Wednesday, 10 October 2012

News Report: Port Harcourt Literary Festival Opens Monday

The annual Garden City Literary Festival is billed to open on Monday, 15th October, 2012 at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, capital city of Rivers State. Rivers State is an Oil and Gas rich state in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. The capital city is often referred to as the garden city.

The festival which debuted in September, 2012 is the brainchild of the Rivers State government and the Rainbow Book Club based in Port Harcourt.

Over the years, the festival had attracted famous literary personalities like Professors Wole Soyinka, Ngugi Wa Thiongo, John Pepper Clark, Chinua Achebe and Others. Achebe participated via video on account of a temporary  health challenge.

Festival watchers are of the opinion that this year's festival would not be as colourful as the ones before. they cite the dearth of famous literary personalities in the the line up of this year's key participants as reason for their opinion.

According to the programme(click here to download programme) posted on the festival's website, the only well known prospective key participant this year is one Noo Saro-Wiwa, a budding writer whose only present claim to fame is that she is a daughter of the famed Ogoni environmental activist and writer, late Ken Saro-Wiwa.

chidi opara reports have learned that over the years, pressures have been mounted on the state government, financiers of the festival by the Association Of Nigerian Authors(ANA), Rivers State branch and the English Language Department Of The University Of Port Harcourt(UNIPORT) to withdraw from sponsoring the festival and back the two influential literary bodies for a rival literary festival. The state governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, reported to be a family friend of the Rainbow Book Club boss, Mrs. Koko Kalango staved off these pressures, acts which necessitated silent rifts between the contenders. Contacts in UNIPORT and ANA boasted  to chidi opara reports that most famous literary personalities would no longer want to attend the festival unless the silent rift is settled amicably.

However, Port Harcourt, which is the UNESCO world book capital for 2014 would next week witness another literary festival.

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