Enugu: Nigerian authors from across the globe shall be converging in Enugu State, the cradle of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), thirty eight years after the Association was founded at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State by the late iconic author, Prof. Chinua Achebe and other celebrated Nigerian writers.
Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof John Pepper Clark, Chika Unigwe, Odia Ofeimun and a galaxy of other celebrated Nigerian writers are all expected to be in attendance at the 38th ANA International Convention scheduled to hold from Thursday, 31st October to Saturday, 2nd November, 2019.
However, there is anxiety over the lack of enthusiasm being displayed by the State Government with regards to hosting an event of such magnitude, whose hosting right was secured by the Enugu Branch of the Association, after a vigorously contested bidding process.
According to the State Chairman of the Association, Zulu Ofoelue, during a press briefing as part of preparations for the convention, about 500 guests are expected in Enugu, the Coal City, for the three day event.
His statement reads thus: “This year’s International Convention will be the first to be hosted in Enugu since the founding of ANA in Nsukka in 1981.
“It will hold between the 31st of October to 3rd November, 2019. So, we have tagged it,” ANA Homecoming 2019 “since the association is returning home to its original Base”.
Ofoelue, was optimistic that His Excellency, Rt. Hon Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi, being the Chief Host of the convention shall utilize the opportunity to show case the achievements of his Government to the august participants who are mostly statesman and thought leaders, both nationally and internationally.
However, Dr. Greg Mbajiorgu, a member of the Local Organizing Committee and a Senior Lecturer from the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was not so optimistic since according to him, no Enugu State Governor has shown interest in hosting the event till date.
“ANA has been yearning for a Chinua Achebe Writers’ Village in Enugu State, its cradle. Moreso, Enugu is the literary and intellectual capital of Eastern Nigeria.
” It will be a pity if our dear Governor Ugwuanyi misses this rare opportunity of keying into this epochal event and writing his name in gold by providing the expected support to host this event approoriately”
According to the man fondly referred to as “the father of Solo Drama in Nigeria” anything less would portray the Government and people of Enugu State and by extension Ndigbo in bad Light.
That according to him would be a “tragedy of econo-political dimensions”.
Prof. Egya Sule from IBB University, Lapai, Niger State will deliver the keynote address on the theme, “Literature, Nationalism and the Poetics of Integration”
Highlights of the convention include; Grand Opening Ceremony, Tour round Enugu /Sight seeing/Literary Picnic as well as Cultural Night/Convention Play featuring an adaptation of Death and the King’s grey hair by Denja Abdulahi all scheduled to hold at International Conference Centre, IMT Enugu on Friday, 1st November 2019.
The AGM as well as Awards Dinner holds on Saturday, 2nd November, 2019.