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Nigeria: Young Writers’ Summit to Revive Ibadan Literary Glory

Image result for •Kayode Adejumo-Bello

An Ibadan-based educational opportunity and literacy development organisation, BIBLOPHILLIA Nigeria, has perfected arrangements for the maiden edition of its Young Writers’ Summit and Literary Festival. Billed for April 21, 2017 at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan, the summit is in collaboration with the Oyo State government, Association of Nigeria Authors, University of Ibadan, and Medianett Limited. The target is to deliver a global standard literary festival for young writers.

The objectives, according to the CEO, BIBLOPHILLIA Nigeria, Kayode Adejumo-Bello, include recreating the Ibadan literary passion, celebrating the ancient city’s literary heritage, discovering new literary talents, producing next generation of literary stars, creating a supportive and a non-competitive environment where teenage writers can work together as artists.

Essentially, the summit will not only address the dearth of great writers of Ibadan literary ancestry and origin, it is expected to stimulate academic and cultural revival of a city in the quest to, on one hand, redeem, and on the other, recreate itself with a view to setting the city back on track as Africa’s capital of creative writing and literary excellence.

Two levels of participation are available: the junior category comprising students of English/Literature in English currently in JSS 2 in any Junior Secondary School in the Ibadan metropolis, or students within the age bracket of 10-13 years.

 Also, there is the senior category targeting students of English/Literature in English currently in SSS 2 in any Senior Secondary School in the Ibadan metropolis, or students aged between 15 and 17 years. In all, adequate provisions are being made for a total of 2500 student participants. Participation is free.

A carefully selected faculty of authors, teachers and residential staff has been assembled to facilitate the summit. The team will bring professional experience to the development of new literary talents as a retreat space will be created where participants can commune with each other, immerse themselves in creative activity, and fuel their imaginations through innovative programming.

Technically, the summit will consist of workshops evolving through the dynamic principles of play, invention, response, revision, performance, and publication. Participants will learn strategies to invent, develop, and revise materials using the writer’s most essential tools–language, imagination, craft, sight, and insight. They will conference with instructors and peer writers, examine contemporary artists’ work, and become more discerning readers.

Specifically, five studio workshops will be offered: Fiction: From the real to the surreal, participants will learn how evocative fiction works: the power of provocative story hooks, resonant settings, and plot lines that weave together the lives of complex characters. This workshop also focuses on developing a repertoire of voices, styles, and narrative techniques to intrigue readers and leave them wanting more.

In the Creative Nonfiction, participants will, during this workshop develop skills as Creative Nonfiction writers, deploying the devices of great fiction–riveting description, charged dialogue, strong narrative structure–for telling true stories. They take these literary skills into field assignments to practice the real moves of the nonfiction writer, through humor, memoir, editorial, review, and many others, bringing truth to the page with the force of fiction.

 For poetry, participants will learn how poets make the ordinary extraordinary, experiment with craft and form, embody whole worlds of experience in just one line or image, distill where they have been and what they know, and give shape to personal truth in luminous detail. This workshop will help young poets discover the ways to tempt the muse to the page and forge what follows into a full blaze.

There is also the songwriting category, where participants in this workshop will be exposed to writing songs, especially concentrating on lyrics to create an unparalleled space where sound and words explode.

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Participants interested in screen and play writing will learn the skills needed to unleash their cast of characters onto screen or stage. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “writers aren’t exactly people … they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” Dramatic writing is the perfect genre for those whose inspiration exceeds the limits of the page.

At the end of the workshops, participants will be given instant literary assignments. The best three participants in each category will be selected for further training and tests. The best participant in each category will win N100, 000:00 cash prizes. The best overall participant wins N250, 000:00 cash prize and free publishing of his/her literary work.

 Ibadan Young Writers’ Summit and Literary Festival 2017 is motivated by the understanding that Ibadan, in decades past, was renowned as Nigeria’s capital of creative writing and literacy.

According to Adejuwon-Bello, “It is the crucible that produced Africa’s most celebrated writers and literacy icons. Ibadan as both a city and a cultural cum intellectual melting point produced the inimitable Chinua Achebe, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Iconic Femi Oshofisan, Odia Ofeimum; as well as the legendary D. O. Fagunwa, Amos Tutuola, Akinwunmi Ishola, and a thousand others too numerous to mention.

“Literary-wise, it is no hyperbole to say that Ibadan is endowed with an enviable literary ancestry. We were unequalled, unmatched… but when was the last crop of global literary icons produced from the great Ibadan creative pot of literacy, culture and thoughts?

“There is a gap. A gaping hole between what was and what is and what could be. The legacy is progressively becoming a liability. When will the next Wole Soyinka, or the next Chinua Achebe or Niyi Osundare, Adebayo Faleti be produced?” He asked rhetorically.

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