Sunday, July 09, 2006

metro litro

Saw this piece of news about Sudanese writer Kola Boof in the Metro - a free newspaper available at tube stations last week. Apparently, Boof has created a character based on her former lover Osama bin Laden - for a US soap opera. You can read a Boof profile in Farafina Magazine issue 4.

In an international telephone conversation with a writer friend recently, I mentioned the two books of autobiography 'written' by Jordan (aka Katie Price), Britain’s most famous Page 3 girl. Jordan has been diversifying of late, shifting tons of books in lucrative publishing deals, whilst many real writers can only get book deals in their dreams. Jordan is the kind of person you’d expect will have difficulty writing a grocery list! My friend was baffled, but I explained that it’s become commonplace for fluffy celebrities to ‘write’ books about lives they’ve not yet lived (Jordan is yet to hit 30, I think) and make a few millions in the process. The main reason of course, is that these books sell by the bucket loads - which says something about Britain, though I don’t quite know what that is. And for many, the books they write are in fact ‘ghostwritten’… some obscure writer does all the work while the celebrity comes and signs the autographs. And if you’re David Beckham, you can even win a prize in the process!

Meanwhile, Jordan has gone one better, and written a novel, titled Angel. I first learned about it in the Metro. Later the same day I could already see the copies in the window display of a major book store. My only consolation? At least the publishers have had the decency not to price (Ms Price - not too Pricey?) it too highly. It was rather cheap for a brand new book, in fact.

From the Metro to Litro, a publication that gives makes original fiction available free to commuters in some London stations every Friday morning. You can go to the website and register for a brand new story to be sent to you by email every week. And here’s an excerpt from a short story by Chika Unigwe, published recently in Litro…

“Name?” The immigration officer sounds bored. This is a routine poem that he recites for a living.
“Mary Eze.”
“Address?” He glances at me as he flips through to the page with the visa.“Baarlestraat 101, Beerse.” The address is easy to remember.
He says something in Dutch.
“I don’t speak Flemish. Sorry.” I smile and tuck a stray braid behind my ear. I hate Mary Eze for having braids in the passport picture. I loathe having my hair braided. I much prefer just having my hair permed.
“French? Parlez vous Francais? You speak French?” The voice is authoritative this time.
“How. Long. You. Live. Here?” His words come out slow and deliberate. His eyes never leave my face.

-Read the whole story...


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