The Ebedi International Writers Residency, Iseyin, has received three male Nigerian writers for her June batch residency program.
The three writers, Izunna Okafor, Isaiah Adepoju, and Hassan Muhammad, arrived the Residency, in Iseyin, Oyo State this June for a month-long residency stay, replacing the immediate-past fellows, who were all female.
Hosting the new writers to a reception party, alongside other stakeholders from the Iseyin community; the founder and patron of Ebedi International Writers Residency Hon. Dr. Wale Okediran explained that the Residency affords writers comfortable and calm environment to focus on their writing without distraction and also at no cost on the writers.
Hon. Okediran, a former House of Reps member and current Secretary-General of Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), said while concentrating on their individual works the writers are expected to also interact with selected students of some secondary schools in Iseyin town for about four hours weekly, during which they can teach the students any form of creative arts or writing, as they so desire.
He also revealed that since its inception 12 years ago, the Ebedi Writers Residency has hosted over three hundred writers from different countries of the world.
Below are short biographies of the three new writers for the May 30 — June 30 2022 residency program:
Izunna Okafor is a Nigerian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, and Igbo language activist who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. He writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages, including some books — Ikem’s Adventure, The Curse of a Widow, The Faithful Children, Ajọ Enyi, among others.
A Public Adminstration graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Okafor’s works have appeared in some print magazines, anthologies, journals, etc, both nationally and internationally; while he also has thousands of online published articles/essays, poems and short stories to his credit. He has also edited and co-edited over 25 books and anthologies (published nationally and internationally), as well as served as judge in some national and international literary contests.
Okafor has won and been nominated for some national and international awards which include: Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016; Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature, 2015; Nigeria Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016; Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016; N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition, 2012; SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016; First Prize Winner, NAPAS Essay Competition, 2016; The Future Award Africa, 2016; Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016; Award of Academic Excellence from National Association of Public Administration Students, 2016; Inspire Award/Outstanding Youth in Academics, 2017.
Others include: NAPAS Academic Icon of the Year, 2017; Anambra Campus Award/Campus Writer of the Year, 2017; Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year, 2017; Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year, 2016; Young Author Award, 2018; Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year, 2018; Campus Best Writer of the Year, 2018; Campus Best Journalist of the Year, 2018; Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019; National Light Newspaper Jounalist of the Year, 2019; Anambra Media Excellence Award/News Reporter of the Year, 2019; Anambra Through a Lens/Recognition Award, 2020; Amazon Publishing Masterclass Award/Most Resilient Male Student, 2021; Anambra Media Excellence Award/Best News Reporter of the Year, 2021; ACORA/Awka Diocese/Media Personality of the Week (November), 2021; among others.
He is a Fellow of the SprinNG Literary Movement/SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020, and alumnus of some creative writing workshops, including the Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others
In April, 2020, Okafor was appointed the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement. He also headed the editorial team of the first international anthology of poems and essays ever published on COVID-19 — Ripostes of Locked Down Voices. He also edited ‘The Malady and the Remedy’, an international essay anthology on human rights abuse in Africa.
A literary organizer, Okafor is the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigeria Writers (Anambra State Chapter), National Secretary of Society of Young Nigeria Writers, as well as the organizer of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival (an annual international literary festival held in honour of Nigerian literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.
Okafor said during his stay at the Ebedi Residency, he would be working on an Igbo novel and three others books, and would also be teaching the Ebedi students Igbo language, creative writing, poetry and others.
Isaiah Adepoju, who hails from Osun State, studies Literature in English at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He writes for Literature Voices Journal, Nigeria; reads for Adroit Journal, UK, and reads for the James Currey Prize for Literature, UK.
He has works in Aster Lit mag, Sterling Notes, Poetica Review, Institute of African Studies Journal Nsukka, and elsewhere. He’s the recipient of the 2022 HIASFEST Star Prize, the 2021 Chima Ugokwe Prize for Essay, the 2021 Pengician Chapbook Prize for Poetry; and longlisted for the 2020 Africa Writers Award.
Isaiah said he’ll be working on a fiction, and teaching the students poetry during his 4-week stay.
Hassan Muhammad is a children’s author, short story writer, and poet. He has a degree in Estate Management from the Federal University of Technology, Minna where he co-founded the Arts Club. He was a two-term Secretary and Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Niger State chapter. An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), he’s the recipient of multiple scholarships including Highlights Foundation, Authors Publish, SCBWI and GrubStreet. His children’s books are Biribiri Saves Us (2008) and The Empty Cage (2015) which was shortlisted for the ANA/Lantern Prize.
His works have appeared in ANA Review, Kalahari Review, Authors Publish Magazine, The Writers and Readers’ Magazine, Weekly Trust Newspaper, New Nigerian Newspaper, and the anthologies: Pyramids, Fireflies, Shadows and Dance Steps at Dawn. Other credits include NYSC Merit Award, Northern Nigeria Writers’ Summit Merit Award, Corpers’ Welfare Association Billiri Merit Award, and shortlist for the ANA/Funtime Prize.
He is an alumnus of British Council’s Writing Workshop, ANA/Atiku Abubakar National Workshop on Children’s Literature, The Writing Barn’s Poetry Class, among others. He enjoys reading picture books, chess, comedy, and combat sports for inspiration and leisure. He writes as NmaHassan Muhammad and resides in Minna.
He will be completing the revision of three children’s manuscripts which were workshopped recently during the GrubStreet’s Picture Book Revision course with Holly Thompson. He dedicates these stories and the residency to the memory of his son Abdullateef Hamood who died in a tragic fire accident on November 3, 2021.
To give back to the host community, he will be facilitating workshops on the craft and business of writing children’s books for the students in Iseyin community. In addition, he would love to form a chess club for the students in the community.