Saraba

Literary journal “Saraba” is ten!

Founders and editors of Saraba wrote love letters to the literary journal as it turned ten on February 15, 2019.

In 2008, a writing workshop was organized by Emmanuel Iduma, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ and Arthur Anyaduba at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. The first person to sign up was called Dami Ajayi. After the workshop Emmanuel Iduma and Dami Ajayi, students at that university decided to start a new journal that would be called “Saraba.” Its mission would be “to create unending voices by publishing the finest emerging writers, with a focus on writers from Nigeria, and other parts of Africa.”

The first edition themed “Family” guest-edited by poet Jumoke Verissimo would be published in February 2009. Subsequent editions would be published quarterly, typically as themed issues. Prequel and supplementary editions, as well as collective and individual poetry chapbooks, would also be published.

On February 15, the founders and editors of one the continent’s most long-lasting contemporary journals wrote love letters to Saraba. The letter would feature the thoughts from founders Dami Ajayi and Emmanuel Iduma as well as editors Kemi Falodun, Adebiyi Olusolape, and Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀.

Dami Ajayi. Photo/Julian Manjahi.
Dami Ajayi. Photo/Julian Manjahi.

Founder Dami Ajayi in his letter stated, “Your tenacity and survival still eludes me. How you have managed to stay afloat at a time when even profit-driven social enterprises go belly up. It is not the agility of your founders, a writerly bunch with big dreams and even bigger hearts that has upheld you to become an established literary magazine of international repute. It has taken one thousand and one goodwills of benevolent friends, the kindness of strangers and the cynical inertia of foes. And I am grateful.”

Emmanuel Iduma
Emmanuel Iduma

On his part, Emmanuel Iduma would state, “I cannot see it fully, but perhaps around you a myth has formed. In my version of the story Dami came to my house for lunch Sunday after Sunday, and we would often drive off to campus, or arrive from campus, listening to a song—M. I. Abaga’s “Money,” from Talk About It, for instance, or songs by Anthony Hamilton, back to back. On one such day the idea spilled, gathering around our feet like a shapeless pool of dreams. Then we spoke to Ayọ̀bámi, to Arthur, and then to Adebiyi.”

You can read the letters from all the management of Saraba here. They also announced a competition for 12 readers to get 12 books including Stay with Me, by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, A Woman’s Body is a Country, by Dami Ajayi, A Stranger’s Pose by Emmanuel Iduma as well as Limbe to Lagos: Nonfiction from Cameroon and Nigeria edited by Dami Ajayi, Dzekashu Macviban, and Emmanuel Iduma. To enter the competition you need to live in Nigeria. Click here to enter.

To read back issues of Saraba click here.

We congratulate Saraba on getting to their tenth year. It is an achievement to be lauded.

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