By Henry Akubuiro, Lagos
Onyeka Nwelue, the founder of the James Currey Society and director of the James Currey Literary Festival, has confirmed the launch of the inaugural James Currey Literary Festival, which will take place at Weston Library, University of Oxford, from 1-3 September 2022.
The festival honours the enormous but little-known contributions to the development of African literature made by James Currey, founder of the famous African Writers Series. It is organised by the Oxford-based James Currey Society.
This first edition of the festival will bring together writers from across the African continent such as the Veteran Nigerian novelist, former politician, and former president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Dr Wale Okediran, who will talk about his new work. Other novelists, such as Ikenna Okeh, Stephen Embleton, Ever Obi, and writers Kadija Sesay, Timi Ovuru, Okwiri Oduor, Suraj Yengde, Keith Richards, Shola Adenekan, Sonny Iroche, Lydia Idakula, Dianne Regisford, Uche Anyanwagu, Nky Iweka, Blessing Uzzi, Chioma Ude, and Ayodele Arigbabu, will join in conversations cutting across a range of published works and topics.
Besides, the James Currey Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Criticism will be awarded to Ikhide Ikheloa, who is well known for his daring reviews of creative works. Also featuring at the festival will be the announcement of the winner of the 2022 James Currey Prize for African Literature, established by Onyeka Nwelue at a dinner, organised by Juliet Mabey, publisher of OneWorld Publications.
The British Council will be supporting the representation of selected authors from Africa at the Festival under their Culture Connects programme. According to Melody Sango, Programme Manager for Culture Connects in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the festival provides opportunities for creatives from both SSA and the UK to connect as professionals, to network, and explore opportunities for future collaboration – which is a key part of our work as British Council to support the growth of the creative sector.
Guests of the festival will include: His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada IV, Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama kingdom; Bloomsbury publisher, Alexandra Pringle; Britain’s first ‘black’ female book publisher, Margaret Busby, along with Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, considered Mother of Modern Nigerian Literature, and eminent British publisher of African Studies, James Currey himself.