Today in #TheLagosReview

Sudan’s publishers enjoy freedom after 30 years

Sudanese participation in the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has increased this year as the country is enjoying their newfound freedom. Now, they are free from censorship.

The number of participating publishing houses has increased from two to eight, displaying several books that used to be banned.

According to them, they couldn’t participate in any international book fairs or cultural events, as the former regime allowed only publications that promoted its policies.

Hassan Saeed from University of Khartoum Publishing House said Sudanese participation in this year’s SIBF is the largest in the last 30 years.

“This is the result of the liberation of Sudanese people. Free from the thoughts of extremism and ignorance, Sudanese publishing houses are activating intellectual partnership through their participation in the SIBF.”

He pointed out that the Sudanese cultural participation in previous years were “sub-standard and intermittent”.

“Sudan is taking the right path to development, reconstruction and comprehensive renaissance,” he added.

Noor Al Huda, owner of Azza Publishing House, said that his stall has 25 distinct titles that are being displayed to the public for the first time.

These include an encyclopaedia on diversity by Dr Amr Mohamed Abbas and a series that examines the abilities and development of women.

Among the other previously banned books were Sex and Sexuality of the Sudanese Woman by Dr Fatima Babiker and My Heart on My Country by Dr Ali Abdel Kader.

Al Huda believed that the diversity of Sudan was brought about by African, Nubian and Arab civilisations coming together, producing distinctive literature.

Seated behind an endless line of tables at the Expo Centre, 1,502 authors from around the world have simultaneously signed their books at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), setting a new Guinness World Record.

One of the highlights of this year’s SIBF, the event clinched the title for the world’s largest book-signing ceremony in one location, beating the previous record set by 1,423 authors in Turkey.

Amid thousands of cheering visitors at the fair, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) received the Guinness World Record certificate from the organisation’s representatives on Thursday evening.

“This event is another step forward for Sharjah in the Arab and global cultural arena – an outstanding intellectual and creative achievement to be remembered as fruit of Sharjah’s efforts of promoting a love of books and reading for more than 40 years,” Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of the SBA, said at the record-breaking event.

“This achievement is yet another endorsement of the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in placing books, culture and knowledge at the heart of our society.”

He added that the feat was extra special, considering that it was done during a year when Sharjah is celebrating its recognition as Unesco World Book Capital 2019.

“We thank all the authors, publishers and volunteers for enabling us to attain this world record, an Emirati achievement that will go down in history,” he said.

Snaking from one end of the Sharjah Expo Centre to the other – and up and down isles and corridors – were row upon row of seats and tables set up for the participating authors and their books.

Al Fatih Jabra – a Sudanese author who took part in the ceremony by signing his book titled Additional Income – said he was excited to be part of a “historic event”.

“It was an amazing idea organised by the SIBF, and it was an honour for me to sign my book among the massive gathering of great authors from around the world. I never expected that one day, I will be part of an event that would enter Guinness World Records,” he said.

Mujeeb Jaihoon, who signed his book Slogan of the Sage, didn’t expect that his scheduled book-signing would be part of a big event.

“This will be one of the greatest achievements in my life and will definitely make my children and grandchildren proud,” he said.


Celebrated Novelist, Ernest Gaines dies at 86.

Celebrated Novelist and Author of “A Lesson Before Dying” and “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” Ernest Gaines, has died at the age of 86. He died on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

Ernest Gaines was the celebrated author of “A Lesson Before Dying” and “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” Born on a plantation in Louisiana, he made his way to California as a teenager because the local high school did not allow African-American students. After serving in the Army, he earned a place in Stanford University’s creative writing program. His novels took an honest poetic look at black struggles in America. He gained some success with 1971’s “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” but even more when his 1993 novel “A Lesson Before Dying” was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s book club. Both novels were adapted into movies.

Gaines said it took years for family and friends to understand his need to write: “They all thought I was nuts because hardly any of them had read a book, a novel. Back in a place like this, you read the Bible.” “Nobody in the country had books. They didn’t know what you were talking about, and even if they did, they had not read black writers.” – He told the Advertiser in 2014

What they said about him: “It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Ernest J. Gaines, a native Louisianan who used his immense vision and literary talents to tell the stories of African Americans in the South. We are all blessed that Ernest left words and stories that will continue to inspire many generations to come.” – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

“Ernest Gaines once said he wanted his epitaph to read: “He was a good man who wrote well.” And indeed he was – but to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he was far more.” “He was a believer in the power of words to inspire unflinching, honest conversations about painful corners of our collective past.” – University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie

Image credit: Jennifer Zdon for The New York Times

Zenith Bank unveils STYLE BY ZENITH 2.0

There is an undisguised interest by financial institutions to reach Millennials. The formats employed in engaging this captive audience have varied and include fashion shows, music events, entertainment seminars and other unique artistic expressions.

Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s biggest banking institution is not left out in this foray for a younger audience. Their style of engagment, though not particularly different from their counterpart’s effort, is definitely a move in the right direction.

StylebyZenith 2.0, their newest effort, is a Zenith Bank sponsored 3-day family lifestyle fair taking place at the Eko Energy City Grounds (next to Eko Atlantic) along Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos on November 29th to December 1st, 2019 from 8.00am daily.

The Lifestyle fair is open to the public while the Masterclasses and Music Concerts are reserved for Zenith Bank customers.

The 3 day initiative includes daily lifestyle fairs where people can purchase items at discounted prices, daily Masterclasses focusing on the businesses of Movie Making, Music Production, Make up, Hair Styling and Fashion as well as Musical concerts featuring Nigeria’s top A list artists.

There is also a super dope Aspire game arcade for gaming enthusiasts and the ZECA Play World for children.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date