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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Migrating bards: writers' burdens and a writers' body in Nigeria at the turn of the century
Author:Diala, IsidoreISNI
Periodical:Tydskrif vir letterkunde
Geographic term:Nigeria
About persons:Gbenga Ajileye
Gloria Ernest Samuel
External link:https://doi.org/10.4314/tvl.v45i2.29834
Abstract:Wole Soyinka's 1986 Nobel Prize for literature was received as a well-deserved international recognition not only of the distinction of Soyinka's sustained output but also as a tribute to Nigerian literature and African literature in general. However, given decades of irresponsible leadership in the country, a sober appraisal of the Nigerian cultural and intellectual front twenty years after the Nobel event reveals a shocking impoverishment of the institutions for the production and evaluation of literature. With a collapsed publishing industry and the continuing migration of Nigeria's most distinguished writers and literary critics to the West, Nigerian literature stands the risk of being subject to the dictates of legitimizing foreign agents of literary production and evaluation with the consequent danger of the perpetuation of Western biases of African literary excellence. This article focuses on the crucial efforts of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA, established in 1981) to transform the sociopolitical environment so critical for the creation and appreciation of literature, to sustain the ideals of good writing in Nigeria and, moreover, by its annual awards of literary prizes, to remain a prominent stakeholder in the appraisal of literary excellence. In particular, it deals with the winners of the 2005 ANA Imo Prose Fiction Prize, Gbenga Ajileyi and Gloria Ernest Samuel, to offer an indication of the quality of third-generation Nigerian fiction. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]