…Pushing Nigerian, African Stories to a global audience
By Godwin Okondo
THE Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP) is set to host its second National Conference and AGM at Watbridge Hotel, Uyo from September 15-18, 2022. The theme of the hybrid conference is ‘Nigerian and African Stories: How They Fare in the Global Village.’
President of NBRP, Mr. Richard Mammah, said ahead of the conference and AGM, “We are excited to be having this event. In two and a half years since NBRP came on stream, we have pushed to make critical interventions that would impact our books and reading space and at this conference, we are looking forward to having very robust engagements as regards our literature and our reading spaces, among others. I am most excited. And expectant.”
Also, the LOC Secretary and founder of Uyo Book Club, Dr. Udeme Nana, who spoke on behalf of the LOC Chairman, Hon. Ekong Samson, expressed excitement at the second opportunity his book club has to host NBRP Conference and AGM, when he reeled out what visitors to Uyo should expect, especially the state capital’s unequalled hospitable ambience.
According to Nana, “The second National Book Clubs Conference will hold from September 15 – 18, 2022 at Watbridge Hotels & Suites, Uyo. Uyo Book Club, which is housed at Watbridge Hotels is hosting the fiesta for the second year running. For intending guests and travellers, it will be yet another festival to remember. Uyo is a well organized, bubbling and hospitable city. Akwa Ibom Cuisines are considered some of the best in Africa.
“The main route to Uyo now is Ibom Air, the state government-owned airline. At Watbridge Hotels, despite being a rated hospitality outfit, the room rates are very affordable. The hotel also operates a bus service to and fro the airport. There are other hotels near the venue with affordable rates.”
Participants at the second NBRP National Conference and AGM are drawn from within Nigeria and the African Diaspora. Among the selected writers for the book conference are two of the shortlisted poets for The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022: Su’eddie Vershima Agema (Memory and the Call of Waters) and Saddiq Dzukogi (Your Crib, My Qibla) who will join virtually.
Those also confirmed for the event include E.C. Osondu who won the Michael Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009 with his short story, ‘Waiting.’ Osondu is a Professor of English at Providence College, Rhode Island, U.S. He is a winner of the Caine Prize, the Pushcart Prize, the Allen & Nirelle Galson Prize and the BOA Fiction Prize, among many other prizes. His books include Alien Stories, Voice of America, This House is Not For Sale , When the Sky is Ready the Stars Will Appear. His writing has been translated into many languages including French, Italian, Icelandic, Japanese, Belarusian, etc.
Nduka Otiono is a poet, short story writer and former General Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Otiono is an Associate Professor of Literature at Carlton University, Canada. He’s the author of The Night Hides with a Knife; he has also published other works that include Voices in the Rainbow and Love in a Time of Nightmares (poetry).
Ogaga Ifowodo is a lawyer, activist and poet. His collection of poetic childhood recollections, Augusta’s Poodle was on the longlist of The Nigerian Prize for Literature 2022. He has other poetry collections like The Oil Lamp, Madiba, and Homeland and Other Poems.
Ikhide R. Ikheloa (aka Pa Ikhide) has written extensively on the African literary scene and the Nigerian political space. His reviews and essays have appeared in African Writer, Guernica, Munyori Literary Journal, and Eclectica. He is known for his fiery advocacy for human rights and disappeared Nigerian journalists, most notably Dadiyata. He has frequently argued for the consideration of social media writing as legitimate literature. On September 3, 2022, Pa Ikhide will be awarded the James Currey Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Criticism. The honour is administered by the James Currey Society in conjunction with the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, U.K.
Joe Ushie is a professor of Stylistics at the University of Uyo. He is a poet, former Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He is/was also on the longlist of The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 with his poetry collection, Yawns and Belches and among other poetry collectiins. He will serve as conference moderator.
The first National Conference and AGM of NBRP was also held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state in 2021, performed spectacularly and was re-awarded the National Book Clubs City for 2022. The third edition of NBRP National Conference and AGM will take place in Lagos, which has already been designated as Nigerian National Book Clubs City 2023. The 2024 National Book Clubs City will be chosen at the AGM in Uyo.
Also, a Publicity Secretary has been named for NBRP. He is Anote Ajeluorou, a seasoned arts and culture journalist who was the former Arts Editor of The Guardian before being named the newspaper’s Head of Politics. He current publishes an online arts and culture news magazine, AnoteArtHub (www.anotearthub.com). Igho Goes to Farm is Ajeluorou’s children’s book that was longlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2019. He recently published his first poetry collection, Libations Africa (2022). His novella Brides of the Infidels is due out soon.
NBRP was established in February 2021 as an amalgam for all Nigerian Book Clubs and Reading Promotion initiatives. It has its headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos.