Two Lagos-based writer-journalists – Anote Ajeluorou of The Guardian and Henry Akubuiro of Daily Sun – will be lead discussants in a creative writing masterclass to be held at the 1000 Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Arts, Ugbowo Campus, Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, on Friday, September 20, 2019, at 10 am.
The department is keen to give an early start to its students on the rudiments of creative writing and critical engagement. The choice of the two journalists and writers comes on the heels of their respective performances in the creative arena with the publication of their works that continue to receive popular acclaim.
Akubuiro has published three novellas –Adventures of Bingo and Bomboi (Little Wizard of Okokomaiko (Winner, 2009, ANA/Lantern Books Prize for Children’s Prose) and Vershima and the Missing Cow –and a novel, Prodigals in Paradise (shortlisted for 2016, ANA Prose Prize). Akubuiro, who is the Arts Editor at The Sun newspaper, won the 1998 BBC World Service Young Reporters’ Competition, 1998 National Essay Competition, 2005 ANA Literary Journalist of the Year, among other laurels.
Ajeluorou, on the other hand, who is the author of Igho Goes to Farm, longlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, was former Arts Editor of The Guardian, but currently heads the politics desk of the paper.
According to the coordinator of the workshop, poet, and professor of English and Literature at the department, Professor Tony Afejuku, “The idea is to get the two writers to interface with our students in a conversation on the process of writing. It will be interactive and students will ask questions about their works. We believe our students will greatly benefit from the experience of talking to two practising journalists and writers. So, it is a meeting of current practitioners of the craft of writing and students studying that craft.”
Akubuiro, who studied English and Literary Studies, at Imo State University, Owerri, said, “The event enkindles a nostalgic feeling for me, because two of my published works, especially the novel, Prodigals in Paradise, was begun during my one year mandatory national youth service at the Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, many yers ago. I will, among others, be imparting on new trends in creative writing to the students of the English Department.”
Ajeluorou is also excited at the masterclass idea, as it signals his return to his old department where he studied many years ago.
According to him, “This is quite exciting and I look forward to it with eagerness. Having studied at the department and headed the department’s Creative Writing Workshop back in the 1990s as a student, which had aspiring student writers from other departments, it is a privilege to go back to the department again to share my creative and journalistic writing experiences with the current crop of trainee writers and critics of my beloved department. The idea alone already invokes nostalgic feelings in me, and I hope the students are ready!”