It was indeed a great opportunity for aspiring young people and writers to encounter renowned literary giants when the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Abuja Chapter in collaboration with Veritas University, Abuja hosted one of the Frank Porter Graham Professors, Professor Tanure Ojaide. Prof. Tanure has been the Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies since 2006. He has over twenty poetry collections as well as short stories, memoirs, articles and many other literary texts to his credit. Prof Tanure has won several major national and international poetry awards, and currently teaches at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte).
During the reading session, the guest author, Prof. Tanure read from some of his earliest and contemporary collections of poetry including The Fate of Vultures (1990), The Tale of the Harmattan (2007), The Beauty I Have Seen (2010), Songs of Myself: Quartet (2015), and his most recent work, Narrow Escapes: A Poetic Diary of the Coronavirus Pandemic (2021).
The interactive session afforded young and aspiring writers, poets and students to interact with the guest author. Similarly, special drama, acapella and poetic presentations were performed by members of ANA and students from selected secondary schools including Madonna Model School, Area 3 Garki, Abuja and St. Theresa Schools Bwari, Abuja.
Addressing the participants, the Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Hyacinth E. Ichoku applauded the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and Veritas Writers Community (VWC) for not relenting in their efforts in exposing the upcoming generation to renowned literary figures and critics like Prof. Chimalum Nwankwo and Prof. Tanure Ojaide; noting that the experience of the event will aspire them for greatness and initiate them properly into the literary world.
Responding to the Vice Chancellor, the Chairperson of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Abuja chapter, Mrs Halima Usman appreciated the University for always opening its doors to the association. She particularly acknowledged the unflinching support of the Vice Chancellor, who always grace such events with his presence. The chairperson used the opportunity to invite the audience for her book launch on the 27th July, 2021 at the Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja. ANA also advertised the ongoing national essay competition organised by ANA in conjunction with ROOST Foundation focusing themes on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration.
In his comment, the guest author, Prof. Tanure encouraged young writers to take advantage of their youth and write in order to effect positive changes and serve as agents of progressive transformations in our society. He also pointed that every age has its own spirit which writers try to express and “for any writer to establish a voice, there is need to learn under those that have gone ahead” and “as long as there is life, there is something to think and write about”. Thus, inspiration is available around us and writers should pick that effortlessly from their environment.
Report compiled by Patrick Sunday Ibbi, Acting Secretary, CGS Veritas University Abuja