Lagos literary event urges reading culture among young Nigerians

Some participants on stage. [Photo credit: Ibraheem Alawode]
Some participants on stage. [Photo credit: Ibraheem Alawode]

A reading culture will help Nigerians understand their society better and enhance its development, participants at a literary event in Lagos said on Saturday.

They spoke at the second edition of a literary appreciation event organised by The Book Club, Lagos at the J. F. Ade- Ajayi Auditorium of the University of Lagos.

Tagged “Living Through The Leaves 2018”, the outlined programme for the event included a stage presentation of Wole Oguntokun’s “Anatomy of a Woman” by members of the club.

There were also stage performances by students of the Creative Arts department of the University of Lagos and A & T School, Agege.

Some of the themes of the performances touched on issues including the the inability of the Nigerian voters to hold government accountable, the dynamics of a typical Nigerian home and the pressure on women to conform to society’s ‘standard.’

One of the plays, “Echoes of Voiceless”, performed by A & T School students, is based on a book listed in the curriculum of Lagos State Junior Secondary School for the 2018/2019 sessions.

The performance shed light on government’s negligence as well as the ‘silence of the elders’. Both themes, the organisers said, challenge the Nigerian youth to take charge in the present dispensation.

The second book enacted on stage was “The Sisters” written by Ahmed Yerima and performed by the Creative Arts Students of University of Lagos. It tells the story of four sisters faced with secrets, rage and confrontation; revealing relationships in most homes.

Wale Oguntokun wrote the third literary piece performed by members of The Book Club, Lagos titled “Anatomy of Woman.” It dissects the life of a woman from being single, handling the pressure of marriage and family to meeting her goals after marriage.

The President of The Book Club, Lagos, Omoniyi Animasaun, told PREMIUM TIMES the essence of the event and the club was to get people reading as it promotes critical thinking, creativity and an open mind.

“We believe when people read it will affect our society positively and promote our society. In the next few years we hope to get one million students actively reading and not just for examinations,” he said.

“This year, we invited a lot of schools but many could not make it because our event coincided with their final examinations. But next year, we will factor this when choosing the dates,” said Mr Animasun while explaining why A&T School was the only school present at the event this year.

Bola Gidado, a member of the Book Club, Lagos who also served as a narrator during the stage play, said the essence of the play is to awaken the consciousness to read.

“We noticed the reading culture has declined worldwide so going on stage helps us to inspire people to pick up books to read,” she said.

“The sole idea behind having a Book Club is to read. The Book club is a community of book lovers regardless of our professions and different interests; reading helps us remain more imaginative, creative and productive in our businesses.

“We plan to open a junior chapter of the book club which will cater for young people, I would like to encourage people to read more, especially young people,” Ms Gidado concluded.

PREMIUM TIMES also spoke with some guests at the event who all had nice things to say about the event.

“The event was really impactful, I really learnt a lot even though I’m an avid reader. But I would rather have them introduce more into primary and secondary schools so that we can build readers from this age. But this will largely depend on interest. They should target schools and build from the roots,” said Olusola Fagbola, a sustainable development practitioner.

Idris Stella, headmistress of the participating school, said, “ I believe that they will go back home and desire to engage in active reading. This will also help them translate their dreams and desires into reality.”

The Book Club, Lagos is a community of readers and book lovers who commit to reading a book every month and meet at the end of each month to discuss and share their thoughts on the book of the month.

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