AS preparations for a ‘Return to Idoto 3’, a poetic feast in honour of venerable poet Christopher Okigbo revs up, the organizers have begun to wet participants and guests’ appetite about the poetic who is who performers ahead of the feats scheduled for August 19 through 22, 2021.
Starting the honours’ roll call as brand specialist and novelist Mr Odili Ujubuonu revealed over the weekend is the only poetess in the lineup, Evelyn Osagie, whose stage name “Evelyn D’Poet” is a multi-talented poet, journalist and artist. She has performed at diverse arts events and festivals across Nigeria. She was among the poets that joined Literature Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on his campaign to save the environment in March 2021, with the theme ‘Voice in Cause of Earth’. Osagie who is the initiator of Project #TASAA – Take a Stand Against AIDS campaign – currently works on the Arts Desk of The Nation newspaper. She promises to electrify the audience at ‘Return to Idoto 3’.
Another performer at ‘Return to Idoto 3’ will be Ifésinàchi Nwádikè, poet, playwright and broadcaster with diverse talent in the arts. This 2018 Ebedi International Writer’s Residency alumnus is the author of How Morning Remembers the Night, which was the first runner up for the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Poetry Prize 2020. His works have appeared in Ake Review, ANA Review, The Sun Review, Praxis Magazine, Ngiga Review, Lunaris Review, Black Boy Review, African Writer, Libretto, Nokoko (Canadian Journal of Pan Africana Wisdom), Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi, and elsewhere.
Also cerebral poet, musician and activist, Aj. Dagga Tolar, author of Daggering Boots (1993), Season of Struggle (1997), This Country is not a Poem (2005), Darkwaters Drunkard (2007), Love in the Memory of Pain (2013), Tragedy of Silence (2015), DisSick Republic (2018) among other works will perform at Idoto. Tolar’s musical albums include Social Revolution (1998) and Underground Uprising (2021).
Dagga Tolar is the spokesperson for Movement for a Socialist Alternative. In the last three years, he has been actively involved in the mass struggles of the working people. Dagga Tolar was a former Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of Association of the Nigeria Authors and the current Secretary of PEN Nigeria Centre. He founded the Aj. House of Poetry, a platform for mentoring young poets. Dagga Tolar will perform at ‘Return to Idoto 3’.
James Eze, a poet passionate, is the winner of the ANA Poetry Prize 2020 with his debut collection, Dispossessed. His poems have appeared in Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria and Mindfire. He co-founded the International Creative Writing Workshop sponsored by Fidelity Bank Plc. This project ignited the emergence of a crop of new Nigerian writers. Eze is a PR Strategist and journalist and currently works as Speech Writer and Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Anambra State.
As co-founder and co-host of Awka Literary Society and the Return to Idoto series respectively, James has helped several other poets experience this unique literary rite of passage. He will perform as the star poet of ‘Return to Idoto 3’
Igwe Chidubem Iweka (Eze Iweka III), poet, novelist, dramatist, songwriter and advertising practitioner, is the 32nd King in Ezeshime Royal Dynasty of Obosi. He is a child-war veteran having fought on the Biafran side at age 14.
Chidubem cut his teeth as a theatre performer at the Oakland Black Repertory Theatre as a resident actor while teaching drama at Experimental Group Young People’s Theatre (EGYPT) in the U.S.
He founded Alby Jones Co. Limited, an advertising agency and was Chairman, Nigerian Mirror newspapers, amongst others. His book The Ancient Curse was shortlisted for ANA Ken Saro Wiwa Prize in Prose, and his drama entry August Inmates was nominated for NLNG-sponsored The Nigeria Prize for Literature. His seminal work of poetry Reflections of Hope has enjoyed wide acclaim.
Igwe will perform at ‘Return to Idoto 3.’