Henry Akubuiro, Lagos
Nigeria’s sole literary Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has advised the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) to withhold its scheduled 50th anniversary of his bestselling prison memoir, The Man Died.
Giving reasons for the u-turn, the legendary playwright, who is also a poet and a novelist said in a statement addressed to the national executive of the association:
‘For the avoidance of any doubt, I wish to confirm that I initiated the request to the National Executive of the Association of Nigerian Authors to put off the commemoration that is being planned for a 50th anniversary of my prison memoirs, The Man Died.
‘This is only partly due to the current unsettled social conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, still ruthless in its disruption of the literary and other creative lives of numerous colleagues and institutions.
‘Even more pertinent is my conviction that the Association of Nigerian Authors, just emerging from the worst crisis of its existence, requires to devote more time and energy to consolidating, and bringing back all members into a unified fold.
‘I have been profoundly encouraged by the efforts made by the Advisory Body and other ‘Elder Pens’ of the association. I remain confident that ANA will emerge stronger and steadier than ever before, and resume its peerless contribution to the cultural life of the nation.’
Themed “Literature in the Cause of Governance – 50 Years After Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died”, the conference was billed to hold from January to July 2021 in five states: Ekiti, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Ogun.
Highlights of the events are designed to include book readings, essay competitions for students, paper presentations, drama adaptations and anniversary banquet.