Children from six schools drawn from both the Lagos Island and Mainland had the time of their lives when they were treated to a special reading event featuring Soji Cole, the 2018 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
The event, which took place at the British Council in Ikoyi, Lagos Thursday, gave the children the rare opportunity to ask Cole all the questions they could muster, hear him talk about his writing experience and read from Embers, his winning book. Sola Alamutu, writer and environmental activist, hosted the event that also had a member of the Advisory Board of the prize Professor Ben Elugbe present.
Nothing was off limits as Alamutu led Cole, who is a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, into talking about his writing process, the anxiety leading to his being announced winner, why he had chosen to write drama and a host of other issues.
Cole also took questions from the students who wanted to know everything from handling writers’ block, characterisation, the image on the cover of his book, how to continue writing in the face of resistance from parents and family members, and a lot else. It was the place to be to soak up all the nuggets on the journey to becoming a writer.
A high point of the event was when two students from each school present got to dramatise a section of the play to the delight of all who were there. Then there was the celebration of Professor Elugbe, who just turned 73, with everyone present joining in to sing him a birthday song. That was of course after he had addressed the students, telling them how happy he was to be in their midst and promising to attend more of such gatherings whenever Nigeria LNG Limited organises them in the future.
Emmanuel Ike from the NLNG Ltd., who took the vote of thanks on behalf of all those who came from the company, thanked everyone present and the British Council for the partnership he said the prize has just entered with the UK cultural organization and for the use of the space.
Everyone present got a copy of Cole’s book courtesy of Nigeria LNG Limited, which the writer painstakingly signed particularly young and impressionable students.
Epetedo Senior High School, Girls Senior Academy, Boys Junior Academy, Boys Senior Academy, Whitesands School Lekki all from the Lagos Island as well as Aguda Senior Grammar School from the Mainland, were the schools at the event.
See the exciting pictures from the event below: