Dream Chasers


The idea behind the Nelson Fiction Series was to provide a platform for writers to publish with a mainstream publishing house here in Nigeria but with the international reach usually associated with publishers in Cape Town, London and New York. The intention was to bring out six titles a year which would chiefly consist of novels but would also include short stories. While we envisaged one stand-alone collection by an individual author, we were also anxious to include an anthology from different voices to give a sense of the range of talent out there. The only criterion was that the stories themselves should not have appeared elsewhere in book form. Dream Chasers is the first of what we hope will become an annual event.
The short story is a notoriously difficult form; as Truman Capote so memorably put it, ‘Too many writers seem to consider the writing of short stories as a kind of finger exercise. Well, in such cases, it is certainly only their fingers they are exercising.’ As he also pointed out, ‘a story can be wrecked by a faulty rhythm in a sentence…or a mistake in paragraphing, even punctuation.’ A world must be realised simply and deftly. No beating about the bush!
Earlier Nigerian writers ‘of English expression’, as the term has it, were more interested in the possibilities of the novel than the short story – famously so in one case – but this seems to have changed somewhat in recent years, hence this anthology. The same may or may not be true of writers in the other languages of the country, but if it is, then we look forward to publishing the best of them in translation, in order to give a fuller picture of the contemporary literary landscape.
As one might expect in an anthology of this nature, the range of themes explored in the stories is varied but anger and despair at the squalid condition of a country ‘too rich to be poor’ is enlivened by the famous energy and laughter of the long-suffering. This is true even of the two stories included here which are set outside our shores. That said, it also follows that the ongoing Nigeria project certainly provides plenty of material for the Nigerian writer and, after all, the story’s the thing.