Winners emerge as Nigerian authors end int’l convention in Lagos

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By VICTOR NZE

Sasi Miet Jajja’s book titled; Justice Club, has claimed the grand prize of N200, 000 as the work edged others including ‘Things That Start Small But Sweet’ by Bibi Ukonu and Emmanuel Asika’s ‘Vacancy for the Post of a Bride,’ to win in the ANA/ Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories.

Other winners also emerged as the four-day 37thInternational Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), came to a close in Ikeja, Lagos, last Sunday.

While, ‘The Longest Trial’ by Uchenna Eze won the N100, 000 ANA Prose Fiction Prize,  ‘Guerilla Post ‘ written by Obari Gomba won the ANA Drama Prize which carries a N100, 000 reward.

Also ‘Bombblast or Breakfast ‘ by  J. O. J. Nwachukwu-Agbada claimed the N100, 000 ANA Poetry Prize, just as ‘Primrose and the Kidnappers’ by Jide Ogunlana and ‘Tomorrow Brings Beautiful Things’ by Ernest Ogunyemi all got N100, 000 each for winning in the ANA Prize for Children’s Literature and ANA/NECO Teen Author Prose Prize, respectively.

Similarly, the work ‘Nativisation as Style and Identity Marker in Barclays Ayakoroma’s Dance on His Grave’, written by Ebi Yeibo bagged the N100, 000 ANA/Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Criticism.

This year’s convention held under the theme: Literature, Megacities and Mega-narratives, with its keynote delivered by Prof Karen King-Aribisala of the University of Lagos.

Earlier, in his welcome address at the Opening ceremony, at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Friday, President of the association, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, noted that although the group remains non-partisan and non-political in social commentaries, ‘we  all  have  a  stake  in  going  beyond  the  texts  to  help  shape  this  country  into  the  path  of  rectitude  and  real  progress.’

Continuing, Abdulahi said: “At  this  point  it  will  be  apt  for  us  to  add  our  voices  to  commentaries  on  the  state  of  the  nation  and  the  political  conundrum  we  presently  find  ourselves  in  in  the  country.  The  Association  has  had  cause  to  release  a  statement  at  the  height  of  the  defection  saga  in  the  political  space  and  the  siege  drama  at  the  National  Assembly  asking;  ‘Where Does All  These  Leave  the  People?’

“We  asked  this  question  because  we  have  seen  it  repeatedly  exhibited  in  this  country  since  independence  that  the  real  interests  of  the  people  hardly  matter  to  those  playing  politics  or  who  find  themselves  in  governance  via  the  ballots  or  the  bullets.

“Democracy  to  us  has  degenerated  to  simply  a  scheme  of  periodic  elections  preceded  with  all  sorts  of  frenzy  ushering  in  governments  that  lead  neither  the  country  nor  its  people  to  a  remarkable  place.  It  is  like  after  every  election,  we  go  into  a  collective  limbo  to  pick  up  the  frenzy  again  when  the  next  election  approaches  with  new  insidiousness.

“ANA  as  a  body  will  take  active  interest  in  the  forthcoming  general  elections  among  the  league  of  the  civil  societies  monitoring  the  process  and  if  INEC  looks  our  way,  as  collation,  returning  and  electoral  officers.  We  call  on  our  members  armed  with  their  PVC  to  go  out  to  cast  their  votes  for  candidates  of  their  choice  during  the  coming  elections.”

Recalling how far the association has come in its struggle to promote literacy and a strong reading culture in the country, Abdullahi said this has informed the need for the group to re-strategize its models and models, as well as focus.

“ANA  has  toiled  all  these  years  in  numerous  projects  and  programmes  to  protect  the  interests  of  Nigerian  writers,  nurture  the  innate  creative  potentials  of  Nigerian  children  and  youths,  preserve  the  cultural  heritage  of  this  country,  serve  as  its  truly  patriotic  ambassador-at-large,  promote  the  reading  culture  and  a  knowledge-based  society.

“In  this  struggle  and  toil,  our  members  have  made  huge  sacrifices,  occasionally  assisted  by  benign  state  apparatuses  and  literary  inclined  individuals.  We  have  realized  that  if  our  voice  is  to  become  stronger  as  an  Association  there  is  need  for  us  to  toe  the  path  of  self-sufficiency  and  the  re-modeling  of  our  working  capacity.

“That  is  why  our  administration  of  this  very  important  craft  union  has  largely  focused  in  the  last  few  years  on  re-structuring  our  operational  procedure  by  opening  up  to  greater  strategic  partnerships  and  building  a  writers’  village  in  Abuja  we  could  call  our  own.

 


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