Two Lagos-based journalists and fiction writers – Anote Ajeluorou of The Guardian and Henry Akubuiro of The Sun – will be lead discussants in a creative writing masterclass to be held at the Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, on Friday, September 20, 2019. The department is keen to give an early start to its students on the rudiments of creative writing and critical engagement.
The choice of the two journalists and writers (sometimes referred to as ‘journartists’) comes on the heels of their respective performances in the creative arena with the publication of their works that continue to receive popular acclaim. Akubuiro has published two children’s books, Adventures of Bingo and Bomboi and Little Wizard of Okokomaiko, including a novel, Prodigals in Paradise. Akubuiro is Arts Editor at The Sun newspaper.
Ajeluorou, on the other hand, who is the author of Igho Goes to Farm, longlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, was former Arts Editor of The Guardian, but currently heads the politics desk.
According to the coordinator of the workshop, poet, and professor of English and Literature at the department, Tony Afejuku, “The idea is to get the two writers to interface with our students in a conversation on the process of writing. It will be interactive and students will ask questions about their works. We believe our students will greatly benefit from the experience of talking to two practising journalists and writers. So, it is a meeting of current practitioners of the craft of writing and students studying that craft.”
Akubuiro, who studied English and Literature at Imo State University, Owerri, said, “The event enkindles a nostalgic feeling for me, because two of my published works, especially the novel, Prodigals in Paradise, was begun during my one-year mandatory national youth service at the Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, Benin City. I will also be talking about new trends in creative writing to the students of the English Department.”
Ajeluorou is also excited at the masterclass idea, as it signals his return to his old department where he studied many years ago.
According to him, “This is quite exciting and I look forward to it with eagerness. Having studied at the department and headed the department’s Creative Writing Workshop back in the 1990s as a student, which had aspiring student writers from other departments, it is a privilege to go back to the department again to share my creative and journalistic writing experiences with the current crop of trainee writers and critics of my beloved department. The idea alone already invokes nostalgic feelings in me and I hope the students are ready!”