Ebedi Writers Residency Honours Achebe, Gimba, Mabel Segun, Soyinka
… As Four Female Writers Resume Residency
Ebedi International Writers Residency in Iseyin, Oyo State, Nigeria, has recognised the contributions four pioneer Nigerian writers towards the development and sustenance of literature in the country and beyond. Those honoured included Chinua Achebe, Abubakar Gimba, Mabel Segun and Wole Soyinka. The honour comes with the naming of four en suite rooms at the Residency after these icons. The honour for two of the writers – Chinua Achebe and Abubakar Gimba – was posthumous.
To perform the unveiling ceremony of these rooms was Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka during his visited to the Residency in Iseyin last Month. Soyinka was received by the founder, Dr. Wale Okediran, a member of Ebedi Board of Directors, Mr. Akintayo Abodunrin, former President, Association of Nigerian Authors, Prof. Remi Raji as well as Caretaker Chairman of Iseyin Local Government Council, Mr. Saheed Alaran. He commended the residency’s management for its contributions to writers in the African continent.
Soyinka had an interesting interaction with both the current Ebedi Residents and some former residents (Fellows) before he was entertained with songs and poetry recitations by students of some secondary schools in Iseyin. While addressing the students, the Soyinka encouraged them to take the work of creative writing seriously because with it they could go places.
He later paid a courtesy call on Aseyin of Iseyin, His Majesty Abdulganiyu Adekunle Salaudeen Ologunebi Ajinase 1.Apart from unveiling the plaques to commemorate the rooms named after the literary icons, Soyinka also instituted an exchange programme between Ebedi Residency and his own Residency in Abeokuta through which Ebedi writers could spend some time in Abeokuta before the end of their residency. The initial beneficiaries of the noble gesture who were the immediate past Ebedi residents include Nii Addokwei Moffatt (Ghanaian), Stanley Balogun (Nigerian) and Charles Dzekashu (Camerounian) who were joined by the Manager of the Ebedi Residency, Mr. Kofi Sackey. They thereafter spent three days at the Soyinka Residency in Abeokuta as part of their residency programme.
Apart from the new partnership with the Wole Soyinka Writers Residency, Abeokuta, the Ebedi International Writers Residency also enjoys the support of a Belgium based organisation, Arts Moves Africa (AMA) for the provision of free return tickets to foreign writers attending the Ebedi Residency. In addition, one of Nigeria’s foremost publishing outfits, Literamed Publishers, Lagos, would publish quality works that emanate from the residency.
Also, four female writers have resumed at Ebedi Residency. They are Blessing Christopher, Farida Adamu, Mariam Sule and Funke Awofeso who recently arrived for the six-week, March/April 2016 session.
Christopher is a graduate of University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, and has been published in Nigeria and around Africa, both online and in print. She is a fellow of the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Gotland, Sweden. She will spend time in Ebedi to complete work on her novel Love Is a Communicable Disease as well teach Iseyin students the art of Ibibio cuisine.
Adamu currently works with Custodians of African Literature (COALS) in Jos, Plateau State, and is a graduate of Gombe State University. She hopes to complete work on her maiden novel Zara while in Ebedi as well as teach students in Iseyin the art of bead making.
From Benin City, Edo State, comes Sule, a school teacher with a passion for mentoring children in literary activities. She will spend her time in Ebedi to complete work on her maiden novel, Emike. She will also continue her mentoring activities with the students in Iseyin as part of her community service.
Awodiya holds a Masters degree in Medical Sociology from the University of Lagos. An active member of the Association Of Nigerian Authors, (ANA), Lagos Chapter as well as Poets In Nigeria (PIN), Awodiya moderator the just-concluded Eriata Photo-Poetry Contest and has contributed in Who Shall I Make My Wife – a collection of food-related poems published by PIN. She will be spending her time in Ebedi to complete work on her novel Omolade as well as teach Iseyin students the basics of Public Speaking and Elocution.
Just like their predecessors, the four female writers will also benefit from the Exchange Programme instituted by Soyinka by spending some time at the Wole Soyinka Residency in Abeokuta before they leave.
Already in its sixth year of operation, the Ebedi International Writers Residency an initiative for the provision of a conducive environment for writers to complete their ongoing works at no cost to the writers. It has already hosted over 60 writers from Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa and Ivory Coast. The invited writers in return have been able to successfully mentor many students in some secondary schools in their host community in the areas of creative writing and fine arts.
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