Sinking, Giggling into the Sea: On Satire and Politics



7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Wolfson lecture theatre, Paul Webley Wing, North Block, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX



In the 60s satirist and comedian Peter Cook had lamented that Britain was in danger of “sinking, giggling into the sea”. Has the mainstreaming of political comedy and satire weaponised “laughter”, lulling liberals into considering themselves soldiers by virtue of their applauding and spreading a humorous takedown, clapback or “call out”?


Does laughter then make it harder for people to do more practical acts of resistance against abuses of power by governments political groups and corporations?


Writer and satirist Elnathan John will unpack all this and more at this launch of his unrestrained and outrageously funny book, Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide.


This is a searing and darkly entertaining look at how power operates in private and in public; in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes. From the exploration of religious hypocrisy to the pragmatic nature of ‘Nigerian love’, the collection is a jab at Nigerian society.

Join us for the book launch, organised by the Royal African Society and Cassava Republic Press and meet Elnathan John, one of Nigeria’s most well-known contemporary satirists. He has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing (2013 & 2015) and has been published in Per Contra, Evergreen Review and Chimurenga’s The Chronic. His debut novel, Born on a Tuesday, won a Betty Trask Award in 2017 and was shortlisted for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature. He is also one of the judges for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

Key Speaker: Elnathan John – Nigerian novelist


Chair: Sarah Ozo-Irabor – Books & Rhymes Podcast


Ticket and book – £15

Ticket, Event only – £7

Book here!