Anietie Isong has worked as a corporate writer for some of the biggest brands in the world. His first novel, Radio Sunrise, won the 2018 McKitterick Prize. His collection of short stories, Someone Like Me, published in 2020, won the first annual Headlight Review Chapbook Prize for Prose Fiction. In 2021, Isong’s essay was included in Of This Our Country, a ground-breaking anthology celebrating acclaimed Nigerian writers. He has spoken at the Aké Arts and Book Festival, Henley Literary Festival, Marlborough Literature Festival, among other literary festivals. Isong studied at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University. His new novel is News at Noon.
About News at Noon
News at Noon, a new satirical novel by Anietie Isong, interrogates what it means to be a journalist in an era of misinformation. When a new virus is detected in Lagos, Ifiok and his colleagues in the media must immediately tackle its spread by raising awareness, sharing information, and supporting the outreach efforts of health workers. Unfortunately, they also have to battle against hysteria, misinformation, corruption and denial. The book also explores other themes such as fashion, relationships, and acceptance: Ifiok has found himself torn between two lovers – the young fashion designer chosen by his meddling mother and the very attractive but much older boss at work.
I was savouring my amala and egusi soup at The Lord Is My Shepherd Foods when Julius sent me a text. Apollo Man, our general manager, had summoned me to an emergency meeting with all news and programmes staff. I wolfed down my food. In my haste to leave, I abandoned a succulent piece of fried fish that I had unwisely reserved for the end of my meal. It also hurt that there was no time to wash my hands properly. This time Fresh Hands which Mama Shepherd had placed on the table claiming the washing liquid—made in China and made available only to special customers like me—could get rid of the most stubborn food smells, even fufu, would not be of use to me unfortunately.
Emergency meeting? My heart swung like a pendulum as I hurried back to Radio Sunrise. Was anything wrong? We had regular Monday meetings to discuss ongoing work and plan special broadcasts for occasions like Independence Day or Democracy Day. The last time we had an emergency meeting was when we found out that the erstwhile Minister of Information—nicknamed the Minister of Enjoyment because of his insatiable craving for parties—was coming to our station to commission a new digital studio.
Still longing for the last piece of fish I had left at The Lord Is My Shepherd Foods languishing on my otherwise clean plate, I entered our general manager’s office. ‘Is everyone here?’ Apollo Man asked. After a dozen staff members filed into the office it made me wonder if we could not have used the conference room on the second floor which had extra seating. I sat beside Boniface who had just returned from covering a press conference on the birthday of a prominent Lagos politician. He was grinning from ear to ear, a clear sign the assignment was fruitful.