Odafe Atogun’s debut novel Taduno’s Song launched at the Ake Festival with eminent personalities including Ngugi Wa Thiong’o attending on Friday November 18th, 2016. The book launch also doubled as the debut of a new printing firm Ouida Books.
Odafe Atogun was born in Nigeria, in the town of Lokoja, where the Rivers Niger and Benue meet, but hails from Edo State. He studied Journalism at the Times Journalism Institute, Lagos. Odafe opted to move from the fourth estate to be a full time writer and his debut novel is Taduno’s Song. This novel was launched at the Ake Festival 2016 in what could possibly be the shortest book launch you would have the fortune to attend.
The launch started with festival emcee Lola Shoneyin explaining that this was something unique that was happening this evening. The Book Buzz Foundation were now as well as organizing the Ake Festival that we were all at now also getting into the book publishing business with new outfit Ouida Books. They had already signed four authors to their stable and this evening’s launch was for one of them.
Lola then gave way to those would be speaking which were the star of the day Odafe Atogun and his moderator Dr Olaokun Soyinka. As soon as they took the stage, there were readings of small parts of the book from volunteers of the festival. These were followed by the discussions from our people on stage.
Taduno’s Song has been getting decent buzz online with some very cool people blurbing it. Here is a sample of opinions on the novel;
Burning with magic and loss, exile and return, beauty and heartache, Taduno’s Song is a colossal epic, disguised as a small novel.’
Marlon James, author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS and Man Book Prize winner.
‘A heartfelt and imaginative story told with sincerity and compassion’
Petina Gappah, author of THE BOOK OF MEMORY.
We’ve heard from the writers we respect but what is it? The discussions on the stage told us about it; a book about a musician who has to choose whether to fight a corrupt regime with his music or kowtow to them as they have imprisoned his one true love.
Speaking about the book which is dedicated to fallen Nigeria hero Fela Kuti (PBUH) Odafe wanted partly to talk about how art, this time music, can be used as a weapon to bring positive change in society. The book was also a love song between two caught up in the madness of a murderous regime.
With the discussions over, the official ceremony of the book launch was to be conducted by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. Ngugi who I suspect was still on song after singing a hearty happy birthday to the older Shoneyin earlier in the day congratulated the newly minted author on his book. He told us that this book had started well as it is already translated into German, Italian and Turkish which is pretty useful I suspect.
“Now all that is left to do is buy and read,” instructed Ngugi.
The buying, on instruction of the legendary Kenyan man of letters, started in earnest and fans got to get official autographed versions of the book.