(As published in The Guardian on Saturday, Dcember 24, 2011)
A new, innovative and interventionist group in the arts and culture sector with radical ideas for change, Creative Alliance, has called on parents and guidance to go beyond the usual this Yuletide season and include story book gifts in their boxes as they give gifts to their children and wards.
Coordinator of the one million naira (N1m) grand prize in the short story category, Literary Star Search contest, the flagship project of Creative Alliance, Onoriode Enodano, said just as parents and guidance spend to buy clothes for their children and wards this season, they should spare a thought for story books as well.
Enodano noted that the season should be more than mere celebration but one in which parents should reflect on the future of their children and the need to entrench literacy in them, pointing out that story books that develop the young, impressionable minds of children should form a part of the Christmas festivity.
He further urged that since children and wards no longer enjoyed the beauty of listening to moonlight tales as told by the old folks – parents and grandparents – as was the case in years gone by, it would be proper to supplement that pastime with written stories from books. He said it was the only way young ones could bridge the gap modernity has created to rob them of the beauty, colour and drama of moonlight tales.
On the Literary Star Search contest designed to throw up Nigeria’s best short story writers with a view to nurture, promote and handsomely reward the overall winner with N1 million star prize, Enodano stated that Nigerian writers also deserve to be treated to a measure of true stardom. He also noted that fame and fortune had continued to elude Nigerian writers much as they have exerted their skills in writing beautiful, award-winning stories. He stated that Literary Star Search has been so carefully designed to highlight writers as true models for society and worthy of being treated as celebrities, since their literary craft has uplifted the country on the global cultural scene more than any other art form.
Enodano further stated that the second and third runners-up in the contest would go home with three hundred and two hundred thousand naira (N300,000 & N200,000) respectively.
He noted that Creative Alliance recently thrown open the doors of its competition, Literary Star Search, a search for true stars deserving of praise in the short story category. Writers are to submit a short story of not more than 3,500 words long with an entry fee of three thousand naira (N3,000) in bank draft payable to Creative Alliance in any Zenith International Bank Plc branch nationwide. For further inquiries, interested writers are advised to visit www.creativeallianceng.com.
As part of its innovative intervention in the creative industry, Creative Alliance would partner with and support the Femi Morgan-led Artmosphere, an Ibadan-based literary group scheduled to hold its January book reading and music performance at its Agodi office. Author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi Wives, Lola Shoneyin, an Ibadan girl, will read from his novel and interact with the audience. Beautiful Nubia is also billed to performed.
Enodano said supporting a writers’ group in Ibadan is symbolic of a homecoming of sorts since Nigeria’s literary spirit took root in that ancient city with the birth of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, and its pioneering students like JP Clark, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, Isidore Okpewho, Chukwuemeka Ike, Molara Ogundipe, and the Femi Osofisan, Odia Ofeimun and Niyi Osundare generation that followed them.