TOWUNMI Coker Literary Initiative (TCLI) is set to hold its annual Creative Writing Competition 2023 among secondary school students in Lagos State. The theme for the 10th edition of the contest is ’A Day After.’ In 2013 while in medical school, the founder Dr. Towunmi Coker, was inspired to institute the award having previously won the ANA/NECO Award in 2007 as an SS2 student in the state. Coker said her desire to promote reading and writing culture among students in Nigerian secondary schools motivaed her to found the initiative.
“The aim is to inspire, develop and promote students who have flair for writing and impact the environment through literature,” she said, adding, “TCLI has successfully organised nine editions of the Creative Writing Competition: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018,2019, 2020 and 2022 covering over 650 schools. Public, private and missionary schools have taken part in the contest involving over 1.2 million students since inception. The initiative awards winners with laptops, school materials and cash prizes. With the help of the initiative, some students who would have dropped out of school were assisted financially to complete their secondary education.”
The Creative Writing Competition consists of two categories, namely fiction (prose) and poetry. The best 10 students in the Fiction category are awarded different school materials and books while the first three are given mini laptops in addition and the overall winner sometimes goes home with cash prize of N100,000, depending on availability of funds. In the Poetry category, the best five students are given school materials and books and the overall winner in poetry goes home with mini laptop in addition. Judges for the contest are lecturers and teachers in English and Literature, authors and poets, creative and arts journalists.
An excited Coker, who has single-handedly sponsored the contest for 10 years said, “With the approval of Lagos State Government through its ministry of education we are able to consistently involve both public and private schools in the state. Due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions, the winners of 8th and 9th editions were presented their prizes in their various schools without the usual ceremony. The winner of the 9th edition with theme ‘Unmasking at Last’ in the fiction category was Chidi C. Sharon of Providence Heights Secondary School, Fagba, Iju, and the presentation was done during the school’s Valedictory Service 2022. TCLI has been consistent for 10 years in promoting reading and writing culture among secondary school students, providing opportunity for mentoring among undeserved communities, creating impact and a drive for excellence with opportunity for improved growth and development.”