Of Words, Awards and Milestones
In which I resurrect this long dead newsletter
It seems ages ago since I last sent out this newsletter. What else can I say, except “life happened”. I graduated med school, moved countries, wrote a book, started a job, wrote another book. I will try to be more regular with this, or at the very least have it be an updates-only thing so I don’t clutter up your inbox. No promises, but we’ll see, we’ll see …
Without further ado, let’s dive straight into it.
Nommo Award Finalist
The Many Lives of an Abiku has been shortlisted for the Nommo award in the Best Short Story category! I am over the moon about this. This story is my take on the Yoruba mythos about children who are born ( and die in childhood) over and over again to the same mother. Some how it managed to make its way onto a Wikipedia entry alongside works of titans of Nigerian literature like Soyinka and Okri dealing with this same subject matter. Voting is open only to members of the African Speculative Fiction Society.
Ignyte Award Finalist
I am incredibly honoured to have The Tale of Jaja and Canti shortlisted for an Ignyte award in the Best Short Story category—among a very stellar lineup of writers, no less. This story strolled into my head almost wholly formed sometime in 2019, when I imagined what it would be like to try my hand at the tale of a certain wooden boy. I spent the next two years shopping it around to very near misses, until it eventually found its home in Lightspeed. I’m proud of the story, and if reader reactions are any indication, I did something right. Voting is open to everyone, all you need is a working email address. So if you read this story, and it speaks to you, I’d be grateful for your vote!
My First Short Story Collection!
I’m still pinching myself over this, over the incredible fact that Undertow Publications will publish my first collection, Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic—in summer 2023. (And, whew, what a title, if I do say so myself! I do looove titles that sing, if you haven’t guessed that by now.) Undertow Publications is a very fine publisher with a very keen eye who has put out some stellar works over the years (Priya Sharma’s All the Fabulous Beasts; Kay Chorister’s Thin Places; A.C. Wise’s Ghost Sequences) and to have my first collection come out under their umbrella is a dream! It will also contain 2 (maybe 3) new stories. I have many thoughts on this collection, and how the stories came about, but I better leave that for the Author’s Note. More news to come on this soon.
The Epic of Qu Shittu
This epic (see what I did there? :D) tale is my latest published story, which appeared in the March/April issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Here’s what a very fine reviewer had to say:
Tobi Ogundiran’s fantasy “The Epic of Qu Shittu” opens on a stowaway sneaking into the ship’s hold of a deadly enchanter in the hope of meeting the legend himself. What could possibly go wrong? Ogundiran’s language makes it a pleasure to read room descriptions; horror and humor meet in descriptions of “skulls wearing identical smiles as if sharing some secret joke.” As the story builds, the reader discovers the joke’s a dark one: the cost of becoming a powerful enchanter is as awful as the pressures that drove him—or worse. The story-within-a-story structure affords the reader two protagonists, the stowaway and the enchanter, and the story elements laid before the reader support so many directions it’s not initially clear whether “The Epic of Qu Shittu” will turn out to be a tragedy, a heist, a revenge plot, or something else; it’s an exciting read that adds psychological elements and moral problems to the physical conflicts. The dark ending suits the characters.
Give it a peep and let know what you think of it.
Excerpt from a work-in-progress
Papa has been dead for years. What small part of my mind still latched on to sanity tells me that he isn’t really here, that my oxygen-starved brain has conjured him. But … hadn’t I brought him with me? Hasn’t he always been in my ear, my constant companion, through nearly two decades of voyage here? Because, fraught though our relationship had been, I had been unable—perhaps unwilling—to let him go. So in a desperate gesture I gave the AI his voice, his mannerisms, so I wouldn’t be alone, so in the vast blackness of the cosmos I would have something, someone familiar with me.
That’s all the news for now. Until next time.