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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Nigeria is my playground': Pelu Awofeso's Nigerian travel writing
Author:Jones, Rebecca
Periodical:African Research and Documentation (ISSN 0305-862X)
Geographic term:Nigeria
About person:Pelu Awofeso
Abstract:The principal focus in this article is the work of Pelu Awofeso, a Nigerian travel writer who has a small international audience and whose online work is increasingly generating a home-grown Nigerian readership. Since 2002, Awof?s? has been travelling Nigeria and documenting his experiences in personalised travel narratives, resulting in three travel books: a guidebook to Jos called 'A place called Peace' (2003), followed by 'Nigerian festivals' (2013 [2005]), featuring travel narratives as well as information about festivals, and 'Tour of duty' (2010). 'Tour of duty' is an anthology of short first-person travel narratives describing journeys to 'all four corners' of Nigeria, and relating Awof?s?'s encounters and discoveries along the way. This article focuses less on readings of Awof?s?'s travel narratives themselves than on the work - both practical and intellectual - around travel writing and publishing, drawing on interviews with Awof?s? to explore his own views of his work as a travel writer. It also considers Awof?s?'s distinctive concern with the Nigerian nation as the space for travel. The article relates Awof?s?'s work not only to colonial and western travel writing lineages, and thereby to the sense that African selfrepresentation within such a tradition is overdue, but also to earlier domestic travel writing by Nigerians. Awof?s?'s sees himself producing an archive of everyday life for the long-term, 'writing for tomorrow', describing the work of palm wine tappers, fishermen and sand sellers, and differences of landscape, architecture and food across the nation. But, like travel writers the world over, Awof?s? also uses his travel writing to auto-archive himself, to fashion himself as a substantial pioneer in the Nigerian travel writing industry. In the midst of this growing literary clamour around travel writing, he is establishing his own legacy as a travel writer, publisher, intellectual and tourism pioneer; this is a different kind of archiving, generated not so much through the text - Awof?s? himself is a relatively quiet presence in his actual travel texts - but through the activities around travelling and travel writing. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]