Wednesday, October 24, 2012

African Prisons Project

Excel for Charity has agreed to run poetry and short story competitions for the African Prisons Project, a UK registered charity working to bring dignity and hope to men, women and children in prisons in Africa through healthcare, education, access to justice and community reintegration. It is our vision that time spent in prison is a period of positive transformation.

We know that there are many innocent people languishing in prisons across Africa with little or no access to legal representation.

Excel for Charity has so far raised and given £1,839.05 to charities including Diversity House, Lupus UK, Stepping Stones Nigeria, The Psychiatry Research Trust, The TRYangle Project and Build Africa.

More information will be announced in

Sunday, October 21, 2012

“The Champions Sportsman is an important, intelligent film that will change how the Nollywood comedy is perceived.” – Azubuike Erinugha

Azubuike Erinugha is a Nigerian poet, actor, screenwriter and film director  living in Germany. His film, ‘The Asylum’, directed by Obi Emelonye received its world premiere at the Odeon cinema, Surrey Quays, London in May 2008. Azubuike has come up with a new movie: ‘The Champion Sportsman‘ (TCS), a comedy that serves as a sugar coating in the film’s study of the misadventures of an immigrant in Europe. TCS stars funny man John Okafor (Mr Ibu, Uncle Wayward) and the queen of mean, Patience Ozokwor.

Azubuike talks to Nollywood Focus publisher, NNOROM AZUONYE.


You currently teach Business English in Germany.  How long have you done this?


I teach Business English to very interesting groups of students who are mainly adults and company managers. I have been doing this and enjoying it for almost five years now. It is a very challenging and rewarding experience to rub minds with business executives who are on top of their game. It keeps me striving for excellence in everything I do.


How then did you become involved in filmmaking?


I have always been involved in writing for the stage and screen as well as productions right from my college days. I guess I seriously got involved in filmmaking when I was accepted to join the team of writers of the acclaimed NTA network comedy, ‘Icheoku’. The production set was then at NTA 8 Enugu, just like the sets of ‘The New Masquerade’ and ‘Basi and Company’ were at the ABS Channel 50 also in Enugu. It was during the productions of these TV series I discovered how interested I'd come to be with all the actor-camera-director relationships. That was the point I made up my mind to be get into the business of film. With all the great things happening in Nollywood, I knew that I had much to contribute. My ambition is to create memorable issues films that will form an important part of Nollywood and global history of film development.



I attended the premiere of “The Asylum”. As far as I know, it never went on general release or on to DVD. Any reason for that?


‘The Asylum’ never went on big screen theatrical release because I was not stationed on ground, in Nigeria, to push the film towards that direction. Back then in 2008, mainstream theatrical releases in London spearheaded by films like ‘The Mirror Boy’ was not what Nollywood films did. It was also difficult to pursue that alongside my job which was already becoming quite successful and extremely demanding on my time. I left the promotion and distribution task to some other people who were apparently not skilled in film marketing and exhibition. This is a major issue with Nollywood, of course. However, ‘The Asylum’ later made it to DVD and VCD where all the initial copies available were sold off. The marketer and I have recently agreed to introduce more copies into the market.


What was it like working with Emelonye on that film, and given his massive international successes with ‘The Mirror Boy’ and ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, will you consider working with him on a future film?


I started working with Obi Emelonye right from our days at the university. He helped us in building Ide Theatre Group, the Abia State University's first private theatre. He later directed me in an excerpt of Esiaba Irobi's Hangmen Also Die which  later led to me directing the entire play.  I played the major role of Metumaribe in Emelonye’s own play ‘Claws of the Hawk’. We also worked together during a command presentation of Chris Abani's ‘Song of a Goat’.  You can now see that working with him again on ‘The Asylum’ was like a homecoming! We worked with most of our Ide Theatre Group members about fifteen years later.  Obi's successes with ‘The Mirror Boy’ and ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ never came to me as any surprise because we have always known this fact and only waited patiently for it to manifest. There are still many more crazy concepts in the offing, and naturally, I am following those footsteps.


You made another film ‘The Plumber’ before ‘The Asylum’. Did you direct that yourself?


No, I didn't direct ‘The Plumber’. I wrote and produced it because I didn't want it to be one-sided by directing it as well, especially because it was my first major film production. But I wasn't happy with the project so I decided not to release it. I plan to redo the entire project at the right time with much better resources and materials.


Let’s talk now about ‘The Champion Sportsman’. What is this film about and why should people go to the cinema to see it?


‘The Champion Sportsman’ is a reality-based comedy with a storyline one can almost touch with the finger. You feel it happening around you and sometimes you wonder if it a personal story of someone you know. Only that that someone you know happens to be John Okafor, Mr. Ibu, who arrives Germany with the passport and visas of a sportsman.  For him to stay in the country, he has to prove his sportsmanship! This is where the comedy springs up in an apparent tragedy. People are encouraged to see this film not just because it is differently hilarious but for the important topic of migration, situations of immigrants in their host countries as compared to the reactions and expectations of family members and friends back home. Last week I was invited to speak at the European Integration Forum of the European Commission on this topic where ‘The Champion Sportsman’ was presented to policy makers and administrators. ‘The Champion Sportsman’ is on the way to becoming an accepted enlightenment tool for both the African migrants and European host audiences. Whatever we have seen as comedy in Nollywood is replaced intelligently in ‘The Champion Sportsman’.



Shed some light on your experience of working with funny man John Okafor? He is in no shape to convince anybody that he is a sportsman, is he? What was the reason to cast him in this unlikely role and did he carry it off?


No other could have played the role of Okoro in TCS better than John Okafor, Mr. Ibu! Yes, he is in no sportive shape but he's already endowed with that original disconnection seen in his perfect portrayal of the migrating character. He is the most unlikely cast for this role but that exactly is the irony that pushes the hard humour forward! No doubt he is a born comedian as well as a believable actor. It was fun, big fun all the way working with him. At the end of the shooting we had problems selecting our materials because the guy is just too funny! He is very calm and down to earth, understanding and portraying his character to the point! Of course I had a couple of clashes with him because he almost turned our set into a somewhat comedy spot. We wasted a lot of precious time on trying stop Mr. Ibu from entertaining, albeit distracting, the cast and crew members with his unending jokes. It was difficult because those entertained saw me as uptight and a workaholic dictator. But I had to put my foot down if we must wrap. Whenever we fought it got even worse because the whole shouting and name calling turned funny again! Above all, it was real fun and I will do my best to work with John Okafor again and again.


Patience Ozokwor. There was a time she only played mean women in Nollywood movies. Does she play a role to love or hate in The Champion Sportsman?


She plays her roles true to life with her personal touch of exaggerations and I am sure that is what got her to where she is today as one of top, bankable Nollywood actors ever. In TCS she plays the role a typical village woman. The role a mother would play when her son has suddenly gone to live in Germany! She is also comic because she thinks the time to recognize her importance in life has finally come and it has to be rubbed into people's faces. I am sure every member of the audience would love to hate her after seeing The Champion Sportsman, but cannot fail to recognise the kind of woman she plays in this movie. Patience Ozokwor is really an outstanding talent and I say this, Nollywood is enriched by having her work in the industry. She is smart. She is funny. She is a very kind woman in real life and fun to be with. Nothing at all like some of the characters she has played on screen. 


Nollywood has been making waves in British cinemas with such films as ‘The Mirror Boy’, ‘Tango with Me’, and ‘Amina’ generating quite some interest. What achievements do you expect ‘The Champion Sportsman’ to add to the Nollywood phenomenon in Britain?


I expect ‘The Champion Sportsman’ to change the perception of Nollywood comedy films as struggling too hard to make audiences laugh at somewhat stupid and unrounded characterisations with ill-conceived gag situations, dialogues and gestures. ‘The Champion Sportsman’ does not set out to make the audience laugh in the first place. It presents an identified problem of an identified people and breaks this problem down to mentor and inspire us into action. Along the line some of these identified situations may evoke the same laughter we are aware of without distracting us from the original theme of the art. Don't get me wrong, ‘The Champion Sportsman’ remains a comedy set in the midst of real serious issues.


You are one of the Nollywood film-makers working mainly outside Nigeria. Do you have any advantages over Nigeria-based film-makers?


I don't think I have any advantages over Nigeria-based film-makers. What I'd prefer is a situation where all of us should come together and start working on how to improve the film industry. All these ideas of comparisons and working differently from totally different angles without any reasonable central cohesion makes no sense at all. That said, who am I to dictate to others on how their work patterns should be?


Why do you seem to make mostly comedies?


Simple. I enjoy making people laugh. I am happy with my life when I see people around me laughing, especially when my work is the source of the laughter. 


Offer an honest assessment of Nollywood at the moment. Is there any truth to claims that in search of international acceptance, Nollywood film-makers are gradually dumping the traditional Nigerian stories that made Nollywood what it is in the first place?


I agree that some of us African based filmmakers have totally ignored the basis that even set up the Nollywood industry. I don't want to go into colonial mentality theories but the filmmakers are not the only ones guilty in this regard. The distributors, the executive producers, the cinema owners, the audiences; what are they doing about it? It is a case of demand and supply. If I make a traditional Nollywood film and no one wants to distribute it, no cinema wants to show it because they are afraid the audience wouldn't want to see it, do you expect me to make the same kind of movie next time? Until we start placing values in ourselves and what we have as a people, it will always be the same old story.



Where would you like to see Nollywood in 5 to 10 years?


I would like to see Nollywood as the real pride of African media not only for entertainment but also to inform and educate its own people.


Tell me the one Nollywood film made between 1995 and 2012 that you wish you had made, and why?


I wish I made that Nkem Owoh's ‘Ikuku’ because I see a lot of potentials that are totally ignored in such a super storyline. Imagine a top educated man dragged home to the village by the gods to become a deity priest? Powerful storyline, I think.


What is next for you after The Champion Sportsman?


Two TV series and two films. I am still working on which one to be realised first. One of the TV series will be based in Berlin because the target is the German audience. The other is a TV comedy situated in a hospital in Nigeria aimed at exposing the poor and sometimes ridiculous health delivery system in our country. I hope that this film will generate discussion and push for change in our healthcare system. Our country will fare better if we are a healthy people. The films promise to be wild, insane and very very funny.


Will you be personally attending the UK Premiere of The Champion Sportsman. I am sure members of the audience will have questions for you?


Yes, I will be there at the Greenwich Odeon for the UK premiere of The Champion Sportsman. I have also written to my German co-producers who are working on their schedules to find time and accompany me to the event.


Thanks for talking to Nollywood Focus.


You are welcome, Nnorom! Thanks a lot, for having me.


© October 2012. Nnorom Azuonye & Nollywood Focus


The Champion Sportsman will receive its UK premiere at the Odeon Greenwich on the 9th of November.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skyfall comes to UK cinemas October 26

If you were impressed when Daniel Craig did the Bond test in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, wait until you have seen him come back from the dead in Skyfall.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Build Africa Poetry Competition, 2012, Results and Judge’s Report


The winning poems for the 2012 Build Africa Poetry Competition are as follows:


First Prize: Understanding Dung Beetles by ROGER ELKIN


Second Prize: Artichokes and an Olive Grove by MANDY PANNETT


Third Prize: Stalkers by FAY MARSHALL


Two other entries have been selected as ‘Highly Commended’ from a strong list of poems also deserving of such honour. The two highly commended poems are:


1.    Titania’s Wood by MANDY PANNETT

2.    Finding Edna by BRUCE HARRIS


 Congratulations to the winners. The winning and commended poems will be published in the Excel for Charity News Blog on the 1st of October 2012.

This competition has raised £69.48 for the Build Africa charity. Thanks to all the entrants.


Now here is the Judge’s report:


Report on the Build Africa Poetry Competition, 2012


Judgement in literary competitions is burdened with the expectation of precision in the determination of value. It is of course also burdened with the challenge of perspective. Added to this is the paucity of material a judge or any critic has to work with in determining the relative strength of poems. A novel or short story presents the critic or judge with more material, many pages of information, by which it can be evaluated against another novel or short story. Prose-fiction does have its own challenges, but it comes with significantly less unresolved ‘tribal’ conflict than poetry. The poetry universe is seriously sectarian, with factious practice camps, which sometimes refuse to publish, honour or even acknowledge each other. This does inform judgement in a poetry competition.  


Perhaps, I exaggerate, or hope I do, hope indeed there is greater agreement on value between differently persuaded poetry practices and traditions. It may be that the greater quarrel is about form rather than value, though the two issues tend to be conflated. So, if we like a certain kind of poetry we happily attach value to it, but if we are not happy with that way of writing poetry we do not even care that it may be of significant value to others. We just don’t touch that kind of poetry, won’t buy or read it unless we have professional interest in it – as would media reviewers, academics, archivists and other collectors.


The good news for those who support and enter poetry competitions is that the qualities by which the best poems succeed and excite interest remain unchanged and roughly same across the tribes. To an extent the bickering of our poetry tribes has complicated perceptions of value and capacity for fairness in judgement, but excellence is ultimately its own way maker, and poems which emerge winners will usually be among the best of any kind in practice. A poem is only fairly judged according to its form – the extent to which it excels in the appropriation or exposition of those qualities germane to its form. If we understand what a poet is doing in a poem we can determine how well he or she has done it, and also accurately compare the quality of what has been done to what other poets have been able to do working with the same material in a similar manner.  If we are informed enough through training or practice, or just as experienced readers, we can also judge correctly that a given poet has done more or less excellent work with a chosen set of poetry material than another poet working on a different set of material. In judgement, it helps to be informed by the history of practice and the movement of innovation. No poetry competition is judged in an ahistorical vacuum.


I was thus mindful of our poetry moment, its centred practices and attendant politics of placement, coming to the 2012 Build Africa Poetry Competition. I decided to begin as I intended to conclude, by examining and moderating my own preferences and perspectives. In the end I was able to find clear winners from my shortlisted entries, but I think it is useful to generally remind those who win a poetry competition and others whose poems only made the shortlist that the values of the governing poetics in a competition can in some cases determine the outcome. The triumph of the winners will in such cases represent excellence but also good fortune, especially where there has been performance parity or something close to that among the best entries. For the winners there ought to be joy in the public acknowledgement of excellence by peers, delight with progress in craft, but scant room for triumphalism as in sports competitions.


What kind of poems was I hoping to find and honour in the 2012 Build Africa Poetry Competition; that is, what baggage did I come to this judgement with? I find value in all poetry forms and traditions. I like to go beyond the centred poetics of dominant perspectives in recent poetry publishing and creative writing education, and find value in whatever form it is being offered. Every kind of poetry is capable of excellence but not every poem is excellent. I do not insist on showcase poems, the kind that scream ‘Look at us! We are poems!’ at every reader, but I have retained that healthy foundational interest in ambition, eloquence and the personal voice in practice. Poetic difficulty is not for me just a period modernist obsession because there is even more complexity in the cosmopolitan contemporary, more of everything tied together and still unresolved, to complicate the art and unconscious of practising poets. I recognise that what I consider ambition in practice – elaborate or exceptional exploration of craft or subject – some now see as pretentious. However, I still believe in the thinking poet’s poem and consider elaborate thought, histories and mythologies valuable material for practice even in our time, just as valuable as the preferred autobiographical realism of the snap shot here and now, recorded ad nauseam in recent narrative poetry. I worry about poets being the inescapable protagonists of all or most of their poems, but recognise and respect the fact that this is essential fare for much recent poetry. It happens with poets for whom practice is not only art but also confession and therapy.


I hoped to find in these competition poems a settled ownership of language, confidence in the application of meaning, because in most cases poetry practice still involves the creative processing of meaning, demanding or demonstrating above average dexterity in the verbal arts. You have to own or know enough of language before you can successfully ‘disown’ it, or attempt to deny it meaning or even presence in your work as some poets have done and some still do. I wanted to encounter the competition poems first as a lay or ‘common’ reader, and so expected to be provoked, informed, entertained, inspired and humoured, becoming so moved by whatever I read that I would want to read it again… possibly pick up a poetry reading habit if I wasn’t already one of the converted.  I was looking for variety and strong individual voices. I hoped the competition would provide in its variety the lyrical and narrative, even commentaries of compelling descriptive and expository power. Poetry is all of these things. It embraces all subjects, nothing off limit or taboo.


Thankfully, I did find the variety and robust poetics I was hoping for in this competition. The winning poem, ‘Understanding Dung Beetles’ is not for the squeamish, but the poem’s conversational tone and humour draws its readers to share an interest in what will be for many an unusual and possibly unsuitable subject. For both poet and readers, there is hard work in this informative poem, involving the processing of specialist information, but this is neither obvious nor obtrusive because the poet has masked it with an informal tone, that near conspiratorial voice by which the subject is exposed. In the third stanza there is the kind of heady information on dung beetles by which the poem is mostly constructed:


They work arse-over-heels, literally:

though have spade-shaped heads

            use their hind legs to shift a dung ball

            fifty times their body weight: backwards.  


There is more rib-tickling erudition in the poem from where that came. But there is also a serious purpose to all that laughter. We get to know the dung beetle, get to know the importance of its life to our lives, and are moved to serious thought, as the poet in conclusion:


          Dung is all they own.

            Get high on piles of ordure.


            And dedicating their lives to dung

question the testament

that bread is the staff of life.


We are on a journey in ‘Artichokes and an Olive Grove’, second prize winner in the competition. It does not matter so much that this journey may be more imagined than real. What engaged me as a reader was how the poem enacts movement as metaphor, imagining progress from brokenness and despair towards hope. There is a Mediterranean theme in the references to Laertes, a name from Greek mythology, and the two land products, artichokes and olives, from which the poem takes its title. The allusion to Greek mythology, in particular Homer’s Odyssey, informs the poem’s interest in place or land as a cathartic as well as therapeutic site for the processing of personal journeys, connecting the past with its present and possible future –physical and emotional  journeys of acceptance and closure, recovery and renewal.  The quiet, persuasive voice of the poem is speaking life or healing or hope to one slumped “like an over-blown poppy” on a donkey of despondency. Instead of staying saddled to that ‘donkey’, or removing to an ‘island’ location, an Odysseyan quest land, only to relive the pain of loss and separation, hope was on offer at a land of new beginning, a restful upland location, with familiar or reassuring olive surrounds, from which to look beyond the moment:


          In those hills is an olive grove

            and a plot of land to grow artichokes on

where we shall put that donkey out to graze.  


This rich poem has a simple lineal structure, moving from the observation which identifies its conflict early in the first line, ‘’Your spirit slumps in the saddle’’, to the two questions which engage and then resolve the conflict: ‘’What can I offer to make you look up’’ and “A small farm then, in the backhills?’’ A concluding observation completes the frame, identifying resolution of the conflict with the line, “You are starting to un-slump”.


I liked the ambition of these first two winning poems and the risks successfully taken in the choice of subject, the referencing of mythology, and use of detail, including scientific data. Mood is a significant contributor to enrichment of reader experience in both poems. ‘Stalkers’, winner of the third prize, as well as ‘Finding Edna’ and ‘Titania’s Wood’, which I highly commend, all demonstrate this impressive use of material, as do a number of other poems. ‘Stalkers’ wins the early interest of its reader by suggesting itself as a detective story. We immediately want to know who the stalkers are, a question the poem only responds to tangentially but never quite answers. Instead it provides descriptive identikits to guide its readers towards own interpretations and conclusions on who the culprits might be – as in police artist drawings of unknown villains:


          The first

            is a handsome brute;



                        it swoops from tree-top to tree-top,

            hurdles roads, blazes across horizons,

                        ravager, turning

forest to ash, cropland to desert  


Looking at this portrait, we may begin to sense that rogue weather types and ecological disasters are the enemies we seek here rather than human or animal agents, but this is inconclusive. So we seek further information by turning to more of the pictures:


          The other stalker

is more insidious.


It sleeks beneath sills in serpentine coils,

undermines drip by slow drop,

fragile foundations;

inches up imperceptibly,

sinks islands,

swamps cities;

swallows shores


Aha! We think we are now sure about these stalkers, and even if we still don’t know who or what they are we are happier for taking part in the adventure the poem has provided.  


It has been a pleasure reading these poems – all the competition entries. I found in them much comfort, and the support to continue celebrating poetry in all its subjects, forms and traditions. I hoped to find excellence in its various poetry signatures and did. I hoped to find boldness in the use of language, adventure in the application of form, and I did too. I would say it has been a successful outing for the Build Africa Poetry Competition and its organisers.


Afam Akeh

Oxford, UK.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Press Release: Poetry competition to help battle poverty in Uganda and Kenya

For immediate release

02 May 2012




Eastern Light EPM International, organisers of the Excel for Charity Writing Competitions Series that raises money for the world’s charities announces today a new 2012 competition in aid of Build Africa.


Build Africa is a UK charity working in rural areas of Uganda and Kenya to help young people escape poverty through education and income generation.


The 2012 competition is the second organised for Build Africa by Excel for Charity. The first competition judged by Frost Hollow author, Mandy Pannett was run in 2010 and raised £131.70 for the charity. That year, Gabriel Griffin-Hall won the first prize of £150. The second prize of £75.00 was won by Jeni Williams while the third prize of £35.00 was won by Margaret Eddershaw. In a wonderful twist of events, all three prize winners opted to donate their winnings to Build Africa bringing the total amount raised for the charity that year to £391.70.


In a letter of appreciation to Excel for Charity dated 25 November 2010, Build Africa’s Education and Community Fundraiser, Helen Sharpe said, “The prize winners gifts will be used to help build and equip schools in Kenya and Uganda, helping disadvantaged children and young people go to school, to learn, and to make better lives for them and their families.”


The 2012 competition is judged by Afam Akeh, one of the strongest poetic voices from Africa, author of Stolen Moments and Founding Editor of African Writing magazine. The total prize pot this year for the winning authors is £285.00 and Excel for Charity hopes to donate more to the charity this year than was done in 2010.


This competition is open to both professional and amateur writers from every part of the world. Interested poets may enter online or by post up to midnight on the 15th of July 2012 when the competition closes.


For further information, to enter online or to print off an Entry form, the web address to visit is


The Excel for Charity writing competitions series was created for Eastern Light EPM International and administered by writer and publisher, Nnorom Azuonye, the founder and administrator of Sentinel Poetry Movement, premier community of writers and artists since 2002.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What Petrol Price?

Tills, 79 Sandy Hill Road, London SE18 7BQ. 16-April-2012, Standard Unleaded 142.9p

Jet, 160-168 Plumstead Common Road, London SE18 2UL, 16-April-2012, Standard Unleaded 141.9p, Super Unleaded, 151.9p


Your poem could help the fight against mental illness

YOUR POEM COULD HELP THE FIGHT AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESS. In 2009, we successfully ran a poetry competition in aid of The Psychiatry Research Trust. The 2012 competition is now open. A third of net entry fees will go to the Trust. You could win one of 5 cash prizes: £150 ($238), £75 ($119), £40 ($63), and 2 x £10($16). This competition is administered by Eastern Light EPM International, organisers of the Excel for Charity International Writing Competition Series. | Fees: £4($6.50)/1, £7.50($12)/2, £10.50 ($17)/3, £12.50 ($20)/4 and £14 ($22.50)/5 poems. Pay securely by PayPal either in GB£ or US$ or enter by post. | Derek Adams judges. | CLOSING DATE: 31st MAY 2012 |

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Africa Movie Academy Awards 2012 Nominations Announced

The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the continent's most prestigious awards for filmmakers announced the nominees in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, at an exclusive ceremony attended by celebrities, top government officials and capitals of industry from Gambia and other African countries.


JAMAA - Uganda
Look Again - Kenya
Maffe Tiga - Guinea
Braids On Bald Head - Nigeria
Hidden Life - South Africa
Mwansa The Great - Zimbabwe
Chumo - Tanzania
The Young Smoker - Nigeria


African Election - Nigeria / Germany
Beyond The Deadly Pit - Rwanda
Awa Ogbe An African Adventure - Algeria
Dear Mandella - South Africa
White & Black, Crime And Colour - Tanzania
The Niger Delta Struggle - Ghana
There Is Nothing Wrong With My Uncle - Nigeria
How Much Is Too Much - Kenya


Toussanat Louverture - France
Ghetta Life - Jamaica
High Chicago - Canada
Elza - Guadelupe
Better Must Come - Jamaica
Kinyanrwanda - USA


The Education Of Auma Obama - Germany
White Wash - USA
Almendron Mi Corazon - Guadeloupe
All Me The Life And Times Of Winfred Hubert - USA


John Doe - USA
White Sugar In A Black Pot - USA
The Lost One - USA

The Legend Of Ngog Hills – Kenya
Oba - Nigeria
Climate Change Is Real - Kenya
Egu - South Africa
Chomoka - Kenya


Mystery Of Birds - USA / Nigeria
Housemates - United Kingdom / Nigeria
Ben Kross - Italy / Nigeria
Paparezzi Eye In The Dark - USA / Nigeria / Ghana


Somewhere In Africa - Ghana
Phone Swap - Nigeria
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Adesuwa - Nigeria
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa


The Captain Of Nakara
Adesuwa - Nigeria
Rugged Priest - Kenya
Somewhere In Africa - Ghana
Queens Desire


Rugged Priest - Kenya
State Research Bureau - Uganda
Adesuwa - Nigeria
Somewhere in Africa - Ghana
Shattered - Kenya


Otelo Burning - South Africa
Alero’s Symphony - Nigeria
Adesuwa - Nigeria
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Somewhere In Africa - Ghana


Behind The Mask
Somewhere In Africa - Ghana
Adesuwa - Nigeria
State Research Bureau - Uganda
Otelo Burning - South Africa


State Of Violence - South Africa
Otelo Burning - South Africa
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Man On Ground - South Africa
Algiers Murder - South Africa


How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Rugged Priest - Kenya
Masquerades - Ghana
Man On Ground - South Africa / Nigeria


Algiers Murder - South Africa
Man On Ground - South Africa / Nigeria
Unwanted Guest - Nigeria
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Alero’s Symphony – Nigeria


Ties That Bind - Ghana
Mr & Mrs - Nigeria
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Unwanted Guest - Nigeria
Two Brides And A Baby - Nigeria


Unwanted Guest
Family On Fire
Alero’s Symphony
Phone Swap

Chumo - Tanzania
State Of Violence - South Africa
Family On Fire - Nigeria
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Asoni - Cameroun


Rahman Junior Bande (Greg) - Behind The Mask
Tsepang Mohlomi (Ntwe) - Otelo Burning
Reginna Danies (Jenny) - Bank Job
Benjamin Abemigisha and Racheal Nduhukire (Derick and Margaret) - JAMAA
Ayinla O Abdulaheem - ZR-7


Neo Ntatleno (OJ) - State Of Violence
Ivie Okujaye (Alero) - Alero’s Symphony
Iyobosa Olaye (Adesuwa) - Adesuwa
Martha Ankomah - Somewhere In Africa
Thomas Gumede and Sihle Xaba - Otelo Burning

Rapuldna Seiphemo (Twala) - How To Steal 2 Million
Fano Mokoena - Man On Ground
Hafiz Oyetoro - Phone Swap
Okechukwu Uzoesi - Two Brides And A Baby
Godfrey Theobejane - 48
Lwanda Jawar - Rugged Priest


Terry Phetto - How To Steal 2 Million
Ebbe Bassey - Ties That Bind
Empress Njamah - Bank Job
Ngozi Ezeonu - Adesuwa
Thelma Okoduwa - Mr & Mrs
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde - Ties That Bind


Menzi Ngubane - How To Steal 2 Million
Majid Micheal - Somewhere In Africa
Chet Anekwe - Unwanted Guest
Jafta Mamabolo - Otelo Burning
Karabo Lance - 48
Wale Ojo - Phone Swap
Hakeem Kae-Kazim - Man On Ground


Nse Ikpe Etim - Mr & Mrs
Yvonne Okoro - Single Six
Ama K. Abebrese - Ties That Bind
Rita Dominic - Shattered
Uche Jombo - Damage
Millicent Makheido - 48
Kudzai Sevenzo-Nyarai - Playing Warriors


Adesuwa - Lancelot Oduwa Imaseun
Ties That Bind - Leila Djansi
Rugged Priest - Bob Nyanja
How To Steal 2 Million - Charlie Vundla
State Of Violence - Khalo Matabane
Man On Ground - Akin Omotoso
Otelo Burning - Sara Bletcher


State Of Violence - South Africa
Adesuwa - Nigeria
Otelo Burning - South Africa
Rugged Priest - Kenya
How To Steal 2 Million - South Africa
Ties That Bind - Ghana
Man On Ground - South Africa / Nigeria

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Friday, February 24, 2012



The Short Story Competition for this quarter is judged by Dr Kate Horsley, an award-winning author and Creative Writing lecturer at Lancaster University. Total prize fund of £305.00 plus publishing opportunity. Click here to enter competition now.


The Poetry Competition for this quarter is judged by Miles Cain, an award-winning author The Border and a visiting Creative Writing lecturer at Leeds Trinity University College. Total prize fund of £305.00 plus publishing opportunity.

Click here to enter competition now.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Whitney Houston–I Have Nothing–Tribute by Paschal Obidile

- Nnorom Azuonye

Here is a brilliant tribute to Whitney Houston by Paschal Obidile. Nobody can sing a song quite like Whitney, but in this tribute, singing “I Have Nothing” Paschal manages to make the song his own, blessing us with his rich sonorous voice. Whitney will definitely be proud of this.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2012) – Judge’s Report

derek-b-adamsBeing the judge in a poetry competition can be very disheartening, presented with two hundred and fifty interesting and exciting poems to read through, I had to pick fifteen. This means as a judge you spend all of your time looking for reasons to discard the others. This task gets harder and harder towards the end of the process, when you are left with twenty or thirty poems that you really like and have to be extremely critical of them to try to pick the top six and put them in some sort of order. 


All the short listed pieces were technically competent and well crafted, but in the end there is something that just nudges the overall winners above the rest, something that is a bit harder to put your finger on, but each time you look through the poems you find some that just keep grabbing your attention and ending up on top of the pile.


Here are the final six, with an idea of what it was that drew me to the winning poems.


First Prize:  When a Sound Pretends to Kick a Bucket.

Lots of the poems entered had good images in them, but this poem is relentless in its imagery. The images tumble out one after the other as they carry us and the driver down the road to an inevitable car crash where he is left upside down ‘a floating foetus suspended in a seatbelt’, and from this point of stasis midway in the poem, we are propelled on another wave of images of a life flashing by, ‘The mind disrobing’.  This poem stood out on first reading and stood up to being read again and again and again.


Second prize:  Captain Nemo's Dinner

I loved the way this poem turned a domestic scene on its head. I revelled in gloomy main character of this poem, in a ‘whole deep-sunken world’ of his own making patrolled by ‘ship-sized water-beetles’, as well as the precise voice of the narrator, whose ‘the breathless laughter, / that coloured me deep-blue as a torn open clam’ was wonderful. This poem delighted me with is fantastic surreal imagery


Third prize: Sugar

This is a poem that punches above its weight, with its sustained bitter-sweet metaphor for falling in and out of love, it carries a story that is much bigger than its mere seventeen lines.


Highly commended:


Still Life is a well observed poem in the form of a sonnet. It deals with another road death, this time a child has been run over. It ends with a haunting image of spilt ink.


Passing Over takes us to a ‘border that isn’t on the map’; instructing us how to behave as officials from this other place search through personal belongings and make awkward demands on what could be a final journey.


Why can’t you, is a very clever little poem shows you just what to do with all those clich├ęs you’ve been avoiding. This makes me smile every time I read it.

Derek Adams, February 2012

The winning and highly commended stories from this competition will be published in Sentinel Champions magazine #11, August 2012. Subscribe to Sentinel Champions magazine.

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions Results