By Joseph Udeze, Awka
It will be a gathering of writers, intellectuals, literary activists, book lovers and top political figures in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State on Thursday, as young writers in Anambra State set to host the 2023 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.
The Coordinator, Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), Izunna Okafor, made this known in Awka while giving update on the association’s preparedness for the 2023 edition of the event.
According to him, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture, initiated in 2016 and currently in its 8th edition, is a literary event the association annually hosts in honour of Nigerian literary icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his life, works and legacies. He added that this year’s event will (as usual) hold on Achebe’s birthday, November 16, 2023, at the Anambra State Central E-Library (also known as the Prof. Kenneth Dike State Library), Awka, starting at 10.am prompt; with many dignitaries and participants in attendance.
While revealing this year’s theme of the event as “Ten Years After… Remembering Achebe’s Legacies in Today’s Nigeria”; Okafor further disclosed that the 2023 Achebe Memorial Lecture will be delivered by the 2023 Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, while the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo would be the Special Guest of Honour.
He added that this year’s event would be Chaired by an award-winning writer and Traditional Ruler of Obosi, H.R.H. Igwe Chidubem Iweka; even as the Traditional Ruler of Achebe’s hometown, Ogidi, H.R.H. Igwe Alex Uzo Onyido will grace the occasion as the Royal Father of the Day, among other dignitaries expected at the event.
“The event will feature the 2023 Achebe Lecture, drama, spoken word poetry, announcement of the winners of the 2023 Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (for secondary schools), special reading, award presentation, among other literary packages slated for the day,” Okafor said.
He hinted that the occasion will also feature the unveiling and presentation of the 8th Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled “Anthills of Words (In Memory of Achebe)”, which is the association’s newest international anthology of poems and essays, published in honour of Achebe.
The annual international anthology, he explained, is one of the writers’ way of immortalizing Achebe, and contains poems, essays, and reviews written and submitted by writers from different countries of the world.
Okafor, an award-winning author and journalist said the open-to-all event, which will mark Achebe’s 93 posthumous birthday and ten years of his death, will also be graced by arrays of literary icons from within and outside the country, who will be storming Awka to honour the legendary Achebe.
Born November 16, 1930, Prof. Chinua Achebe, who hailed from Ogidi in Anambra State, was a foremost Nigerian writer, critic, and author of Things Fall Apart. He died on March 21, 2013, at the age of 82.