Writings of the general word's body

Monday, July 14, 2008

Umez, AWF & the BSU

Uche Peter Umez, the first guest writer to grace the Abuja Writer’ Forum’s newly instituted monthly readings, has won this year’s BSU Creative Writing Competition, judged by Caine Winner Segun Afolabi. Umez won for his short story, ‘The Outsider’. He wins a cash prize of £200 and a £2000 scholarship to study Creative Writing at Bath Spa University (BSU). Runner-up was Ovo Adagha who wins £75 for his short story, ‘Homeless’.

Uche Peter Umez and Ovo Adagha are both writers with whom this blogger has worked collaboratively before. More recently in Adagha’s case, and we continue to work together on the ambitious ‘One World Anthology’ which he initiated, bringing together a diverse group of writers across continents for the project; and the good news is we have now been snapped up by wonderful publishers in the UK, with a Nigerian publisher in the works.

Owerri-based Uche Peter Umez came to the monthly reading while the Abuja Writers' Forum (AWF) was still under a month old. What a way to start. The blogger was not there, but you can take her word for it. There was music (courtesy of singer/songwriter Bem Sar), a visual arts segment (thanks to artist Muyiwa Akinwolere), and performance poetry by Dekmankind. All this was on 21st June and the event took place in a mini-hall at Pen & Pages Bookshop in Abuja.

Introducing the guest writer, founder of the AWF, Emman Usman Shehu, said the AWF’s Guest Writer sessions would aid better interaction between writers and literary enthusiasts, and would help provide better publicity and distribution for literary works. In short: getting writers and their readers together, and getting the books into the said readers’ hands, in a place like Nigeria where much effort is needed still to reenergise the flagging reading culture.

Umez, a finalist in the 2007 NLNG Prize for Literature, is the author of a collection of poems, ‘Dark Through The Delta’ and a collection of short stories, ‘Tears in Her Eyes’. He began his reading with the short story, ‘Smouldered’ for which he was Highly Commended in the 2006 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Other stories from ‘Tears in Her Eyes’ followed.

Other Monthly Readings showcasing up-and-coming writers will follow from the AWF, which also holds weekly reading & critique sessions. The group is also organising literary contests and is due to launch a literary journal, Cavalcade, soon.

  • Images courtesy of the AWF.

3 comments:

Standtall said...

Waoh I so much what to be a writer now. The cash prize is some incentives really. Thanks for sharing this

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Congrats to Umez. He is a hard-working writer with a clear vision for Africa literature.

Ovo said...

Thanks MW. I just saw this, more than a month after. Your efforts are much appreciated.