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Icons Behind Unprecedented Rise Of Nigerian Fiction

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Nigerian literature is known throughout the world through exploits of literary icons like Wole Soyinka who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature and the first black African to receive the award.
Other Nigerian literally giants with world wide audience include Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Flora Nwapa, , Gabriel Okara, Kole Omotoso, John Pepple Clark, Ben Okri and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among others.
Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri led the way, but a wave of women writers have taken over. In October 2019, writers from all over the world converged in Lagos for the Ake Arts and Book Festival, one of the biggest literary events on the African continent. Among them were authors whose narratives are helping to propel the phenomenon that is Nigerian Fiction on the global stage.
The festival showcased a newly minted Man Booker Prize Winner in Bernardine Evaristo announced as joint winner for her novel, Girl, Woman to win the prize. It does not hurt that she is born in London to a Nigerian father.
Now in its ninth year, the festival is a major highlight of the burgeoning Lagos Art Season, but this vibrant scene would not have been possible a few decades ago.
The pioneer generation of Nigerians writing in English emerged prior to independence from Britain in 1960 and included Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Amos Tutuola, then followed long periods of military dictatorship leading to a decline in the publishing environment with many intellectuals fleeing the country in one of the darkest episodes. A renowned writer and environmentalist and the former President of Nigerian Authors , Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged with eight other activists of Ogoni extraction by the military regime of General Sani Abacha in 1995.
The second spring of Nigerian fiction came from abroad, from the first sign of resurgence as well as the international character of much of future literary expression came in 1991 when Ben Okri won the Booker of the Famished Road. Okri has been living in London for many years and his win energised writers back home.
It took another 10 years for the promise to come to fruition with Helen Habilas emerging as the seasoned winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2001. His winning story, Love Poems was an urban fable about the triumph of the imagination, over military repression, just as Nigerian writers would use the internet to find new publishing opportunities and readers.
By the time Chimamada Ngozi Adichie showed up on the orange prize shortlist with her debut novel, ‘Purple Hibiscus’ in 2004, Nigerian fiction was in full stride. She won the prize with ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ in 2007, the year Vanity Fairs Africa Issue described her as parting the literary waves like Cleopatra and parted the wave she did. Following closely behind were many of her compatriots now taking the literary world by storm with publishing deals and awards in tow.
Decades after independence, there are concerns different from that of their pioneer generation, grappling instead with shifting notions of freedom and individuals in a globalised world. They are exploring themes including gender, sexuality and feminism, many are based in the west and thus are making significant contributions to the growing canon of immigrant stories.
Adichie is now firmly established as a literary superstar and cultural icon, winner of Mac Arthur Genius Giant, her TED talk, “We shall all be feminists” was sampled by Beyonce and also distributed to 16 year-old in Sweden. Her third novel, ‘Americanah’ is being made into a film starring Cupita Nyonyo.
The 2019 Booker also recognised Chigozi Obioma for his second novel “An Orchestra of Minorities”, his second time on the shortlist. Several Ake Festival guests have been long listed including Oyinkan Braith Waith, (My Sister the Serial Killer) and Ayobami Adebayo (Stay With Me). 2013 Caine Winner, Tope Falarin was also listed with his debut novel, “A Different Kind of Blackman”. So was Uzodinma Iweala, author of “ Beasts Of No Nation”, which was adapted for Netflix movie starring Idris Elba. It is very important to note that the festival was also organised by a writer, Lola Shoneyin, author of “The Secret Life Of Baba Segi’s Wives”.
Whereas the independence era, was dominated by male, the table has turned with the current generation as many of the most prominent players are women. The latest Caine Winner, Lesley Nneka Arimah is the sixth Nigerian to win it, making the country the most successful at the award so far. Also on the list was Nnedi Okorafor, a leading author in the fantasy genre she tags “African Futurism”.
She is responsible for several projects in the Marvel Comics, Black Panther stable and her novel “Who Fears Death” has been optioned for a series by Cable Network HBO, with the involvement of Game of Throne Creator, George R. Martin, NLNG Nigeria for Literature Winner, China Wigwe was also at the festival with her collection of short stories, ‘Better Never Than Late’.
These are some of the writers driving the increasing visibility of Nigerian fiction on book shelves around the world perhaps for a country of nearly 200 million people and 250 ethnic groups who like to call their country, the “Giant Of Africa”. With more of the country’s writers finding their voices to explore their live experiences and history, the rise of Nigerian fiction looks set to continue its explaits on the global stage.

 

By: Jacob Obinna

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Firm Partners Parents Association On Education Plan

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Leadway Assurance has partnered with the Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS) to launch an education insurance policy plan tagged the ‘Group Education Protection Plan (GEPP)’.
The bespoke education plan, which was launched at the Children’s Day event hosted at Eliud International School in Port Harcourt on Thursday, May 27, 2021, is designed to help parents protect their children’s future from possible socio-economic disruption in schooling due to unplanned or unforeseen events, such as the death of a parent or guardian, life threatening critical illness, total and permanent disability resulting from personal accidents.
With this partnership, the parents are guaranteed the fulfilment of bequeathing their children quality and life-defining education, no matter what life throws at them.
This unique alliance mandates Leadway Assurance to assume the payment of the children’s fees for the agreed remaining school terms from the point the sponsoring parent or guardian dies or contracts a critical illness or disability.
Speaking on the initiative, Head of Life Retail, Leadway Assurance, Bolorunduro Saliu, said, “This policy reflects the organisation’s proactive steps towards mitigating the risk parents face of failing to achieve their dream of bequeathing quality education to their children due to circumstances that are beyond their control, especially death or permanent disability.
“We are pleased to work with a forward-looking association that is keen to proactively take smart financial decisions for their children’s assured future.
Our partnership with APPSS provides every parent under the association the assurance that, should the most unnerving life situation occur, there is guaranteed peace of mind regarding the completion of your child’s education”, he added.
He further stated, “The intention of this policy is to have a solution that protects the parents which in turn protects the education of their children in case of any eventuality. This product is designed to provide an actionable and affordable solution to ensuring that our children, being the future of the society, have proactive measures put in place to ensure that their journey to greatness was not halted abruptly.”
Also, commenting on the partnership, National President, Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS), Dr Ovy Chukwuma, said, “Leadway Assurance has magnanimously created this programme at a very affordable premium and high sum, assured to cater for the payment of fees for children in private schools nationwide from Nursery to Secondary Levels.
The programme is designed to be driven by our Children Education Promotion and Protection Ambassadors (CEPPA), a project to provide parents, schools, and society at large an opportunity to be involved in the process of quality children education delivery in the country”, he added.
The GEPP partnership was officially inaugurated on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, commemorating this year’s Children’s Day.
Leadway Assurance is one of Nigeria’s foremost insurance service companies with a reputation for service efficiency and customer reliability.
The organisation is committed to providing innovative ways to equip every Nigerian with the tools needed to mitigate risks whilst adopting insurance as a top choice for wealth creation.

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‘Your Reaction Matters More Than What Happens To You’

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Once  a time, a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a  reknown chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the boiled eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. ‘Daughter, what do you see?’
‘Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,’ she hastily replied.
‘Look closer,’ he said, ‘and touch the potatoes.’ She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
‘Father, what does this mean?’ she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
‘Which are you,’ he asked his daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?’

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Why Youths Must Pay A Price For Success

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Youths today desire to be like Daniel in the Bible, but they are not ready to pay the price in order to earn a reward.Daniel in the Bible was a successful, wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, consecrated, and a committed person.The Bible records that he was 10 times better than others.
Today, parents name  their children, Daniel because of the divine and excellent spirit in him and the way he was successful.We try to be like those who have excelled but we are not ready to do what they did before they  succeeded ,we are not ready to pay the price for success.
Life is wonderful but the world itself is “colourful”.
Today, the acronym, “This World No Balance” turns to be a popular slogan of many youths today.They feel relaxing,weak,and tired. When they try and fail, they never try to continue or to keep moving forward,they are discouraged and taken off balance because of little trials, failure, etc.
They forget about the story of Ben Carson who was buried in failure and dullness in his school days,but now he is one of the best medical doctors we have,and they also forget about the story of Michael Faraday who failed 999 times just to bring about the existence of electricity in the world,but he was not shaken, discouraged or stopped trying.
His aspiration, inspiration, dreams and zeal never dried up or died in him,but he consistently persevered and strived to attain to achieve his purpose and goal.
Today,youths shouldn’t just sit back and complain about their backgrounds,level of education, psychological capabilities and abilities,we should not forget that Daniel was a slave but yet was found victorious.Joseph was a slave before he became the Prime Minister in Egypt.We should just try our best,read our books,go for predominant skill acquisition,engage in meaningful things,we should strive, persevere,aspire,inspire and have the zeal for success and goal oriented .We should fight back with success when life offers us failure, fight back with victory when life offers us defeat,and we should fight back with positive when life offers us negative.Then I believe with all these at heart ,the popular slogan will change from “A Disbalance Life  To A Balance  Life”.
 As youths,we should remember that no good thing comes easily,and no good thing comes without paying a price.If youths today can chant their perspectives and believe,then success will be sure and secured for youths and failure will be a thing of the past.Youths today can be successful like David, Job,Joseph, Michael Faraday,Ben Carson and other successful men and women in the world.
See You at throne Of Success!!

By: Wisdom God’swork
 God’swork is a student of  Community Secondary School,
Kalio-Ama, Okrika LGA, Rivers State.

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