Sterling Bank’s Cafe One hosts 2019 Caine Prize winner

Cafe One, Nigeria’s first digital, hybrid experience centre by Sterling Bank Plc, recently hosted award winning Nigerian writer, Lesley Nneka Arimah, in collaboration with Farafina Books. She is the author of a collection of short stories titled, “What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky,” which won the 2019 Caine Prize for Africa.

Café one, dubbed as a place where innovation meets community, was designed for comfort and equipped to provide banking services with ease and convenience. The space boasts of serving the best coffee and pastries in Lagos, provided in partnership with gourmet coffee brand, My Coffee Lagos.

According to Tobi Jaiyesimi, Business Manager, Cafe One, the book reading event tagged, “In Conversation with Arimah,” is one of the ways through which the platform is connecting with its community of innovators who are desirous of upping their craft.

The session was anchored by Ope Adedeji, Managing Editor at Zikoko, who quizzed the author on the inspiration behind the themes explored in her stories, her journey as an author, her mentors, hobby, among others.

Responding, Ms Arimah said she was elated when her work was selected as the winning entry in the Caine Prize for Africa writing competition. She told the audience that she tried to follow human logic while writing, saying “it is good we are telling our stories by ourselves.”

She said the inspiration for the book came from an observation she had with a friend.

On how to publish quality writings, she enjoined the audience made up of budding writers to read voraciously in a bid to get ideas on what to write on, make note of ideas as they come, try not to put too much pressure on their works and also try to internalise their ideas.

‘What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky,’ was published in 2017 and explores the ties that bind couples, families, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.

Ms. Arimah is a Nigerian writer who has been described as “a skilful storyteller who can render entire relationships with just a few lines of dialogue” and “a new voice with certain staying power.”

She was born in London in 1983 and grew up in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) before moving to the United States (US) in her early teens. In 2015, her story “Light” won the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.

Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Harper, Per Contra, and other publications. In September 2017, she was named as one of the fiction writers honoured by the National Book Foundation, called “Five Under 35.”

In April 2017, her debut collection of short stories was published by Riverhead Books and Tinder Press (UK). It is titled “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” and it was republished in Nigeria, by Farafina Books, in November 2017.

It won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and in January 2018, it was shortlisted for the 9Mobile Prize for Literature.

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