Showing posts from 2019

Try your skills in the 2020 Short Story Challenge

NYCMidnight has announced its fourteenth Short Story Challenge. The annual competition is open to writers around the world.  The entry fee for this year is USD$48 by the early deadline of December 12, 2019, and USD$58 until the final entry deadline of January 16, 2020. There are thousands in cash and prizes for the winners,  the organizers say.

This year, there are 4 rounds of competition this year. In the first round (January 17-25, 2020), writers are placed in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. 

The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the second round (April 2-5, 2020) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story. 

The judges again choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 3rd Round (May 15-17, 2020) where writers receive new assignments and have 2 days to write a 1,500 word (maximum) short…

The Poem That Unites Us

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the image of plastic litter at Lumley Beach in Freetown paints the best Environment portrait. World Poetry Day is several months away. But since 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has encouraged us to celebrate all poetic expression on March 21.

This month, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, helped raise the visibility of poetry in the media.  As guest editor for British VOGUE magazine, she shared a poem by Matt Haig, a best-selling British author, and mental health advocate, to help bring people together and invite them to join in the discussion about our environment.

Below is “A Note From the Beach” from Matt Haigs' book “Notes on a Nervous Planet.”

I am the beach.
I am created by waves and currents.
I am made of eroded rocks.
I exist next to the sea.
I have been around for millions of years.
I was around at the dawn of life itself.
And I have to tell you something.

I don't care about your body.

I am…

New Author 2019: Sheka Tarawalie's Pope Francis, Politics, and the Mabanta Boy

Sheka Tarawalie,  a journalist and former cabinet minister and press secretary in the Ernest Bai Koroma administration, is now a published author. He shared his good news and information on his new book in a letter to the press. Read on.

Officially, I'm now a published author!

Although I had already been earlier incorporated as an author by the publishers (Troubador -UK), today is the formal publication date of my first book, 'POPE FRANCIS, POLITICS AND THE MABANTA BOY' -…/pope-francis-politics-and-th…/

This means you can now buy it from anywhere to wherever in the world from their website, where I have been given a permanent customised author-page (link above). Although Amazon got pre-release rights to sell the book (and even already delivered it to some lucky readers) before today, the official date for the records/future reference is 28 May 2019. Please note that the publishers themselves started taking retail orders directly from individual …

State of Sierra Leone | April 27, 1961

Sierra Leone won flag independence from the United Kingdom on April 27, 1961, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister. Below is Sir Milton Margai's Independence address to the new nation.

Men, women, and children of Sierra Leone, I greet you all on this historic day, and I rejoice with you.

Sierra Leone today becomes a unified and independent nation to take her place as an equal partner in the Commonwealth of nations and as equal entity in the world at large. For this, we rejoice, and may your own rejoicing wherever you are, be really full of happiness.

We must also face up squarely to the problems which will confront us, and I want you all to understand clearly that the Sierra Leone Government in future will depend very greatly upon the active support and assistance of each one of you. The aim will certainly be to make our country a land worth living in, a land worth serving; but this can only be done by wholehearted service and hard work now. I have told you this before, …

UNESCO’s message on World Book and Copyright Day

In these turbulent times, books embody the diversity of human ingenuity,  giving shape to the wealth of human experience, expressing the search for meaning and expression we all share, that drive all societies forward.

Books help weave humanity together as a single family, holding a past in common,  a history and heritage, to craft a  destiny that is shared,  where all voices are heard in the great chorus of human aspiration. Books are our allies in spreading education, science, culture, and information worldwide. 

Books are also a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a  language-specific reading audience.  A  book is thus written,  produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting.

This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment…

Celebrating Easter Sunday


‘To Mommy, with Love’

Happy birthday, Sidney Poitier. If my father were alive, he’d be a week shy of his 92nd born day. May he continue to rest in peace. 

As a line in the old song goes: 'I never knew YOU at all' but I was six years old when I saw "To Sir, with Love" at the Roxy Cinema on Walpole. See, my Mom worked as a typist in the Roxy, so she got discounts on documentaries and live shows featuring the Afro National band with hits such as  “Temedi” (Happiness). 

Poitier’s eyes in one of the best movies of the sixties are as memorable as National’s songs. 

A steely glance held up in a ramrod suit, Poitier played a young, gifted and black engineer who took up teaching in the Docklands, where decades later my mom (who just turned 81) would live briefly during the war in Sierra Leone.  

I’ve watched a lot of movies with engineers. Most recently, “Regina the Engineer,” a Nigerian tearjerker about overcoming life’s hurdles and challenges; old Hollywood cultural staples like "October Sky&qu…

Vitabu features the memorable sixth chapter of Bakar Mansaray's new book

Bakar Mansaray, the founder of the Mandingo Scrolls blog and winner of the 2017 Writer-of-the-Year, Afro-Canadian Heroes Award, is known for his riveting short stories and tales of life in his native Sierra Leone. In his new book, My Afro-Canadian Chronicle, published by Sierra Leonean Writers Series, the author sheds a personal light on the devastating effects of underdevelopment on a country that went through one of the most atrocious civil wars in modern history.

"For those who have read books of literature, history and anthropology from Sierra Leone and yet harbour the sinking feeling that there had to be a missing link between narratives, Bakar’s book provides that missing link to complete the national narrative," writes novelist and poet Oumar Farouk Sesay in the Foreword.

"This autobiography is a portrait painted on a canvas of memory in vivid and sometimes dark hues, telling a story only a mind as lucid as the author’s can tell.

This excerpt was used with permissio…