PRESS STATEMENT ON EFURU@50: A CELEBRATION OF FLORA NWAPA THE PIONEER OF AFRICAN WOMEN LITERATURE’’
2016 marks the golden anniversary of the publication of the novel Efuru by Flora Nwapa.
Flora Nwapa was born on January 13th, 1931 in Oguta in the present day Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria.
Flora attended Oguta CMS Central School, Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, Elelenwo, Rivers State; CMS Girls Grammar School, Lagos, and Queens College, Yaba, Lagos in 1951-52. She then proceeded to the University College Ibadan (University of Ibadan) in 1953 where she graduated with Bachelors Degree in Art (BA) in 1957. The next year, she went to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and finished with a Diploma in education.
Upon her return to Nigeria in 1959, her initial work experience started as an educational officer in Calabar, Cross River State and later went to Queens School, Enugu, where she taught English and Geography. Between 1962-1964, she became the Assistant Registrar (Public Relations) at the University of Lagos. In 1965, she went into professional career in writing which projected her and Igbo women in international scene when her first novel Efuru was in published in 1966. When the Nigerian Civil War over Biafra broke out, Flora and her family fled Lagos for East Central State and from 1970-1971, she was appointed the first female Commissioner for Health and Social Welfare for the East Central State under the leadership of Ajie Ukpabi Aska (1970-1975), with that position, she was the first Nigerian woman to be so appointed.
The book centres around Efuru, an Igbo woman who lives in a small village in colonial West Africa. Throughout the story, Efuru wishes to be a mother, though she is an independent-minded woman and respected for her trading ability. The book is rich in portrayals of the Igbo culture and of different scenarios which have led to its current status as a feminist and cultural work. In view of the global acceptance of the book and its author, it is imperative to celebrate the golden anniversary of the publication of this very important novel with a National Conference.
The Conference is proposed to be a 4 City national event with a number of activities ranging from symposia to a children’s carnival, writing competitions, drama sketches of ‘Efuru’ as well as a Grand Finale with a Night Of Tributes. The above named activities will be situated in Lagos, Abuja, Maiduguri with the Grand Finale in Enugu.
Some Local and Foreign writers will be invited to deliver papers on the Conference Theme. In addition, there will be a call for papers with the hope that we can have a very lively discussion around the book.
The National celebration will be centred around Writers and Academicians. For this reason, a 5 man National Organising Committee to be headed by Dr Wale Okediran, former National President, Association Of Nigerian Authors will oversee the organisation of the event while Local Organising Committees will be coordinate activities at the Local ends.
In Lagos, the LOC Chairman is Prof Hope Eghagha, the current Head of Department of English at the University of Lagos while the Abuja centre will be manned by Prof Vicky Sylvester, the HOD English at the University of Abuja and Dr Razinat Mohammed at the University of Maiduguri. The grand finale in Enugu and Oguta will be coordinated by Prince Paschal Mebuge- Obaa. All the LOC Chairmen will work closely with the ANA Chairmen and members in the respective states. Our choice of University of Maiduguri was predicated on the fact that Flora Nwapa was at one time, a visiting Professor at the University.
A major aspect of the National Event is the Literary Competition among secondary school students in the four centres. Copies of ‘Efuru’ will be given to these students to read for one month before the day of the Literary Competition. The competition will involve a quiz, reading comprehension and one act dramatic enactment of any part of the book by participating schools.
THE ABUJA CHILDREN CARNIVAL
The Literary competition for students will be expanded in Abuja as a Children Carnival. The event which is planned for the NTA Arena will involve other activities for children such as dance and poetry competition among others. This is to encourage children in the nation’s capital to inculcate a literary habit in their daily activities.
VENUES AND DATES
The proposed date for the colloquium is November 29 to December 11 2017. Collaborations will be done with the Association of Nigerian Authors at the National Level and through its Local Branches where the events are billed to hold as well as tertiary Institutions such as University of Lagos, University of Abuja, University Of Maiduguri as well as the University Of Nigeria, Nsukka. The Nigerian Television Authority will also be brought on stage for support in the area of publicity and the use of the NTA Arena in Abuja.
The venues and dates are as follows;
1. Lagos; Tuesday Nov 29 2016; Symposium, Finals of School Competition and Drama.
2. Maiduguri; Thursday Dec 1 2016; Symposium, Finals of School Competition and Drama.
3. Abuja; Saturday December 3 2016; Children’s Carnival and Stage Play by Secondary School Students at NTA arena.
4. Enugu; Sunday, December 11 2016; Symposium and Night of Tributes/Dinner
We are already in touch with Local and International literary and cultural agencies, publishers, Universities and friends of Literature for support towards this historic event. In addition, we hope to get assistance from government agencies in the the three tires of government. In line with the current economic challenges in the country, we have proposed a very modest budget for our activities. Nevertheless, all forms of support will be appreciated.
On this note, we want to appreciate the Management of Literamed Publications for giving us the use of their Board Room at no cost.
For the purpose of communication, we have opened our website www.efuru50.com while our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Enquiries can be directed to Dr Wale Okediran on telephone number 08035765553.
PROPOSED TIME TABLE
FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT AND INVITATION,
CALL FOR PAPERS, PURCHASE AND DISTRIBUTION OF BOOKS FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS FOR THE LITERARY COMPETITION.
SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
DEADLINE FOR PAPER PRESENTERS
ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS OF READING AND WRITING COMPETITION.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Call for Abstracts: EFURU@50- A Celebration of Flora Nwapa and African Women Literature
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30th September 2016
Conference Dates: 29th November – 11th December 2016
Venues; Abuja, Enugu, Lagos and Maiduguri
The Flora Nwapa Foundation invites abstracts for 15 – 20 minute presentations during the National Conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of EFURU under the theme; EFURU@50; A Celebration of Flora Nwapa and African Women Literature. The conference will be held at Abuja,Enugu, Lagos and Maiduguri between 23th and 30th November 2016.
The conference is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of EFURU the book that heralded the birth of Modern African Women Literature. In so doing, the Conference will also be celebrating the pioneering work of Africa’s first published Women Author as well as the achievements, friendships, partnerships and challenges of African Women Literature this past 50 years. The conference will be a platform for writers, scholars, literary critics and other interested parties to engage, rethink and propose possible new directions for African Women Literature, which has been defined (and undefined) by different agencies at different moments. It will also answer questions about women’s contribution to the African literature, the Diaspora’s influence on African literature, and the extent to which the same has been influenced by the current global trends.
We invite you to submit abstracts, not exceeding 200 words, on any of the sub-themes below:
i. The Dialectics and Symbolism of EFURU
ii. Flora Nwapa and Feminism in EFURU
iii. EFURU and the role of Women in National Discourse
iv. Flora Nwapa and the role of Women in African Culture
v. African Literature and the role of Women Writers
vi. Literature as a revolutionary tool for social justice, the example of EFURU
vii. Literary criticism and contemporary African Literature
viii. Women’s Literature and Inter-textuality
ix. The Interface between Writing and Feminism
x. Reconstructing Women Literature in the 21st Century
xi. Narratives of Flora Nwapa’s Novels
xii. Literary Prizes and African Women’s Writing
xiii. African Literature and Sexuality
xiv. Women, Work, Writing and the marketplace
xv. Vulnerability and Agency in Flora Nwapa’s narratives
Important dates to note:
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30th September 2016. All abstracts should be submitted electronically to: E mail address; email@example.com and copied to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 October 2016
Full paper submission deadline: 30 October 2016
I thank you for listening.
Dr Wale Okediran
Telephone; + 234 8035765553.