With each impending episode of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF) Guest Writer Series comes a lot of expectations, especially for the literary enthusiasts who have followed the progress of the event, now in its 6th year. This is due to a reputation of consistency, innovation and exciting delivery of the best of creative writing, backed with other frills. The January edition was not an exception, more so as it seemed to be a sign of what Nigeria’s literary community should expect in 2014.
The event which held on January 25th at Nanet Suites, Abuja, featured three guests; Michaela Moye and Sammy Sage Hassan (poets) , and a fashion designer, Grace Ojo. And they did provide a thrilling kickstart.
Michaela was the first of the three guests to serve the audience a piece of her artistic ingenuity. She read from Relieved, her debut collection of poems and short stories. A writer and editor, Moye has worked with various publications including NEXT and Leadership Newspaper. A graduate of Law at the University of Abuja, Moye her early journalistic work involved writing and editing entertainment stories for the Leadership Newspaper, in the course of which she interviewed Hollywood actors, Danny Glower and Forest Whitaker.
Fashion designer, Grace Ibironke Ojo took her turn soon after Moye. But she did not read from lines written on paper, she read through a line-up of pretty and smart models who did a catwalk to showcase her marvelous designs. Roars of applause welcomed piece after piece
of her Nigerian fashion creations. She showcased 12 dresses which proved right, her description of her style of dresses as simple, stylish and sophisticated,which she delivers through her label, Grazee Stitches. Ojo has a degree in Political Science and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration. She is an advertising executive at the Leadership Newspapers.
Sammy Sage was the last act of the night but in no way the least. He drew his presentation from his latest publication, Dream Maker. Indeed he made dreams for the audience as many
would dream of his thrilling rendition nights after the event. Being Nigeria’s premiere and foremost spoken word poet, he proved his abilities with his lyrical delivery that left the audience clapping and screaming with excitement.Sage has performed before audiences across Nigeria and in South Africa. He has released three poetry albums and three poetry videos, appearing in events like the hip hop world award show, ThisDay Music Festival and Arts Alive’s Speak the mind in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has also done brand poems, which are poetry created for companies and products, for Unilever, Coca Cola, MTN, Celtel, Nigerian Breweries Limited and Diageo etc.
After their individual presentations, the guests returned for the interactive session, during which they fielded questions from the audience. Responding to the question of why she chose to have a combination of poems and short stories in one collection, Michaela Moye said she had started her writing with poetry but was not confident of her quality so when she started writing short stories and eventually got to publishing a collection, she thought it wise to include her poems in the collection so that the stories would push the poems. Also responding to a question of what informed her choice of the theme of rape and violence against women,
which has appeared in a handful of poems, Moye said she was inspired to lend her voice against bullying, rape and sexual violence because the crimes are widespread in the society but enough attention is not being paid to the fight against them. It is her own way of fighting the vices, she said.
Sage revealed that he has a collection of poems that will be produced on a CD later this year, in answer to an overwhelmed member of the audience who was curious to know if he had plans of bringing out his work in other media that will enhance its promotion to the global audience.
On her part, Grace Ojo who was praised for her creative use of local Nigerian fabrics, was drawn to describe the qualities of her brand that sets her apart from the local tailors, in answer to which she said Grazee Stiches is far more professional in the composition of its fabrics. She said her creativity is distinct and her delivery unique, which gives her a fair edge over the local tailors. Her designs, she said, are inspired through abstract imaginations since most of the common designs are merely copied and recycled and also emphasized that her clothes are not expensive, when one considers the quality and durability that they offer.
The interactive session done with, the event progressed to the raffle draw segment. Each member of the audience had been issued a ticket with a unique number on it at the point of registration. The guests picked the draws and winners were presented books and VCDs of Chundum’s Series, a TVculinary programme produced by Edith Yassin.
The Guest Writer Session comes up on the last Saturday of every month. The forum also holds a critique session every Sunday at 4pm, at the International Institute for Journalism (IIJ), Jimmy Carter Street, Asokoro, Abuja, which is also open to the public.
*Iyorngurum is a Writer, Poet, Editor and the Secretary of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF).
He writes from Abuja.