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Great times as 4th cohort of Imodoye Writers Enclave explores Ilorin

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  • January 19, 2024
  • 5 min read
Great times as 4th cohort of Imodoye Writers Enclave explores Ilorin

By Chimnemezu Nwaeze

ON Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the founder of Imodoye Writers Enclave and President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Dr. Usman Oladipo Akanbi, his team and guests officially received the fourth cohort of writers to the expansive and layered residency in a colourful reception. Imodoye Writers Enclave, the second active writers residency in Nigeria and the first in the northern region, was founded in 2022. It has continued to play significant roles in bringing writers together and helping them hone their craft. Like the cohort before then, the fourth cohort is at the residency at no cost to them.

The current residents include an award-winning playwright, Chimnemezu Nwaeze. He is a freelance writer, SAT, IELTS, English language and Literature tutor. He won the 2011 Education District V Playwrighting Competition in Lagos, Nigeria. He was two-time secretary of ANA, Abuja chapter. His first published prose work in 2012 is Angles of Life, and his most recent is a science fictional fable (play), The Animal King, which received the 2023 A.C. Oguamanam Manuscript Publication grant. In the same year, his children’s short story, ‘Shortput’, made it as one of the few selected stories (under contract with Pan African Writers Association PAWA and Accessible Publishers) for the campaign against open defecation in Africa, and lots more.

The second resident Abdulrazaq Salihu is a Nigerian writer and member of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation. He won the Masks literary magazine poetry award, LAP Poetry Prize, Nigerian Prize for Teen Authors, among others. He was also a finalist for the 23 Lengthy Poetry contest, a second runner-up in the African Diaspora Awards, among others, while the third resident Angela Audrey Atsuwe is a member of ANA Benue, Nigeria. She’s a novelist, playwright, and poet and teaches English. She has published two works, A Reason to Live (prose, which was selected by the state as a reading text for secondary schools) and Fire and Ice (drama). She won a prize with her short story, ‘Grandpa’s Puppy’.

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4th cohort of Imodoye Writers Enclave: Chimnemezu Nwaeze (left); Busayo Fakunle; Angela Audrey Atsuwe; founder of Imodoye Writers Enclave and President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Usman Oladipo Akanbi; Odu Ode and Abdulrazaq Salihu

The fourth resident Odu Ode is a poet, memoirist, and essayist from Kana, Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria. He is the author of four compelling poetry chapbooks titled Dark Diary (2018), Lullabies Mother Never Sang (co-authored with Hossein Quadri, 2018), Calligraphy of Demons (2020) and Back Home, There’s a Box of Chocolate (2023). Notably, his short story ‘Secrets to Heaven’ was longlisted for the prestigious Nigerian Campus Writing Challenge in 2018, and was subsequently published on Okadabooks, now rested. He is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Nasarawa State branch, as well as other literary forums across the country. He was the pioneer chairman of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation, Abuja branch. On January 17, 2024, he was announced as the winner of HIAFEST Pidgin Prose contest 2024.

The fifth resident Busayo Fakunle is a phonics consultant, poet, publisher, children’s author. He also teaches English, an editor and CEO of Hope Alive Educational Consultancy. Some of his creative works have appeared in both national and international anthologies. He is the winner of the Poetry Court contest in celebration of the 81st birthday of Prof. Wole Soyinka. He is a Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency, Iseyin, Oyo State, and is the current Publicity Secretary of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Oyo State chapter.

According to the founder of Imodoye Writers Enclave, Akanbi, the fourth cohort is a special edition as the only cohort hosting five residents from different parts of Nigeria as a mark of togetherness in creativity. He said such inclusivity is an interpretation of his zeal of making sure that the residency has the most remarkable and talented fellows to continue the legacy already laid down. He added that it was why the current edition promises to be the most interesting, experience-filled, and fun-filled given the programme of activities designed to make it the best.

The five residents, apart from working on their individual works, are having the best time of their lives, as they are being treated like royalty since arriving the residency. So far, they have visited Agba Dam, Royal Valley Hill Kulende, Ilorin, Mustapha Akanbi Library and Foundation, the Knowledge Centre, and a tour of the University of Ilorin, with the founder being their guide. The University of Ilorin happens to sit on the largest land mass in Nigeria, as it sits on 15,000 hectares of land. The residents also visited the Dean of Faculty of Agricultural Studies, where the founder of Imodoye Writers Residency heads one of the departments.

The writers also attended the 251st inaugural lectures of the University of Ilorin, delivered by Prof. Opeyemi Eyitayo Ayinde. She spoke on the topic, ‘The Risk of Not Taking Risk in Agricultural Innovation and Gender Inclusivity’. They also visited the University Zoo, certainly an overwhelming place with rare and great species of wild animals.

The residents attended the January 2024 reading of ANA Kwara chapter. Residents ticked it as the most organized chapter reading ever they’d attended, and on Tuesday, January 16, 2023, the residents and ANA Kwara members, friends, and well-wishers of the founder joined him on a homecoming courtesy visit to the Emir of Ilorin for blessings for emerging President of the Association of Nigerian Authors. The election was held in November 2024 at the last national convention at the association’s head quarters at Mamman Vatsa Writers Village, Mpape, Abuja.

The exploratory experiences of the residents since they arrived the Ilorin have immensely helped them work on their personal literary projects. They plan on visiting schools in Ilorin as the residency programme demands, in the last week of the three-week residency programme, to enable them give back to the community that received and inspired them towards becoming better writers.

* Nwaeze, a current cohort of Imodoye Writers Enclave, writes from Ilorin, Kwara State

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