International Day of the Word

Phantom House Books Nigeria commemorates the International Day of the Word by public reading, starting with a poem by the hour, every hour, and distributing free Tee Shirts in Lagos! Get yours here at until 00:00 GMT today!

For males: tee-shirts male


<Selected Poems>


8: 00 GMT

I live between the fire and the plague…
with my language…
with this mute universe.
Adonis (1929- )
Syrian poet.
“The Fall”

9:00 GMT
Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory, preserves contact…
it is silence which isolates.
Thomas Mann (1875 – 1955)
German writer.
The Magic Mountain

10:00 GMT
If confusion is the sign of the times, I see at the root of this confusion a rupture between things and words, between things and the ideas and signs that are their representation.
Antonin Artaud (1896 – 1948)
French actor, playwright, and writer.
The Theatre and its Double

11:00 GMT
And the stone word fell
Upon my still living breast.
Never mind, I was prepared for this.
Somehow, I shall stand the test.

Anna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966)
Russian poet.
“The Sentence” (Peter Norman (tr.))

12:00 GMT
As pine trees
hold the wind’s imprint
after the wind has gone, is no longer there,
so words
retain a man’s imprint
after the man has gone, is no longer there.

George Seferis (1900 – 1971)
Greek poet and diplomat.
“On Stage” (Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (tr.))

13:00 GMT
The world’s history is a divine poem, of which the history of every nation is a canto, and every man a word.
James A Garfield (1831 – 1881) U.S. president.

14:00 GMT
It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind,
Or not untrue and not unkind.

Philip Larkin (1922 – 1985)
British poet.
“Talking in Bed”

15:00 GMT
What is honour? A word. What is in that word? Honour. What is that honour? Air.
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
English poet and playwright.
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5, Scene 1

16:00 GMT
In countries where the imagination of the people, and the language they use, is rich and living, it is possible for a writer to be rich and copious in his words, and at the same time to give the reality, which is the root of all poetry, in a comprehensive and natural form.

J. M. Synge (1871 – 1909)
Irish playwright.
The Playboy of the Western World

17:00 GMT
Until we learn the use of living words we shall continue to be waxworks inhabited by gramophones.

Walter de la Mare (1873 – 1956)
British poet and novelist.
The Observer (London), “Sayings of the Week”

18:00 GMT
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)
British writer and mathematician.
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

for females: tee-shirts female



New Age Creative Literature: The future of the Nigerian Book Industry | Tn Odu, Literary Agent, Phantom House Books, Nigeria

With the turn of the century, Nigeria as a country has bagged almost every conceivable literary prize that matters…save the Pulitzer. Nonetheless, these are only few who’ve escaped the bottleneck of a lacking book industry. Still, its book industry and appreciation of creative fiction is a charade. It’s no surprise why recognized authors at home are usually African’s in Diaspora with the help of their wealthy and effective power pushers, or is it mongers, but we thank God/god/nature/the universe (whichever you believe in) for the turn of the century.
Blessed are the LNG and the Lumina foundation trying to redress the current situation by giving writers & publishers a little reason to step into the fray. $100,000 and $20,000 is still too little make the changes necessary. I first they up the prize to $300,000, splitting an even hundred across the classes of literature (and the writers of course) for the prize or an even 20 for the Wole Soyinka award. Who seconds? We’re not asking for hands here, our forefathers having ruined it all. It’s the least they can do.
Nigerian fiction has a lot to offer creatively. New authors come up with ideas and creative writing style to please editors. Believe me, I read them everyday. Unfortunately for these authors, only a few editors are privy to review their works. And fewer publishers to publish them.
Why many of these authors think they can make foreign publishing houses by querying foreign agencies, puzzles me. Many foreign publishing houses (I having worked closely with one) prefer to take up local book authors/writers than their foreign counterparts. Same goes for the agencies. And why wouldn’t they? Aside from the fact that it’s far cheaper and wedges a hole in the communication gap thing? So, I ask you. Would you, if you knew your writers were equally as good?
Of what use is fighting against the system as basic as the rain. Every country for its industry. Every industry for its people. Every people for their country. The cycle is as simple as that, dummies! (dummies being a very loose word to fit). As long as resident Nigerian authors don’t figure this trend out, they continue to bask in their cloudy castles hoping for the rains to bring down an acceptance letter. Even more enticing—an advance? Huh?
Humph! The Nigerian Book Industry will always hinge on its parent the Nigerian Book Industry! No fruit goes bigger than its nursing tree, that’s for sure. Since that affects the average Nigerian writer, let me rephrase that, ‘Since the Nigerian book market is failing, the average Nigerian is left abandoned, and unexplored.’ Poor, if you’d prefer the term. We aren’t just loosing a reading culture. We are loosing a writing culture as well. The two feed off the same cord.
For more of these creative fictional works (and their authors) to be emphasized, Nigeria has to rework her book market. We need scores of awards? We need scores of publishers? We need scores of agencies and authors? Where is the red carpet, or ^&$&*’s sake?
Having worked on both sides of the coin(publishing that is), I see better. Self-publishing is highly scorned at by agencies not willing to sign resident Nigerians up (apart from the fact that no publisher who wants an author whom squanders his/her advance to tackle a visa to meet up your book signing. Unless, you would. If you were half-human). But, what more do you expect from Nigerians in general. It’s all they have.
None the less, without our own publishing houses and self-created agencies showcasing and appreciating our work, our industry will continue to linger at the bottom of the sea, not to be seen across our vast literary landscape. We kill ourselves here. Our country eats us alive. We eat what’s left of our writers raw. Don’t even get me started on the huge margins of 150 million people…We eat what’s left of our literary, day by day.
Enough bitching about the government and the publishing houses…everyone knows we impaled that gander already. To the writer’s involvement in this whole charade. Stop blowing hot air about how good you write. Get published and let the people decide how good it is!
No writer writes not to be read, silly. No matter who you are and what you write.
Ps. This is blog post. Not a manuscript. all you loose pair of eyes