met Michael Jackson
And never can I in this incarnation.

I exhumed images from my boyhood years
when I collected chewing gum photo cards;
John Wayne, Roger Moore, Pele, and a cute
Afro-haired boy named Michael Jackson.
What he was and what he did were strong words;
Nothing is impossible - if you believe.

I remembered loud sing-songs on the
Nile House lawns at Government College Umuahia,
Blaming it on the boogie in dancehalls
From Isuikwuato,through Aba, and Lagos
To jamming in river parties on the Thames
In the season of Bad and Liberian Girl.


Today I come to praise Michael Jackson.
I come to say his name, not to bury him.
I cannot bury a man who has not died,
And Michael Jackson is not the type
At whose door death may dance in victory.

If Michael Jackson should die,
It would be supernova of a human kind.
But Michael Jackson is no ordinary man;
I see him dance every time I close my eyes.
I hear him sing with every passing wind.
I applaud him every time I look
in the mirror; every time I want to obey,
To make a change to the world,
Starting with myself.

Michael Jackson is sunshine to many souls
Thirsting for light in their dark nights.
Yet Michael Jackson
is a man more judged than judging,
a man more reviled than reviling.
Oh did he not have this procedure?
Oh did he not have that procedure?
Did he not peel his skin to become a white man?

Michael Jackson has never asked anyone
to change his face or change his colour.
Whatever he did, he did to himself, for himself,
perhaps to feel good about himself,
perhaps to feel worthy of our adoration and love.

I therefore choose not to weep for Michael Jackson
because I know he is alive and will live forever.
Because I know he had the courage to live life
and live it his own way.
Because he is one of the greatest men to walk
on the ground God gave us.

I say, live on Michael Jackson, enjoy your life.

- Nnorom Azuonye

©2009 Nnorom Azuonye. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Message

In just under two hours, Father's Day 2009 will be well and truly underway. I am very blessed to be the proud father of two absolutely wonderful children. Arinze and Nwachi are indeed the very air I breathe and I cannot imagine a day without them.

Today I rejoice with my friend Ike Obike whose wife has given a second son today. What a blessing to become a father for the second time on the eve of Father's Day.

And to all fathers all over the world, I say have a great day tomorrow and God bless you all.

Nnorom Azuonye

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2009)

Entries are invited for the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July, 2009).

About the competition
Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition has been introduced to encourage and reward quality poetry writing, create and sustain awareness about the publication and if by any chance a small financial margin is achieved at the end of each competition, that will go back into producing the magazine and help keep it a free-to-read publication.

Competition Details
Subject: Poems may be on any subject.

Length: Maximum 40 lines per poem

Entry Fees: £3.00 per poem or £12.00 for 5 poems

First Prize: £100.00

Second Prize: £60.00

Third Prize: £40.00

First Publication: The top three poems will receive first publication in the July issue (Vol.2 No.4) of Sentinel Literary Quarterly (SLQ).

Competition Pamphlet: A pamphlet fed by the competition titled Champion Poems: Top poems from the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition #1 (Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie eds.) All included poets will receive 1 Free contributor's copy each.

Entry deadline: 7th July, 2009 (Postmark)*

Results due: 31 July, 2009

Competition Administration: Sentinel Poetry Movement

How to Enter
Poems must be in English language and typed.

Author’s name and address MUST NOT appear on the page.

Write your name and address on a sheet of paper and put the paper in a sealed envelope and write "SLQ POETRY JULY 2009" followed by the TITLE(S) of your poem(s) on the back of the envelope.

Makes cheques or Postal Orders (in GB£ only) payable to SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT

Send your poems, the envelope with your name inside, and your entry fee to:

Sentinel Poetry Movement
Unit 136
113 – 115 George Lane
E18 1AB
United Kingdom

You may also enter Online**

International/Online entrants may enter by e-mail and pay entry fees by Paypal. To enter by this method please follow these steps:

To enter online go to:

Terms & Conditions: You may enter as many poems as you want with the appropriate entry fees. The decision of the judges is final, and no communication will be entered into. We reserve the right to reapportion the prize money. If you would like an acknowledgement of postal entries, please enclose an SAE marked "acknowledgement". The Judges' Report will be published alongside the winning poems in SLQ July. Since this publication is online, if you would like to receive the Judges' Report in the post, please enclose an SAE marked "Judges' Report".

*Postal entries must be Postmarked by 7th July 2009 and must be received by 11th of July 2009.

** Online entries must be received by midnight on the 7th of July, 2009.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Die Isuikwuato Gedichte


Dieses Dorf ist mein
Wo in der dicken Erde
Die abschließende Kabel
Von meinen Nabel wurde InterRed.
Dieses Dorf ist mein, und
Ich möchte ein Haus bauen
Zwischen den Hügeln,
Das kann ich am Morgen erwacht
Durch die Strahlen der Sonne
Split von irokos und Palmen.
Kom, kom, kom, kom:
Die Stadt Ausrufer's Gong
Ich höre es auch in meinen Träumen.
O selige Erinnerung leben;
Nacht Feuer und Rösten Yamswurzeln,
Schwarzarbeit und Mondschein "Robinson Crusoe",
Beast Lieder und Spiele Jagd
Und die Palmen? O der Wein --
Wo ist meine Tapper?
Lassen Sie mich Schluck Natur brauen
Selbst als ich sitze gerade
Männer und Frauen
Mit Hacken und Macheten
Marching ihrer Betriebe.
Dieses Dorf ist mein
Wo uncaged wie ein Vogel
Ich kann singen in der Sonne
Ohne Angst oder Schmerzen.

© 1989 Nnorom Azuonye
(Nsukka, Nigeria)
"Isuikwuato" wurde erstmals veröffentlicht in der Agenda (UK) Vol.28 Nr. 2 (Sommer 1990)


Isuikwuato II

Dieses Dorf beschwert sich die Berge,
In "meine Erde seine Nabelschnur Dünger
eine Kokosnuss Baum, aber er hat mich verlassen.
Durch die Täler ihre Stimme Echos,
Ihre Braut nach Hause nehmen, aber Ihre Mutter
der Gestank von Müll überspringen.

Dieses Dorf beschwert sich die Berge,
mein Sohn ist Lachen blendet aus meinem Kopf.
Er hat weder das Land noch bebaut sich
seines Alters-Mates Unkraut auf dem Dorfplatz.
Wenn ein Mann verkauft seine Besen zu zahlen für die Fahrt
zu einem Ringkampf in einem entfernten Dorf, auf
seiner Rückkehr wird Dreck nicht jagen ihn weg?

Dieses Dorf beschwert sich die Berge,
der Mann, die sich zu lange in der Toilette wird er
ein Geist. Wenn ein Mann flieht aus dem Dreck
in seinem Haus. Wie lange muss ich warten
für ihn zu kommen, wieder mein Gesang?
Wenn ich ihr sagen, wie lange meine Taschen sind gepackt,
Sie kann nicht glauben Sie mir, für die niemand als Reichtum
das Huhn, das keine Rückkehr zu den Coop in der Abenddämmerung.

Mein Dorf beschwert sich die Berge,
Abaina Musik steigt, aber ich verstehe nicht, mein Sohn tanzen.
Oha Suppe Aroma steigt, aber ich verstehe nicht, mein Sohn essen.
Unabhängig Lied singen sie zu ihm, was sie haben ihn gefüttert
sie tragen off! Es wird Verschleiß aus! Er wird nach Hause kommen irgendwann.
Ja. Ich muss nach Hause kommen. Es ist verrückt, dass nur die brennt das Dach
von seinem Haus und das Leben in der Hoffnung, dass, wenn es regnet
die Nachbarn sagen, ohne Spott, in Berührung kommen, der unseren,
dass Sie nicht fangen kalte und sterben.

Mein Dorf muss kommen und reden mit mir in meinen Träumen
zu genießen wieder die Unschuld meiner Kindheit, und sitzen
durch das Feuer meiner frühen Männlichkeit Träume brennen so heiß
heute, da sie immer in das Gewölbe der mein Herz.

Mein Dorf ruft meinen Namen durch die Hügel
und ich muss gehen, sich ihre Wärme und Frieden,
Dies ist, wo ich gerne wäre, wenn ich alt werden.
Schuppen nicht mehr Tränen O Land meiner Väter
für die auch jetzt bin ich immer bereit zu tanzen
auf den heißen Sand von Nkwonta.
Bereiten Sie die Trommeln.

© 2002 Nnorom Azuonye
(London, UK)

"Isuikwuato II" wurde zum ersten Mal veröffentlicht in Eclectica Magazin VOL. 9 Nr. 3 Juli / August 2005

Sunday, March 29, 2009


After he has worn himself out
Climbing and jumping down
From the now emptied out display unit
Diving without care from the dining chair
Bouncing up and down on the sofa
Overdosing on Handy Manny
And the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
All that is left is a log on the carpet
Unbelievably handsome…The gentle
sound of his breathing haunts the air
like a tune from a faraway flute
Then pride, a pride I cannot describe
ascends a throne in my heart.

- Nnorom Azuonye

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Just to remind all poets in the group yet to enter the Diversity House (Excel for Charity) International Poetry Competition that the deadline is 31 March, 2009.
Judge: Geoff Stevens
Prizes: 1st £150.00, 2nd £75.00, 3rd £35.00
Highly Commended Entries: Subject to quality of entries, an anthology of the best 48 - 64 poems edited by Geoff Stevens (Editor of Purple Patch magazine) and Nnorom Azuonye (Editor of Sentinel Literary Quarterly) is a possibility. Authors included will receive a free contributor's copy.
Entry Fees: £3.00 (single entry, enter as many as you want), £12.00 for 5 poems.
Entry methods: By post or e-mail (suitable for international entrants, pay fees by paypal)
For more information please go to:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Evil Dog Deeds

A person has got to die of something. Most people would be quite happy to die on their own beds, in old age, surrounded by loved ones.

Of course there are people who don't think it is necessary to grow old, because of the possibility of becoming a burden on other people. Dying in one's own bed in old age, as desirable as it is has a way of eluding most people. But of all the possible ways of dying, I think the worst is being killed and possibly partly-eaten by a lousy dog.

Personally, I still don't see why there is no legislation against people owning dogs at all, or at least, there ought to be a ban on people with babies and toddlers from owing dogs. I have been numb again this weekend when I read about Jaden Mack, a three and half month baby boy mauled to death by two family dogs - a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a Jack Russell at his grandmother's home in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.

Archie-Lee Hirst pictured top right was also killed by a Rottweiler. The beast snatched him from the arms of his seven-year-old aunt in the yard of a house in Chald Lane, Wakefield.

These are just two of thousands of cases around the world about dogs killing babies and toddlers.
I appreciate that dog lovers will find my views on this offensive, but I strongly believe that dogs should not share living spaces with human beings, especially so with little ones who cannot defend themselves against the canine weapons of baby destruction.

---- Nnorom Azuonye

Monday, February 02, 2009

Old Score

Old Score
a short story by
Nnorom Azuonye

The flippancy of men is visited upon their children.

As a young boy, Ugo was beaten in a wrestling match by Ogele. Over the next few months after that match, Ogele tormented and humiliated Ugo over his loss until Ugo challenged him to a rematch several months ahead of the New Yam Festival of which the wrestling match formed a part. To strengthen his challenge, Ugo wagered his father's land as the trophy Ogele would win if he beat him. However, circumstances beyond Ugo's control take him away from the village for many years until a dying Ogele reminds Ugo of their outstanding showdown. But neither of them is in any shape to settle this old score.

This story was publishedin Sentinel Literary Quarterly Vol.2 No.2, January 2009
and can be read here:

or go to

Nnorom Azuonye

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

For the first time in over 25 years, I crossed over into the new year in a church. As a younger man living in Nigeria, I used to go to the New Year Watch service on the 31st of December, and welcome the New Year on the wings of prayers and songs. Somewhere along the line, I don't know exactly why, I stopped attending those services. There have been years since then then I was playing chess with friends at the moment of crossing over into the new year. At other times I have enjoyed a glass of wine and chatted with friends and family until that magical hour the New Year arrives. Last night my wife Nwamamaka, and our children Arinzechukwu and Nwachiamanda got to the church just before 9pm and worshipped right into the New Year at the Redeemed Christian Church of God. It was a powerful and spiritually-nurturing experience. Although most pastors and members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God are Yorubas, it has never mattered to me, it has always felt like a big family there. There was only one moment during the night that we felt excluded, when one of the presiding pastors chose to break into a Yoruba praise song. Roughly 90% of the congregation, Yorubas, sang along with him, and the other 10% could only just watch them enjoy themselves.

Now we have made it into 2009. I wish to ask you, as you read this blog entry to make time for God in your life. He will never let you down. You may suffer loss and pain, but check the gains and you will see that He has given you much more. Look at me, I am still faithful because He is faithful. In 2008, many things happened to me; some good and some bad. The year began badly with my mother turning ill and getting admitted into the Intesive Care Unit in an American hospital. As I write this message in 2009, one year later Mama is still in that hospital. She marked her 80th birthday on a hospital bed. I am praying hard and imploring God, the healer God the powerful, that Mama will not mark her 81st birthday on a hospital bed. On the 19th of July, 2008, my sister Ngozi went into transition. She would have turned 53 in January 2009, but it was not God's will. I pray that God gives me the strength, and the wherewithal to support the children she left behind. But to be quite honest, apart from these two issues; my mother's illhealth, mind you she is 80 years old, and my sister's passing, apart from these two issues, 2008 was not a bad year. God did a lot for me: My daughter Nwachimanda was born, the health of my wife, and our son Arinze held up nicely. As a family we are united and happy and growing everyday in love. This is something to thank God for. With the state of my mother's health, the Stephen Azuonye family could easily have had two funerals in 2008, but it was not God's will. He said no to that. We have not had to beg for food, we have not had to go homeless, we have not had to go naked, we have not had to go spiritually hungry, we have not had to re-imagine our dreams for tomorrow as we get closer and closer to each one.

Go on, claim everything you deserve in the year 2009. God guide and guard you throughout the New Year.

Nnorom Azuonye