Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has urged the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) to put off its planned 50th anniversary of his prison memoir, titled: The Man Died.
By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)
The renowned author gave reasons for his action.
In a statement on Tuesday to the national executive of the association, he said: “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.”
When The Nation contacted the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the anniversary, Prof. Gbemisola Adeoti of the Department of English at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, he said the planning was still at the early stage.
The chairman said he had not been briefed on the new development.
ANA had started planning the book’s anniversary with an epic conference with the theme: Literature in the Cause of Governance – 50 Years After Wole Soyinka’s, The Man Died.
The conference was scheduled to take place from January to July 2021 in five states: Ekiti, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Ogun.
Highlights of the events include book readings, essay competitions for students, paper presentations, drama adaptations and anniversary banquet.