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Ebedi: Essential Home For African Writers

Posted: May 10, 2015 at 12:06 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Title: Ebedi Review

Editors: Paul Liam’s and Obinna Udenwe

Reviewer: Gbemisola Adeoti

Publisher: Ebedi International Writers Residency, Iseyin.

No of Pages: 95

Ebedi Review, a 95-page compendium is the in-house Journal of the Ebedi International Writers Residency located in Iseyin, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State.  The Journal is a bold attempt to tell the stories of a Writers’ Residency programme, the only of its kind in existence in the country for now.  And being the maiden edition, it has, with a commendable degree of success, captured the Residency’s long achievements, within its short time of existence in multiple but audible voices.

The centre was opened on the 1st of September, 2010, with two female writers, but four years up the lane, it has hosted 49 writers, male and female, young and old, established and up-coming writers, drawn from different parts of Nigeria.  Some writers from other African countries like Uganda and Ghana have also benefitted from the serenity of the environment and tranquil atmosphere of Iseyin, to give expression to their creative muse.  Four years may be considered too short in the life of an organisation to recount its achievements, however, it is an apt moment to sit back and review the project, to gauge its perception by the beneficiaries.  Interestingly, as the content of the Journal eloquently testifies, its beneficiaries are not just the fellows, the staff and its founder, the writer-politician-physician, Wale Okediran.  The list warmly embraces students and staff of schools with whom the fellows are expected to interact for some contact period while in residency.  The beneficiaries also include Iseyin and its people upon whom the Residency has drawn national and global attention, as well as the Nigerian literary community.

The Ebedi International Writers Residency programme, it should be recalled, was the brain child of Okediran.  As Femi Osofisan, the world acclaimed dramatist who presided over the opening ceremony of the Residency aptly describes it in his address at the occasion of its opening, “it is the birth of a dream, an uncommon dream, a vision of one man’s generosity and benevolence”-p.6. This address, published in the Review and an interview granted the press by the Founder, Okediran, clearly articulate the vision, mission, recruitment process as well as the modus operandi of the Residence.

The idea behind the Residency programme is to create an enabling environment for writers to complete their ongoing works in a serene and tranquil environment. This idea is reinforced by Osofisan.

To prove Osofisan right, from the testimonies of the Residency fellows as painstakingly documented in Ebedi Review, from the Reports of its operations in the mass media, some clips of which are included in the Review, no writer has ever come out of the Residency without a      luscious harvest of rich literary materials and remarkable human experience.

This is well illustrated in the following articles: Akintayo Abodunrin’s “Ebedi: Serene Haven for Advancing Creativity”, pp.12-15; Anaele lhuoma’s “Noah’s Act, Ibadan centre: An Ebedi Experience”, pp. 16-18, Paul Liam’s “Ebedi Writers Residency: A Manifestation of Passion for Literature”, pp. 18-20 and Obinna Udenwe’s “Ebedi Residency: Wonderful Discoveries” pp. 21-23.

A section is devoted to feed back from teachers and students of schools in the community who have had rewarding encounters with the Ebedi Fellows. There is also a section for interviews with the founder, Dr. Okediran, and the Chief Host of the Residency, Oba (Dr.) Abdul- Ganiyu Adekunle Salau, the Aseyin of Iseyin and some of the fellows.  All of these show the essence and impact of the project.  At a glance, a list of the 49 fellows is presented, spiced with colourful pictures. The list contains names of journalists, academics, teachers, students, and freelancers among others.  Some of them include – Doreen Baigana, Jackson Oyugi Barbara Oketta, Agiresaasi Apophia (Uganda); John Sarpong, Macdell Joshua Kofi Sackey (Ghana); Temitayo Olofinlua, Nehru Odeh, Dul Johnson, Molara Ogundipe, Yewande Omotoso, and others.

On the whole, in spite of their very limited experience in the business of editing and production of literary journal, Ebedi Review is a worthy effort by its Editors, Paul Liam and Obinna Udenwe; two fellows, who decided to give back to the Residency, some of their gains, in terms of experience, memory and visibility. And like many other projects ever embarked upon by Wale Okediran, a former General Secretary and President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), this is another dream successfully nurtured into the proud stage of reality.


•Prof Gbemisola Adeoti

Is the Director, Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.