So, it’s mid-year already, and the rains are coming down hard. I’m sitting in bed at midnight, trying to put together the disjointed pieces of my activities in WriterLand so far this year. As each puzzle piece clicks into place and the picture nears completion, it dawns on me that I’ve done so much more than I thought, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I guess it’s true what they say: you can’t do it without a plan. For real, you can’t.
The first good thing that happened to me this year was that Dolly Garland and I both won bursaries to attend the Milford SF Writers Conference at Trignos, Wales in September this year. Now, those who know Milford know this is not a small feat: it means one gets to walk the same paths that Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin have. Aside being the first Nigerian and African to attend Milford ever, this comes at a vital point in my writing journey and I can’t be any more pleased. Bring on September!
- I joined the Escape Artists team as an Associate Editor at Podcastle (another “first Nigerian/first African” thing I did). Podcastle is a pro SFWA international market for short stories, and I’m quite excited about all the good stuff I’m gonna learn in my time here.
- I got longlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize, but unfortunately didn’t make the shortlist. Next time, then?
- I finally got admitted into the famous Codex Writers Group for neo-pro speculative fiction writers!
- Oh, and I started a tinyletter, After Five Writing Shenanigans.
Writing, subs and pubs
At about 25K words, I completed Pure Black, the first of what I hope becomes a series of novellas about David Mogo, a demigod and freelance godhunter who has to deal with a Lagos Island that’s infested by various forms of deities. This is currently cooling off for revision. I also submitted my academic-crime thriller novel from last year, Rundown/Finding Foowa, to some houses. Let’s see what they say.
As at mid-year 2017, I already have more short stories in markets than I had published in the whole of 2016. “Can Anything Good Come” (The Dark, Issue 21) is the best performing so far, getting great reviews and into the Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List. Forthcoming soon are “Our Secrets, In Keys” from Fireside (As a regular person, how long can you stay married to a weredragon?); “When You Find Such A Thing” from Podcastle (A young Nigerian wizard meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time, and uncovers secrets that might’ve been better left alone); and a reprint (and podcast) of “Places” in StarshipSofa. These should grace the interwebs between August and November. “The Secret Life Of The Unclaimed” will be published in A World of Horror (anthology), edited by Eric J. Guignard of Dark Moon Books, around early 2018. “Like Stars Over The Lonely Ocean“, the Writivism longlistee, will also be published by Black Letter Media in 2018.
Most people also know about my work with WordsAreWork, and our fiction masterclasses. We held the second installment. WAWFM S01 E02: Plot, Setting & Description at Ignite Africa Library in Oregun, Lagos. We’re still raking in testimonials.
And lastly, reading
Besides Goodreads giving me my own author page, nothing special has happened this year beyond setting a reading goal of 18 books and sticking to it so far (9 as at this post). My most enjoyable reads have been Shadowshaper (DJ Older), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), No Longer At Ease (Chinua Achebe), The Woman Next Door (Yewande Omotosho) and Rosewater (Tade Thompson).
Simple. I’ll keep juggling it all, and hope none slips off and crashes before I return here in December. Until then.