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Lessons From The Garden City Literary Festival (II)

Angela Anietie Inyena

 

I am really elated that people appreciate the fact that the present government is making giant strides to move the education sector forward in our dearRiversState, among others. Education is key to every facet of life  be it formal or informal.

It is just less than two weeks that the Garden City Literary Festival ended some of the attendees cannot forget in a hurry their experience. Even those who could not attend regretted for not being able to do so through personal conversations with me.

The good news is that it is an annual event and will still give more privilege to those who have not taken part if they register online and on time, listen to advert or ask questions.

In the last edition, I presented some of the guest writers. Prof. Chinua Achebe, Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo and Rev. Jesse Jackson. In this edition, I will like to present to you yet another group of guest writers namely: Ilyas Tunc, Lisa Combrinck, and Ken Saro Wiwa Jr. The duo of Lisa Combrinck and Ken Saro Wiwa Jr. were unavoidably absent. But we learnt about their works just like you will do here.

iLYAS TUNç

Ilyas Tunc was born inOrdu,Turkeyin 1956, and spent much of his early life there. In 1979, he graduated from the Gazi Educational Institute inAnkaraand has since taught English in high schools. Tunçs poems and essays have been published in numerous Turkish magazines and anthologies. In 1994 he won the prestigious Ali Riza Ertan Poetry Award and in 1995, the Poetry Prize of Damar Literary Magazine and the Orhan Murat Ariburnu Poetry Award (Special Jury Award). In 2008Tunç won the Ceyhun Atuf Kansu Poetry Prize for his book Sesler lncelikler (Artshop Press, 2008).

As a poetry translator, Tunç published Song of the Quiet Life (Artshop Press, 2010), a collection of Cal Tianxin’s poems from English versions of the Chinese. He is about to publish translations of An Anthology of Nigerian Poetry, The Poet’s Coat (Selected Poems of Martin Espada). Tunç has taken a special interest in African poetry, especially South African and Nigerian poetry, and for many years he introduced South African and Nigerian poets to Turkish readers through the magazine Cumhuriyet Book Magazine. His collected translation of African poets are about to be published in An Anthology of Contemporary South African Poetry. His own poems and interviews have been published in South African and Nigerian literary magazines.

LISA COMBRINCK J

Lisa Combrinck, Spokesperson of the Department of Arts andCulture,South Africais an outstanding poet and writer. She has worked in this capacity in various units.

Combrinck was first head of the Literature Panel of the National Arts Council of South Africa. She has served as Speech writer in the Office of the president of Pretoria; Books Editor and columnist for the Sowetan; assistant editor for the Southern African Review of Books; arts and education reporter for the South newspapers; lecturer in the

English Department ofVistaUniversity; media liaison officer and spokesperson for the Minister of Communications and Director of Media Research at the Department of Foreign Affairs. She was also Vice President of the Congress of South African Writers.

Lisa Combrinck has read her poetry at conferences and festivals inSouth Africa,Zimbabwe, theUnited Kingdom,GermanyandNorway.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts and Postgraduate degrees from theUniversityofCape Town.

KEN WIWA

Ken Wiwa, also known as Ken Saro Wiwa Jr, is an author and journalist. He was born 1968 inLagos, started his education inNigeria, and went ontoEnglandwhere he attendedStancliffeHallSchoolandTonbridgeSchool. He later attended theSchoolofSlevonicand East European Studies, University College London. He is a Fellow of theUniversityofTorontoinCanada, where he moved to fromEngland.

Ken has worked with different medium as a journalist internationally and in Nigeria, part of which are The Globe and Mail, National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, the Independent, the Independent on Sunday and the Observer, and in Nigeria, Vanguard Newspapers. He has also written and presented documentaries for BBC Radio and TV, Channel and for NPR.

He was selected in 2005 as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. His first book, in the Shadow of a saint, won the 2001 Hurston/Wright Foundations Legacy Award for non-fiction.

In 2006, Ken Wiwa was appointed as Special Assistant on peace, conflict resolution and reconciliation to Nigerian former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. He also served former President Umaru Yar’Adua as the Special Assistant on International Affairs.

Let me once again applaud the Executive Governor ofRiversState, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for motivating me to attend the festival, Dame (Barr.) Nemi Lawrence, (commissioner for Education R/S) Mr. Richard Ofuru (the permanent Sec, MOE) and all others in the ministry for their hard work and support and commitment in moving the education sector forward in Rivers state and beyond.

I wish  Mrs. Koko Kalango and her wonderful team for their commitment, hard work, dedication and positive rappour with participants, for ever making each event a moment to always remember. For making Rivers youths and all other youths read. The task to bring back the reading culture is a responsibility of all!

Let’s meet at the edition where I shall reveal to you how I got the motivation to attend the festival and further lessons learnt. You will be glad you did! ####

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