How does one define a city of literature? Literature is a thing of beauty, so the city has to be a beautiful city. Secondary school teachers of English language and literature tell their students that literature is a study of life.
If literature were a study of life, how would a city of literature look like? It would mean that the city of literature is a city of the study of life. It appears that this definition of literature is erroneous.
It was announced some time ago at the BBC World Service News that the city of Edinburgh was declared the best city for the proper enhancement and promotion of literary writing, the best city of which creative literary writers can earn a comfortable living from their works, thereby certifying Edinburgh as the city of literature.
Here is an irony: Since the Scottish capital city is the city of literature, no Scottish individual of overwhelming literary repute has won a Nobel Prize for Literature, which is considered to be the ultimate literary prize in the globe.
This is definitely wonderful news for all creative writers, most especially the ones here in Nigeria. All literary creative eyes would probably be zeroed on that Scottish city as we speak.
I believe that Scottish city is the city where literary creative writers are the movers and shakers of the very fabric of all and sundry of that city. Here in Nigeria, the general public’s reading level of the books of literary creative writers is on “minus zero” and still declining at top speed. The few literary associations we have in the country have held several workshops, worked out several modalities and proffered several solutions to their numerous literary problems, all to no avail. I guess their central problems are lack of dedication and financing. Since writers feel they won’t get royalties for their works, they are afraid of getting published. There is poor editing of books and poor production of books. This is a perpetual certainty: No one writes well. No one reads. No one criticises. Based on the aforementioned, can any Nigerian city be declared a city of literature? Very, very highly unlikely!
Even though there are many way of preserving and protecting one’s own culture and tradition, one of the most important ways is through literature. Literature is an attempt to describe human experiences by means of the spoken or written word.
As you take time to read this newspaper, dear reader, would you devote that same time to read a literary piece from any genre? Someone once said that a country can never survive without reading.
I encourage my fellow Nigerian literary writers to migrate to any city in the world, when the opportunity presents itself, that will receive them with open arms. I am sure Nigerians would listen to you then.