AWF hosts top poets on World Poetry Day

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To mark this year’s world poetry day, the Abuja Writers Forum is hosting an online  conversation on March 21 from 6-8pm with some top Nigeria poets.

The event which is tagged, “Is the Nigerian Poet Relevant to the Society ?” will feature Servio Gbadamosi, Echenozachu Nduka, Tanure Ojaide and Olumide Olaniyan. All four were on the  recent Pan African Writers Assoiation (PAWA ) Poetry Contest (English Category) which was won by Obari Gomba. Kabura Zakama, an award winning poet and whose latest collection is CHANT OF THE ANGRY, will anchor the event which can be accessed on Zoom via the following link – Meeting Id 864 7706 7081 and Passcode 679896.

Servio Gbadamosi, who is also a publisher, is a recipient of the 2016 Ebedi International Writers Residency fellowship where he co-wrote the chapbook, A Half-Formed Thing, with fellow residents, Ehi’zogie Iyeoman and Ikechukwu Nwaogu. His poetry collection, A Tributary in Servitude (WriteHouse Collective, 2015), won the 2015 Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted runner-up for the 2018 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. His second poetry collection, Where the Light Enters You (Noirledge Publishing, 2021) was recently longlisted for the inaugural Pan African Writers Association Poetry Prize.

Gbadamosi’s works have appeared online as well as in print journals, newspapers and anthologies such as The Guardian, The Nigerian Tribune, The Nation Newspaper, Nigerian NewsDirect, ANA Review 2017, ANA Review 2018, ANA Review 2019, SỌ̀RỌ̀SÓKÈ: An #EndSars Anthology, Crossroads: Anthology of Poems in Honour of Christopher Okigbo, Fela’s Re-arrangement: A Collage of the Poetic Biography of Nigeria’s Folkhero of Afrobeat Music and The Sky is Our Earth: Anthology of Fifty Young Nigerian Poets. He coedited the poetry collections, The Promise this Time was Not a Flood: A Sevhage Anthology of Flood Poems and Salt of the Heart: Anthology of Poems for Nigeria at 50. 

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Echezonachukwu Nduka, who is also aclassical pianist, is the author of Chrysanthemums for Wide-eyed Ghosts (Griots Lounge: 2018), and Waterman (Griots Lounge: 2020). He earned academic degrees in Music from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Kingston University, London. His debut poetry collection Chrysanthemums for Wide-eyed Ghosts was recently shortlisted for the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) Poetry Prize. Echezonachukwu Nduka’s poetry often centers on the intersections of memory, history, music, religion, metaphysics, and the quotidian. His poetry has appeared in The Indianapolis Review, Bombay Review, Kissing Dynamite, Jalada Africa, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, among others. 

Apart from poetry, Olumide Olaniyan is also q satirist, historian and social scientist. He has authored two collections of poems, Lucidity of Absurdity (2017) and Akimbo in Limbo (2021). Selected poems from the works are being used to teach contemporary African literature in some higher institutions in Nigeria. His maiden collection, Lucidity of Absurdity was critiqued in the Keffi International Journal of Science and Humanities; a number of university students also reviewed the collection in their final year research from ecocriticism, post-colonialism and social theory perspectives. Other literary e-journals that have appraised his works, include Dugwe published by the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), Geek Afrique, Anotearthub, Intervention.ng and BookArtVille magazine. Olaniyan’s poem, “Behind Closed Doors”, won the maiden edition of Communicators League Creative Writing Contest in 2017. A number of his poems, including “Déjà vu”, “Succubus” and “Drowning Fish” have been adapted into community dramas and performed in hard-to-reach communities to promote arts, inclusivity and participation. Another poem, “One Sojourn of the Moon”, received an honorary mention in the Mandela Day Poetry Competition, 2016. His short stories and poems have been published in anthologies within and outside Nigeria. 

His recent work, Akimbo in Limbo was shortlisted for the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) poetry prize 2022. Olaniyan’s involvement in creative writing spans over three decades; in early 1990s, he contributed short stories to weekly tabloids and magazines, including the Lagos Weekend, then a publication of the Daily Times of Nigeria, and the HINTS Magazine. “Friday the 13th”, a short story by Olaniyan appeared in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos anthology – Twenty Nigerian Writers in 1993. Olaniyan’s works are saturated with historicism, ecocriticism, absurdism, phenomenology, and related human conditions, through which he pushes for reshuffling of skewed social structure fueled by unjust power relations and social construction in modern society.   

Educated at Ibadan and Syracuse Universities, Tanure Ojaide has quietly become a god-father of some sort of Nigerian poetry. He has published collections of poetry, novels, short story collections, memoirs, and self-authored and co-authored scholarly books. Ojaide’s awards include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Africa Region, the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry, and the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award. He was the Winner of the UNC Charlotte’s First Citizens Bank Scholar Medal Award for 2005. In 2016 he won both the African Literature Association’s Folon-Nichols Award for Excellence in Writing and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award for the Humanities. In 2018 he co-won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. He has won the National Endowment for the Humanities grant, twice the Fulbright Senior Scholar fellowship, and twice the Carnegie African Diaspora Program fellowship. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters. Ojaide is currently the Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte.

Since its inception in 2008, the Abuja Writers Forum has positioned itself as a pacesetting literary organisation in Nigeria with ground breaking events like the Guest Writer Session whioch has become a nationwide model, Critique Session, Abuja Literary Festival, a variety of writing workshops, and the  publishing of two literary journals – Cavalcade and Dugwe which have launched the literary careers of several Nigerian writers.







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