By Adeola Ogunrinde
Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, recently held its 34th annual convention in Kaduna where Denja Abduallahi was democratically elected as ANA’S new National President. The election which was held at Kaduna State University went into the wee hours of the night with members of ANA waiting anxiously for the result.
The election was coordinated by past president of ANA including Dr. Wale Okediran and Professor Jerry Agada. The theme of this year’s convention was “The Local and Global Textures of New Nigerian Writings” and Professor Harry Garuba, a lecturer at the Center for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa, gave the keynote address during the convention.
In his keynote address, Garuba said it was important for writers to write about the local in global textures, deep cultural values of who we are emphasizing that the age of social media had thrown up a new reality that had produced a new age of writers in Africa.
Garuba noted that this new reality must be judged with the way it rubs with the local reality.“The social media seems to have collapsed the world into one and this means danger to the world. We need to ask ourselves as African writers this question especially how new writing can fit into modern reality”.
During this year’s convention delegates experienced stress of travelling from various parts of the country, accommodation problems on getting to Kaduna and how to get food to eat during the convention.
The outgoing president of ANA Remi Raji in his speech said ‘While I leave posterity to judge, I will mention a few examples. We have reclaimed our land from the speculators in Abuja. We have commenced work on the Mamman Vatsa estate, which is a great achievement for us’’.
Recounting his major highpoints of his four- year tenure as ANA President, Raji said “In spite of some fears, we have made positive results. All we can say today is words of appreciation to you all. As an association, we have witnessed several challenges, but, we have progressed by the quality of standards and benchmark set for our members. We have made efforts to discipline members so that things are done properly. Above all, we have tried to reposition the image of ANA as a responsible writers’ body that every Nigerian author can be proud of.”
The four-day convention featured book exhibitions, discourse, conference, night of poetry, a guided tour around the Arewa home of the late Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello and the presentation of awards to persons and organisations that distinguished themselves in the service of the association. Winners of this year’s ANA prize include
ANA drama prize in which Dickson Ekhaguere won 100,000 naira, Servio Gbadamosi won the poetry prize of 100,000 naira . Maryam Bobi and Obinna Udenwe are joint winners of this year’s ANA prose prize in which they are both to share 100,000 naira. Olubunmi Familoni won the Abubakar Gimba prize for short stories with a prize money of 250,000 naira while Nnenna Ihebom won the prize on Children writing with a prize money of 50,000 naira.