By Izunna Okafor
Writing has once again been described as the king of all arts, and the indispensable route to the bottom line of every art destination.
This made the idea for discussion at the grand finale of the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing, organized by award-winning Nigerian literary figure — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which she held in Anambra, her home state, for the first time.
The interactive event which ended with fanfare and literary communion tagged "A Literary Evening With Chimamanda" aimed at inspiring and raising a brand of creative writers of African descent who will not only tell African stories, but also utilize their writing prowess in solving societal problems.
Speaking at the event, the convener, Adichie who hails from Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State asserted that every nation needs storytellers without whom humanity will be diminished, and further maintained that there are many yet-to-be-told stories about Africa, which should not be left for non Africans to tell; as, according to her, stories of Africa can only be best told by Africans themselves.
She said, "If we don't tell our story as Africans, somebody else would tell it for us; and if we don't take responsibilities for supporting our storytellers, other people would tell our story, but in the way it suits them."
While decrying the poor reading culture in the society today, the international literary icon charged the participants to hold reading to a high esteem, as that is a prerequisite for anyone who must excel in the literary field or contribute intellectually to the growth and development of his society.
Contributing, the MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Sir Chuka Nnabuife appreciated Adichie for bringing the workshop down to her homestate this year, and eulogized on her great feats in the literary field, which he said has helped to project the image of the state in the international community; even as he suggested to her, the need to articulate and come up with a book that conglomerates her works in activism and advocacy so far, which he said her millions of fans all over the world would be very eager and happy to welcome on arrival.
Among other climax, the event featured premiering of video clip that biographically highlights excerpts of some recent feats attained by Adichie; as well as an interactive session with her, during which questions, opinions, suggestions, and observations were sourced from the participants and fans, all of which she perfectly and consummately reacted to.
Others who graced the literary evening included the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the founder of JohnBosco Onunkwo Foundation, Engr. JohnBosco Onunkwo; former media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati; the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, as well as Adichie's parents, among others.
Sharing their views earlier, some of the successful entrants who were selected for this year's writing workshop, among whom were Kasimma Chinelo Okani from Achina, Anambra state, Anthony Nonso Dim from Imo state but lives in Germany, and Gloria Mwaniga Odary, a teacher from Kenya, all confessed that the workshop offered them golden opportunities to tap from Adichie’s wealth of knowledge in literary arts, even as they urged the government and other wealthy individuals to assist in sponsoring and providing the needed logistics to sustain the exercise in subsequent years.
Formerly known as the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop with previous editions in Lagos, the 2019 workshop marked its 10th year.
Adichie's remaining of the workshop after her debut novel "Purple Hibiscus" was explainable, as she had earlier left her longtime Nigerian publishers, Kachifo Limited—the parent company of Farafina Trust—for Narrative Landscape Press, co-founded by her friend, Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys, and the editor Anwuli Ojogwu.
Izunna Okafor, a young Nigerian writer and Coordinator of young writers in Anambra State used the platform to identify and familiarize with Adichie, and also told her about the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which the young writers are organizing annually in honour of Chinua Achebe, and presented her with a copy of "Arrows of Words" which is an anthology of poems and essays published by the young writers in this year's edition of the event.
He also discussed the non existence of writers residency in Anambra State with Adichie, an idea which she swiftly subscribed to and promised to do something about.