Tag Archives: nnorom azuonye


Editorial Note

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This is a very difficult editorial note to write; after years in the Poetry Editor’s chair, the April – June 2018 issue is the last to have Mandy Pannett as our Poetry Editor. It has been an incredibly good journey. … Continue reading

Editorial Note | SLQ October – December 2017

We are selling the metal that kills / so we can afford the spoons that feed our children; / then killing them with the metal that we’ve just sold / feeding them with the blood on the spoons from happy meals. (Matt Duggan ‘Metal’)


The poems. The short stories. The play. The Essay & Reviews. They come together in this issue to reflect on what we are doing to our world and to ourselves. We encounter the tricks and the subterfuges of personal relationships. We enjoy the struggles that come along when life-changing decisions are made at the risk of tearing apart families, separating loved ones, and we are thrown into a dance of jubilation as people change, make room for adventure, and somehow, just somehow, love and unity find a way, even as we cannot help the aftermath of wars and their enduring devastations.


The IDF in Nablus walk through walls / eviscerating living rooms, inverting geometry. / Where streets prickle with barricades / walls become the easy street, mapped / by laser, admitted by C4. (Noel Williams ‘Lethal Theory’)


We celebrate our Sentinel Champions from our August 2017 poetry competition judged by Oz Hardwick; the specially mentioned Kelly Nunnerley ‘Surrender’, L Thompson ‘Your windows’ and Sharon Phillips ‘Labile’. The commended Michael Brown ‘Our Father’, Kathleen Strafford ‘Swinger’ and Jim Friedman ‘Some have entertained angels unawares’. The highly commended Maria Isakova Bennett ‘Frozen Ringtone’, Diane Cook ‘The Softening’ and Sharon Phillips -again – ‘What does the heart mean in popular culture?’. Gabriel Griffin ‘Vanitas’ (third prize), Greta Ross ‘In transit’ and Noel Williams ‘Lethal Theory’ (first prize winner.)


Think about Travelling without Moving by Jamiroquai, when you read the play ‘Out of the Night’ by Geoffrey Heptonstall. Theatre of the absurd does in your head the way this play chips away at our minds and patience. Yet we recognize that out of the ashes of war, out of the coldness of prison cells and the loneliness of institutions for the mentally ill rise many Alans and Doloreses. We know it is time to change the way we live, the way we talk, the way we treat each other.


As we publish our last 2017 issue of Sentinel Literary Quarterly, we give many thanks to our poetry editor, Mandy Pannett, for her untiring love of this magazine and the sacrifices she makes to ensure we keep on publishing amazing. Many thanks to our subscribers, the generous individuals and institutions who pay for this magazine despite its availability at no cost online. Special appreciation to those faithful participants in our writing competitions. Many of you have been with us right from the beginning, through the times we have been strong and the times we have been troubled. You have stood behind us (whether your poems have placed or not), and the little margins, when we achieve some are plunged right back into publishing this magazine. We give our love too to those who have just recently discovered Sentinel and are building a relationship with us.


Finally, we owe the teams at The Poetry Library (London), The Poetry Kit, The Poetry Society of New Zealand, Writers Reign, Prize Magic, The Poetry Can, Orbis, Writers Editors, The First Writer and Christopher Fielden for all the free and regular promotion they give our competitions and magazine.

Merry Christmas.


Nnorom Azuonye |Publisher & Managing Editor


Call/Text/WhatsApp +44 (0) 7812 755 751


Results and Judge’s Report – Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2015)

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Judge’s Report By Oz Hardwick   I didn’t think to count the number of poems with which I started – it was the sort of pile I’d be more inclined to weigh than count, anyway – but after careful and … Continue reading

Spring, still cancelled

Yesterday was simply beautiful. God had changed his mind about the cancellation of Spring this year, I thought.

But this morning Wintry drafts mock the heatless sun and I think I can hear the music of clattering teeth from the streets come on the wings of those drafts.

Where is my peppersoup?

– Nnorom

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Vol.5. No.2 delayed

The publication of Sentinel Literary Quarterly Vol.5. No.2 which was due on 31st of January 2012 has been delayed and will be published on the 12th of February.

This delay has been caused by transition gremlins as we now publish the magazine in print as well as online with effect from the new issue. We have proudly been on time for years and will continue to be on time as soon as this gets done. The SLQ team is working hard at making the magazine one you will continue to love and support.

If you are not yet on our mailing list and would like to be notified by e-mail as soon as the magazine is published please join now. It is absolutely free to join and we won’t spam you, and you are at liberty to unsubscribe anytime. www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/list.html


Nnorom Azuonye
Publisher & Managing Editor

Sentinel Champions magazine #6 published

We are pleased to announce the publication of issue #6 of Sentinel Champions – the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Writing Competitions magazine.

Sentinel Champions #6

In this issue;

Short Stories

The Scream – Samantha Symonds

Mayday – Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

Love at First Site – Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

A Way with the Kids – Sharon Birch

Crown of Burrs – G.H. Zitzelsberger

The Green Gators – Joey C. Aglasi


Getting Married with Gertrude Stein – Nicholas Y.B. Wong

Teaching English Poetry in Hong Kong – Nicholas Y.B. Wong

Thoughts on a Bad Day – Emanuela Puosi

Spock – Christian Ward

Tastes of Blue – Warren Paul Glover

Edinburgh – Warren Paul Glover

Voice in the Night – John Cooper

Leaving Day – John Cooper

The Age of No Dog – Mandy Pannett

Move On – Mark Borg

Please Destroy – Catherine Pitt

When Kieron Came – Heather Buswell

Dorm – Ilya Meylakh

Lines – Kate Barnett


Adventures in Writing Competitions Administration – Nnorom Azuonye

To buy a copy or to subscribe,  go to http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/champions


Once again it gives us great pleasure in announcing the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions. From the feedback we have had from the adjudicators Jude Dibia and Andy Willoughby, the overall standard of the entries this quarter were particularly high. Willoughby who judged the poetry competition had to ask if we could have 10 commended poems selected for publication in Sentinel Champions instead of our normal 9 as he found it difficult to cut the number down any further. This is a great testament to the contribution our competitions are making to the creation of new literature.

Here are the results of the competitions.


This quarter, our three Highly Commended stories are:

“If” by Ina Claire Gabler

“The Mackwater Seam” by Brindley Hallam Dennis


“Having a Cigarette” by Anne Wilson


The Third Prize of goes to “Are we there yet?” by Andrew Blackman

The Second Prize goes to “Colouring Matthew” by Bruce Harris

and the First Prize has been won by “MRS. MACKENZIE’S SECRET” by EILEEN HOON.


This quarter, our Highly Commended poems are:

”Kaleidoscope” by Ayoola Oyeniyi

“Death in Inverness” by Bruce Gardner


”Jackie Scribbles falls again” by E.K. Wall


The Third Prize goes to “Darling Sleep” by Tabitha Joy

The Second Prize goes to “The World is Flat” by Catherine Edmunds


The Winners and Highly Commended writers in fiction and poetry plus 10 other Commended poets from the January 2011 competitions will be published in Sentinel Champions #8, in November 2011.

The Highly Commended Poets will each receive a signed copy of The Wilds Anthology edited by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie.

Congratulations to all the winners and commended writers.

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of Sentinel Literary Quarterly Writing Competitions, please direct your enquiries to the Competitions Secretary, Sandra Felix competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk or to the Administrator, Nnorom Azuonye nnorom.azuonye@sentinelpoetry.org.uk


Voice of America at the Southbank Centre

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by NNOROM AZUONYE Monday, January 31st, 2011, an earlier meeting of the day had gone on too long, but I managed to get to the Southbank Centre, London at about 7.55pm. I was not worried about missing anything. Inside my … Continue reading


Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology

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I am pleased to let the cat out of the print a little.The first Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology will start shipping at the end of the first week of February 2011. This book features 27 Poets, 7 Short Story Writers … Continue reading

Nigerian writers out to support their own EC Osondu

Picture of author, E C Osondu

EC Osondu, winner of the 2009 Caine Prize, reads from his debut collection of short stories, Voice of America. Set in Nigeria and America, the subjects of these stories range from the poverty of a refugee camp to the disorienting experience of immigrant life in a new world. Focusing on village communities and the bustling metropolis, Osondu’s writing is shot through with humour, pathos and wisdom.

The event is chaired by Bernardine Evaristo, author of Soul Tourists and Blonde Routes.

‘Osondu looks at the human condition in all its poignant absurdity; with observant wonder and subtle humour.’  – (Mary Gaitskill) In association with African Writers’ Series.

Nigerian writing community in the UK, including Nnorom Azuonye, Publisher of Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Chuma Nwokolo, Publisher of African Writing, and poets Afam Akeh, Ike Anya, and Lookman Sanusi among others  will be out there to support and hear Osondu read his work.

It is at the Southbank Centre in London at 7:45pm. Get your tickets  now.

Buy tickets here: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/literature-spoken-word/tickets/ec-osondu-55955


Related article:

E.C. Osondu’s “Waiting”

a review by Nnorom Azuonye

Another quick read of E.C. Osondu’s Waiting flags it up as a brilliantly-written tale. It easy to see why this story won The Caine Prize for African Writing 2009.

Waiting could easily have been titled The Tragedy of Acapulco; the boy caught in a seemingly endless wait for an American family to adopt him and take him away from the drudgery of life in a refugee camp. But it is also the tragedy of Orlando – Acapulco’s campmate – a fictive, aspiring author whom Osondu would have us deem the author of the story in Waiting. The story appears to be a faster-moving mirror of the absurd lives of Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot– mentioned in the story, which sort of throws us off the scent a little, but as Orlando and Acapulco play out the stasis of their sorry lives in that refugee camp with measured but highly effective pathos, Acapulco is in reality more like Pepel and Orlando like Luka is Gorki’s The Lower Depths. WithAcapulco asking endless questions and Orlando – the wise one having all the answers without really answering any questions factually.

One thing that is very disturbing in Waiting is that the residents of the camp are nameless, adopting names inscribed on T-shirts, and their back stories are not explored, perhaps deliberately, giving the lives of people like Acapulco and Orlando a wholesome rootlessness.  

Life in the refugee camp is quite harrowing; waiting and fighting for food and water which might not materialise, as all resources are subject to the humour of the ‘enemy’ and if they would allow the Red Cross to bring supplies to the camp. Like the victims of the plane crash in the film, Alive, who cooked their friends in snow and ate them for sustenance, it was horrible to read how the residents of the camp killed and ate the black dogs that had been their allies and protectors, and how this betrayal of the animals turned them into a wild pack of man-eaters who eventually dismembered a toddler with savage teeth.

Although Orlando’s way is quite different from Acapulco’s, the former reads books, gains knowledge and seems to have some control of his life and is in the good books of Sister Nora, while the latter lives inside his head where there is cacophony, with a diseased ear and a stench that keeps people away, it is difficult to shake the feeling that neither Orlando nor Acapulco would get out of the refugee camp on the wings of his heart’s desire. Hence in true tradition of the absurd, there is really neither a conflict raised nor a resolution achieved. Like those who wait for God to come and he never comes, or he comes and walks by and they don’t see him, and they continue to wait, and wait.

Acapulco has something going for him though. He reasons that he may never get adopted and considers joining the Youth Brigade, but is dissuaded by the stories that members are given drugs and made to drink blood. It does appear the Youth Brigade might indeed be his only way out, like taking his own affairs in his own hands like Nwokedi in the Esiaba Irobi play who argues that “When we wait for God to act and God does not act, we take up the role of God and act. That’s why he made us in his own image.” For Orlando, finishing his book and becoming a bestselling author might be his own way out.

As it is, Waiting appears to be an excerpt from a longer narrative, and I suspect E.C. Osondu may be persuaded to stretch it into  full length novel. It will be exciting to see the directions the lives of Orlando and Acapulco go. Perhaps, Acapulco would indeed join the Youth Brigade and rise to become general in the Enemy’s army, perhaps a rebel leader of the land, whilst Orlando gets to be the writer with a conscience and a thorn in his side.

An outstanding achievement, Waiting is written in vernacular. I hear the Igbo in the English Language construction and some direct onomatopoeic insinuations are cheerful, such as Dakota, which literally means to fall together in Igbo. For a piece of prose the economy of words in Waiting is almost like what one would expect of poetry. In this story, Osondu displays a matured storytelling skill, a keen sense of setting and an astute ear for dialogue. Beautiful.

This review of ‘Waiting’ was first published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly in July 2009 at http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/slq2.4/essays/nnorom.azuonye.html