On Friday 17th December, Cassava Republic Press, in association with the French Cultural Centre, hosted a book reading to celebrate the launch of its newest release, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives,” by Lola Shoneyin.
The event took place at the French Cultural Centre in Abuja. Literary enthusiasts including, Tunisian Ambassador, Moncef Gouza , were on hand for an evening that began with an art show. Six women artists from the nation’s capital displayed paintings, jewellery, and photography, and jazz and soul crooner, Swat, dazzled guests with a short song.
Shoneyin read passages from the book, which has won rave reviews in the United States and the United Kingdom, and answered questions from the crowd.
“It was colorful and nice,” said one guest. “The use of the artists was very good. They have never had artists before.”
The artists included painters Millicent Osumo and Tyna Adebowale; artist, Pat Adidu, Rita St. John, a photographer; and Lami Abubakar, a ceramic sculptor.
The book describes the upheaval that follows when polygamist Baba Segi marries his fourth wife, Bolanle. A graduate amongst the other semi-literate wives, Bolanle, is hated from the start. Worse, her arrival threatens to do more than simply ruffle feathers. She’s unwittingly set to expose a secret that her co-wives intend to protect, at all costs.
The book is a light and ironic exposé of the rotten innards of Baba Segi’s polygamous household. In this cleverly-plotted story, Shoneyin shows how women in contemporary Nigeria can be restricted, controlled and damaged by the men in their lives.
Shoneyin was born in Ibadan, Oyo State and educated at the Ogun State University and the London Metropolitan University. Her first collection of poetry, “So All the Time I Was Sitting On An Egg” was nominated for the ANA poetry prize in 1997 and her work has appeared in several international journals such as Callaloo, Orbis and Glendora Review. She is married with four children. This is her first novel.
For copies of the book visit the Cassava Republic website at www.cassavarepublic.biz or call: 09 780 3159.
~Lola Shoneyin/Cassava Republic