Home ART & ENTERTAINMENT African Writers To Honour Literary Icon, Chinua Achebe

African Writers To Honour Literary Icon, Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe

The Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) has announced plans to institute some programmes in honour of  literary icon and late author  of “Things Fall Apart,” Professor Albert Chinualumogu Achebe.
The association, whose members visited President Goodluck Jonathan today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, sought the support of Nigerian government to “endow a literary prize of international standing to be called The Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature.” The association hinted that it is already working on the modalities for the endowment.
The delegation, led by the secretary general, Professor Atukwei Okai also informed the President of PAWA’s plan to hold this years’s International African Writers’ Day in honour of Achebe in recognition of his giant strides in literature.
“The International African Writers’ Day was established by the African Union to be celebrated annually throughout the continent to afford all the African people a moment to pause to reflect on the contributions of the African writer to the continent’s development. On these occasions in the past, we have honoured writers like Nadine Godimer, Professor Ali Mazrui, Wole Soyinka and Professor Femi Osofisan. This year, it is the turn of Chinua Achebe,” the leader of the delegation said.
He invited the President to be the Chief Guest of Honour at the event scheduled to take place in November in Accra, Ghana.
PAWA also congratulated the President and Rivers state government on the designation by UNESCO, of Port Harcourt, as the International Book Centre for 2014.
President Jonathan said that the plan by the association to honour Achebe is a welcome development and promised to support the effort.
For the Writers’ Day event in Accra, the President asked the association to formalize the invitation by bringing letters to his office, even as he pledged to help in mobilizing funds from Anambra sons and daughters for the Achebe literary prize.
“Anything about Chinua Achebe will be easy for us to mobilize funds. The money may  not necessarily come from government coffers but I will be able to coordinate some friends especially from Achebe’s home state, Anambra which has very vibrant young men and women who can support robustly if they are properly carried along which I can play that role. We will bring them on board to assist.
“Achebe has made the name, not just for Nigeria but also for the continent and writers like you should be able to promote the name further.”
President Jonathan said that his administration has been trying to encourage Nigerian youths to cultivate the habit of reading and writing.
He added that his administration would relaunch the bring back the book initiative and inculcate it into the national educational programme.
“We have also been thinking of how to bring that bring back the book concept to make it a national programme so that young boys and girls in primary and secondary schools can develop a reading and writing attitude.”
It would be recalled that the President  launched the concept in 2010 in Lagos in the company of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
The President also blamed the poor reading culture among young Nigerians to the presence of the internet and social media.
“I thank the association for what you have been doing to encourage writing culture. In this age of Internet  and text messages, people don’t like to write long sentences again. Our young people are used to reading very short things, they don’t have interest in reading the novels we read in our days.”

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