Today’s launch of my new novel will hold at Brunei Suites, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, 36 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD, UK. If you are in the neighbourhood you are warmly invited.

I have attended many book readings and what continues to excite me is the totally unpredictable consequences of opening up a book in public. At one reading in Oxford many years ago, we were halfway through a mildly modulated reading when a rather drunk gentleman interrupted with a swear word too indecent for me to repeat on this pages. ‘I came to hear some good poetry, not this G—damn s—t’ he yelled. And just like that, the reading was electrified. Our reader was mortified, yes, and so were his fans, but the room was fully galvanized, split between those who thought prose reading was rubbish and militant poetry fans. Nobody fell asleep thereafter. It was a most memorable reading. Indeed many weeks later I began to suspect that the author had planned the exciting intervention…

My Asaba launch was noteable for the stories that came from my audience. I had just finished reading A Roman Job Offer, from the new book (a story about a man sending off his wife to Italy for a spot of prostitution) and one of my guests told the true story of his own sister who had just died of heartbreak. Her husband had tried to send her off (ala Roman Job Offer), and when that failed he had gone off himself – and after many years, remarried someone else. Then there was the Wing Commander who narrated his incredible life under the real Sani Abacha. Of course I cannot use any of these materials for my next story… too fantastic for fiction you see…

At other readings of The Ghost, I have not even opened the covers of the book when I am overtaken by peculiar and unpredictable consequences. – We have had venues chained, cancelled and have had to move place and time like a guerrilla operation… all in all I cannot wait to see what will happen at Brunei Suites.

Can you?

I was last at this venue a couple of years ago for a Chinua Achebe colloquium on a panel led by Dr. Mpalive Msiska. That was a properly sedate occasion. On that occasion I took a ‘Journey thorough the Names’ in Things Fall Apart. Good stuff. Today, we will under take a more contemporary journey, through the modern lives and loves that flower in the aftermath of a dictatorship – and exciting as the new book is (even if I say so myself…) the best fare will not come from me. It will come in the aftermath of reading, and perhaps in the interjections to the reading…

Look forward to receiving you this evening… and do bring your best anecdotes!


7 Replies to “Return to Brunei: The London Launch of The Ghost of Sani Abacha.”

  1. Awele says:

    Congratulations on the new book!!!!

    These are times I wish I owned my own PJ (Private Jet) …. Can you write the Ghost alive to maybe give up one of his old toys to ferry me to Brunei Suites?

    Enjoy your evening (more like, read-well this evening) and best of luck …


    1. Chuma says:

      Awele I am afraid the pharaohs toys may have been too securely buried with said pharaoh… 😉


  2. Assia Shidane says:

    Congratulations on your book Chuma.
    I hope i can find a copy of ‘the ghost’ in Nairobi bookstores. Am a good marketer of great readings (if i may say so myself) I wax lyrical about a text only to give it out as a gift to anyone who borrows my copy, reads and loves it too. Then i got get myself another copy. Its a continuous and vicious cycle. Oddly enjoyable.

    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Don’t worry Assia, there is a special cocktail bar in literary heaven for proselyters who bring readers into the fold with the snare of their hard-won texts. I’ll meet you there 😉

  3. Lande says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable read. Each story has a little bit of each of us in it or someone we know and I can relate to that as a Nigerian. Despite the fact that most stories take place in fictional African communities, the way they are written make them stand out as human stories rather than a checklist of all that’s ‘wrong with Nigeria.’ Mr. Nwokolo’s acerbic wit can be felt all the way, increasing my enjoyment of the story collection.
    I did get a sense that there was latent relationship/marriage advice in more than a few stories. Was that just me?
    Conratulations, Mr. Nwokolo! I really enjoyed ‘The Ghost of Sani Abacha.’
    PS: And the book reading at the Brunei Suites too.

    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      ‘Latent relationship/marriage advice’? from me? No, it must have been just you, Lande 😉

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the book – and the reading! Thanks for commenting & see you again soon.


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