By Grareano Kori Adiga
Dubbed the most consistent literary event in Nigeria, the Guest Writer Session of the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), took an even glorious turn on April 27 when it birthed at its new venue, the prestigious Nanet Suites. On hand to get proceedings going were retro-folksinger and guitarist, King Willi and the self-styled soft- rock Queen, Zainab Sule. Ms Sule is currently doing a promotion tour of her new CD in Abuja. Both musicians ignited the evening with a contrasting but qualitative medley of self-penned songs
Beyond the music though, the literary aspects were also an enriching variety. Guest Writer Obari Gomba, who teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the Department of English Studies at the University of Port Harcourt, read some of his poems. The tone of anger in the poems did not escape the audience and despite his efforts to distance himself from the tag of an angry poet during the Qand A session, he admitted that it would be difficult for a writer in Nigeria not to react to all the ills in the society.
Dr Gomba’s position was underscored by Crispin Uduobuk, who as a support act, read from his increasingly popular short story, “This Is Lagos”. Uduobuk had been asked if he had experienced some of the situations in the story which explores the lives of a group of crooks in Lagos. He explained that he had observed some of the situations and there is no way he cannot write about some of these things.
The evening also witnessed a brief closing ceremony of the AWF Creative Writing School , with 25 participants of the Introductory Phase maiden edition being awarded their certificate of attendance. The Creative Writing School project which is a first in the country, will enable participants go through two other phases ( intermediate and advanced), which would qualify them to undertake a Certificate in Creative Writing Progamme. The up-coming programme is a joint-collaboration between the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) and the International institute of Journalism (IIJ), Abuja.
Reacting after receiving their certificates two of the participants expressed immense delight about the introductory phase of the writing workshop. Adedayo Ogunleye who was in the Fiction class, said the worshop had rekindled the writing flame in him which had died out over the years.
As for Amina Aboje who was in the Poetry class:”I had the most fulfilling moments of my life in recent past at the just concluded April Writing Workshop, organised by the the Abuja Writers Forum. I got my money’s worth, and more. I cannot wait for the next phase of the writing workshop to commence.”
Also not left out were winners of the monthly AWF Writing Challenge who were given their book prizes. Prince Abiathar Zadok wrote all three winning entries in poetry, fiction and drama , while Abigail Abienu took home second prize in fiction and drama, and Kasham Keltuma won the second prize in poetry.
Dr Emman Usman Shehu, the President of Abuja Writers Forum, in his closing remark expressed gratitude to Access Bank and Nanet Suites for supporting the event and called on other corporate organizations and well meaning Nigerians to toe the line of the two organizations in partnering with the forum for the purpose of promoting literary culture in Nigeria.
Several literary enthusiasts graced the event including, Barrister Valentine Offia, Segun Ozique, Dr. Kabura Zakama, Mike Ekunno , Odoh Diego Okenyodo and representatives of Access Bank.
- Grareano Kori Adiga, is an Abuja-based literary enthusiast.