So the Feast of Words – Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary festival 2016, has come and gone. Money has been spent, journeys have been undertaken, sacrifices have been made, risks have been taken, and a lot of water has passed under the proverbial bridge. At the end of it all, we all got to say ‘We did it!’
It goes without saying that the cost of pulling off a magnificent second edition of the annual literary festival has been great, but what has been gained, by all of us, is so much greater – friendship forged, inspiration awakened, laughter birthed, memories etched, hope reinvigorated, visions filtered, dreams resurrected, aspirations re-enlivened, unification forged, beauty enhanced, laughter shared.
Everyone emerged from the Feast of Words with a full stomach, wishing the day could be looped for eternity. Of a truth, we all should be proud of ourselves. Yes, all of us – the organizers, supporters and attendees, should revel in the fact that we have achieved what our politicians and leaders cannot achieve so far, even with (our) vast resources at their disposal – to create a clean space for collective happiness where tribe, religion, and status do not matter.
Saturday the 3rd of December 2016 will go down in the history of Nigerian literature as day to remember. Young writers from all over the country (and Ghana) converged at the University of Ibadan to share experiences and ideas. We initially expected one or two hundred people but ended up with a massive crowd, so much that the overflow doubled the number in the hall. We trended nationwide and everyone held their breaths waiting for the next update with the #FeastofWords2016 tag. Words were dished out in speeches, book readings, songs, spoken word performances, and banter. Awards after awards were given to deserving awardees, moments were captured on all sorts of devices, books flew off the shelves, and stomachs were filled with the fruits of the earth.
This feat is magnificent, more so because it was pulled off simply by collective effort of young writers and art enthusiasts. There was no external sponsorship and absolutely no media support. But we pulled it off by the power of unity.
For many, the kudos should go to my person as the CEO of Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd. But there are many more persons who made this a success. This group of people includes the young folk that used our fliers as their profile pictures, propagated our messages on the social media, served in one capacity or the other before, during, and after the Festival itself. They are too many to mention, but I deeply appreciate them all.
I will like to especially thank the COO of WRR, Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom for his efforts towards making this a success, despite having to combine planning with academic activities; Sir Eriata Oribhabor of Poets in Nigeria, sponsor of the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize (EOPP); the indefatigable Brigitte Poirson who funded and co-edited the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) anthology ‘Loops of Hope’, and Oppong Clifford Benjamin who flew in from Ghana to present a speech at the Festival. My profound gratitude also goes to members of the organizing committee – James Ademuyiwa, Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau, Akinyemi Jesudunsin Bliss Oyindamola, Valentine ‘Brainbox’ Ogunaka, Enigmatic Olumide Bisiriyu and the EGC media team, Ladi Aladee Ad’Ofikwu, Osigwe Benjamin, Makinde Damilola Peter, our special guests – Emmanuel Inedu, Sue’eddie Vershima Agema, Awodiya Funke and Ayoola Goodness Olanrewaju; the poets and artistes who performed on our small platform and all those who honored our invitation to partake in the Feast of Words, especially the young ones. I will not mention individual names, but you all should know that your presence and selfless offerings will forever be remembered. We appreciate you all.
The festival may be over, but the vision is not because we are still far from the ‘permanent site’. The ultimate vision is to, together, rewrite the history of Nigerian literature, while acting as support pillars for each other to bring back the golden era of Nigerian writing. If we, being members and owners of various small initiatives, can come together to execute the Feast of Words 2016 with such success, then we have what it takes to achieve our dream of a rejuvenated society and literary industry.
I am proud of us all. Let’s do it again in 2017!
See photos of the various SPECIAL PERFORMANCES sessions
See photos of participants at the Festival
See photos of the BOOK READINGS session
See photos of the presentation of prize and certificate to Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, the winner of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize (AJPP) 2016
See photos showing cross-sections of participants at the Festival
See photos from the DISCUSSION SESSION on the theme ‘WORDS IN A SEASON OF CHANGE’
See photos from the FESTIVAL AFTER PARTY
See photos from the presentation of wards to the winners of the WRR GREEN AUTHOR PRIZE 2016 and the unveiling of their co-authored book ‘RAINBOWS & FIREFLIES’
See photos from the presentation of awards to the Eriata ORIBHABOR POETRY PRIZE (EOPP) 2016 winners
See photos from the presentation of certificates to the monthly winners of THE BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (2016)
See photos from the unveiling of ‘LOOPS OF HOPE’, the anthology of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC) top ten entries which we distributed free to all attendees
See photos from the AFRICAN NIGHT session
See photos from our BOOK STAND
See the OFFICIAL SELFIE ALBUM from the Festival
Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
Chief Executive Officer | Publisher Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd
firstname.lastname@example.org || 08060109295