Few authors working today write as well as Chuma Nwokolo; even fewer give a public reading as well as the man.
At Terra Kulture recently, the prolific writer of prose, poetry and briefs—he is a practising lawyer—took guests on a tour of his impressive oeuvre.
The session began with a reading of “The Courting of Adieleuwa,” and “Of that first night without Madiba” both from his new collection of poetry, The Final Testament of a Minor God; the first about marriage rituals, and the latter about Mandela’s passing.
The author said noting the rather intimate audience, he preferred small gatherings: “preferably, one person, but that’s usually a romantic reading.” The remark was greeted with laughter.
Taking requests from the audience members familiar with his work, he read “Marital Accounts” from his short story collection The Ghost of Sani Abacha.
During the reading’s Q&A session, Femi Morgan, writer and critic asked Mr. Nwokolo if he was worried about his appeal to the younger generation given the draw of television today. The author appeared unconcerned saying his books “travel well across generations.”
“Lessons they don’t teach in Tourism School” from his new story collection How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories, certainly travelled well in the audience. With Nwokolo performing voices, his baritone booming for the story’s irritated Manager and whiny for the tale’s cowering customer, the Terra Kulture audience on the evening laughed and applauded Nwokolo’s narration. And later audience joined the author in a call and response poem.
An acoustic rendition closed the event. And thereafter, Mr. Nwokolo signed copies of his books for purchasing guests.