The book reading at Rele gallery on Sunday was not the regular kind of book gathering in Lagos. If another name was needed for the event then it would be “Book Meet Art ” or “Writers Meet Artists”. An unusual crowd of artists, writers and their friends cum followers, and press men gathered in Rele’s central room to enjoy multiple readings by two popular writers. Both parties brought in their best elements to make the event a melting pot of arts.
The book reading was a friendly championship between award winning artist and writer, Victor Ehikhamenor and another award winning writer and poet, Toni Kan. The show down started with Victor Ehikhamenor who read from his book “Excuse Me” published in 2012. Excuse Me is a collection of the writer’s funny experiences and observations from growing up in Benin and being Nigerian. From round one to three, he read parts of the book that borders on love, politics, and the art of writing. The most captivating being the second round reminiscing the days of writing love letters. The laughter was endless.
Toni Kan on his part read from two books. He started with a short reading from his first book Nights of the Creaking Bed, then read from his new unpublished book Carnivorous City. The stories from Carnivorous City are funny and thought provoking at the same time. It is hard to point at the lines between real and fiction in the book.
One subject was recurrent in the books by both writers. They made references to the gradual end of professionalism in journalism and writing. While Ehikhamenor points at the quality of writing, Kan points at the shameful behaviors of journalists ridiculing the profession. The longest interactive segment of the evening centered around these subjects as arguments go for and against technology and increasing urbanization, internet, and social media as the cause of declined good writing. Heads of Nigerian bloggers were not left out in the arguments condemning uncensored online writing and publishing.
If Rele had intentions of picking a winner, it would have been a difficult task as both writers had the audience laughing and thinking from the beginning to the end.
Rele Reading had an impressive turn out and was well coordinated by the capable referee Ms WanaWana. Five poster prints worth N5000 each was given to people who came early and a lucky winner went home with an original art work made by Victor Ehikhamenor with words by Toni Kan.
See more photos below. You can look on our twitter feed – @tsalovesart – for live tweets from the event.