……..celebrates 7th edition amidst challenges
By lfeanyi Ndukwe
The serene capital city of Anambra will play host to a gathering of writers, intellectuals, literary activists and book lovers from different parts of the world today as the 2022 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture holds in grand style.
Addressing journalists, the Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) and initiator of the Chinua Achebe lecture series, Mr. Izunna Okafor, made this known in Awka while giving update on the association’s preparedness for the 2022 edition of the event.
According to him, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture, initiated in 2016 and currently in its seventh edition, is a literary event hosted by the association annually in honour of Nigerian literary icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his life, works and legacies in the literary field and beyond. He added that this year’s event will (as usual) hold on Achebe’s birthday, November 16, 2022, at the Anambra State Central e-Library-Library, Awka, starting at 11.am; with many dignitaries and participants in attendance.
While revealing this year’s theme of the event as “Literature, Intellectuals and National Development: The Achebe Model”; Okafor further disclosed that the 2022 Achebe Lecture will be delivered by the award-winning author, journalist and literary-cum-political activist, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu; while the National Vice President of Ọhaneze Ndị Igbo, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, will Chair the occasion.
“The event will feature the 2022 Achebe Lecture, drama, spoken words, poetry, announcement of the winners of the 2022 Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (for secondary schools), announcement and recognition of outstanding entrants for the 2022 Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, special reading, award/certificate presentations, among other literary packages slated for the day.”
He added that the occasion will feature the unveiling and presentation of the seventh Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled “Achebe the Soul Brother”, which is the association’s newest international anthology of poems and essays, published in honour of Achebe.
Earlier in the week, Okafor had released a memo saying his grief over the sudden death of his father would not deter him from deter him and his team from hosting the event.
Describing his father’s death as his greatest loss and the worst news ever in his life. His father Josephat Udeze Okafor aged 68 had died after a brief illness. Okafor said his father was a cheerful,gallant,caring,hardworking and benevolent man. He,however, said that the death was unexpected, but arrangements for the event is topgeared and would hold.
The award winning journalist said the 2022 event is expected to be graced by top government functionaries and literary enthusiasts, including the Executive Governor of Anambra state, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who is expected to declare the event open; and the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, H.R.H. Igwe Chidubem Iweka, who is the Royal Father of the Day;
the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for 2023 General Election, Prof. Peter Umeadi; former governorship candidate in Anambra State, Valentine Ozigbo; 2023 Labour Party senatorial candidate for Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Chief Victor Umeh; the senator representing the Anambra Central, Iyom Uche Ekwunife; former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze; among other dignitaries.