Nigeria: Our Guest Country Of The Year An Overview
We are delighted to have, at the 8th Hargeysa International Book Fair, Nigeria as this year’s guest country, being represented by such luminous scholars, artist, and leading literary figures whose renown extend far beyond their home country such as Professor Niyi Osundare, Dr. Okey Ndibe, Mr. Chuma Nwokolo and more.
Related to Nigeria, but more international literary work is Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. Bringing together leading scholars, Professor Niyi Osundare (New Orleans University, USA), Dr Mpalive- Hangson Msiska (Birkbeck, University of London) and Chuma Nkolowo (poet and writer and editor of African Writing Magazine), the panel will highlight the literary, historical and political significance of Things Fall Apart (1958), a novel by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. It is considered to have inaugurated the African novel in English as a cultural practice and legitimate object of study in schools and universities worldwide. Among others, the Panel will seek to respond to the following questions: what were the literary, political and historical contexts that motivated Achebe to write the novel? Why it capture the imagination of readers in Africa and abroad? Why is it one of the most frequently read and studied African and World-literary texts today? How has its critical reception changed over the years? What has the novel done for Nigeria and Africa?
NIGERIA, or the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it is officially called, is situated at the North West of Africa. This well-known African country, the guest of the Hargeysa International Book Fair for the current year 2015, is prodigious in several dimensions. In 2014, it marked a hundred years of the amalgamation of North and South to form a united Nigeria.
Encompassing a geographical area of 923,768 sq km, with a multi-ethnic population of 170 million making it the most populous country in the African continent and the 17th in the world, Nigeria occupies a wide and diverse terrain of land. It is blessed with expanse of savannah fit for livestock grazing, huge arable lands for cultivation, a long sea coast for fisheries and an abundant mineral wealth lying underground including oil of which it is one of the World’s main producers.
Besides these heart warming natural endowments, there is another highly important factor for the lives and well being of the Nigerian people. That is the tolerance, the intrepid co-existentialist aptitude the people so remarkably display in the face of all adversities, which they rightly perceive as an imperative condition for the development of their country.
Nigeria is fittingly the country of focus for this year’s festival. With over five hundred languages and ethnic nations, the country is home not just to one in four Africans, but one in four of African ethnic nations. With a world famous cultural history stretching from the fifth century BC, through the Nok, Ife, Oyo, Benin, Bornu and Igbo Ukwu among others, the country is also home to a contemporaneous foment of creativity, demonstrated in her vibrant arts, music, film and literature which is recognized not just in Africa but around the world.
That does not mean, in any way, that the country is entirely free from unhappy rifts and internal strife happening within or surrounding its bounds for the world is well aware of the terrorist activities that have recently plagued both the lives of a great number of people as well as the country’s reputation. But these can best be understood as no more than ephemeral incidents which once seriously and collectively tackled are bound to vanish as they initially sprang. So that this great African nation can continue to shoulder its immense responsibilities both in Africa and the world in accordance with its unique position and status, utilizing the country’s political, cultural, religious and social spaces to accommodate the aspirations of her teeming population into the new post-amalgamation century.
Check out panel on “Nigeria”, panel on “Things Fall Apart”, meeting the authors sessions for Osundare, Ndibe e Nkolowo.