If you are not HERE, it then means you are NOT here. HERE is Kaduna. HERE is the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Convention, 2015. HERE is the gathering of eagles and falcons, and of eaglets too. It is one of those rare occasions that bring together under one roof a good number of the literati, both established and emerging voices, both writers and publishers, and even the critics. HERE is the roll call, sort of.
It is good that the Convention has finally kicked off despite the slight setback it suffered earlier on. The Local Organizing Committee ably headed by Friday John Abah, and the Chairman of the Kaduna Chapter of the body, Usho Smith Adawa, must be commended for their immense effort. ANA is the umbrella body of Nigerian authors (creative writers, mainly), even though her membership list will hardly claim to represent half of actual Nigerian writers as untold millions are still outside the fold either because they don’t know about the existence of ANA or because they have lost faith in the body. As such, much still needs to be done to win back the confidence of the disillusioned and to also inform as many as are still out there in the dark.
Making it more interesting is that this is an election year and two contenders stand out: Denja Abdulahi and BM Dzukogi both from Niger State Chapter. You must have been aware of campaigns and pseudo-campaigns going on both at your State Chapters and on social media. I don’t want to comment on the campaign style of some persons, which is actually below the belt. Since yours faithfully will not be voting (not because I am apolitical, but because I am disenfranchised), I can only pray that the voters shun religious and ethnic sentiments and elect someone that will best serve the interest of the body.
I am happy that Kaduna is hosting this year’s convention because it affords me the opportunity of getting to meet with some of my social media friends for the first time. Dami Ajayi tells me he will be (unavoidably) absent. I would have taken him to go see DR Ink as himself and Adebiyi Olusolape did to me some years back in Lagos. But there is consolation. Servio Gbadamosi is already here as I want to believe is Su’eddie Agema.
I have read some of the books shortlisted for this year’s prizes and I dare say that they all good to clinch the trophies. Merely making it thus far is proof enough that you are remarkable. Below is the shortlist for this year’s prizes.
ANA PRIZE FOR DRAMA
- The Last Ilari – Tunji Ajibade
- The Last Prophecy of Omu Nwagboka – Obumse Amechi Chiedu
- Unstable – Dickson Ekhaguere
ANA PRIZE FOR POETRY
- Blazing Moon – Nwachukwu Egbunike
- Clinical Blues – Dami Ajayi
- Euphoria of Sophistry – Terseer Samuel Baki
- A Tributary in Servitude – Servio Gbadamosi
ANA PRIZE FOR PROSE FICTION
- Bongel – Maryam Bobi
- Don’t Die on Wednesday – Michael Afenfia
- Long Shadows – Mnguember V. Sylvester
- A Pelican of the Wilderness – Jacqueline U. Agweh
- Satans and Shaitans – Obinna Udenwe
ABUBAKAR GIMBA FOR SHORT STORIES
- Fire on the Tip of Ice – Halima Aliyu
- Smithereens of Death – Olubunmi Familoni
- The Bottom of another Tale – Su’eddie Vershima Agema
ANA/CHILDREN’S WRITING PRIZE
- Ada Marries a Palm Tree and Other Stories – Charry A. Onwu-Otuyelu
- The Leprous King – Daniella Clinton
- The Magic Mirror – Nnenna Ihebom