THREE writers, Ayobami Odunyemi, Chinelo Chikelu and Okon MaryJane recently completed their residencies at the Ebedi International Writers Residency, Iseyin, Oyo State, where they called on corporate organisations, governments at all levels and even well-to-do individuals to partner with the
During the six-week programme, the residents were unanimous in pleading for support for the residency considering its contributions to the development of the literary sector in the country.
Chikelu, who is an arts journalist with the Leadership newspaper in Abuja, appreciated the founder of the residency, Dr Wale Okediran, for his commitments to the arts sector.
Chikelu, who admits that while it is not easy for an individual to be funding an organisation which benefits the public solely from personal sources, Dr Okediran has been doing this for several years nows/
“As an arts journalist, I know how many writers, both within and outside the country have benefitted from the Ebedi residency, and it is just right for the residency to secure outside funding in order to make it bigger,” Chikelu said.
Odunyemi also echoed Chikelu’s submission, while calling on corporate organisations to support the residency.
She said: “although entertainment is what most of the corporate organisations are focusing on, but the literary sector is also part of entertainment, and this even delves deeper than the entertainment sector, as critical thinking is needed before creative works are produced.
“We do not have many residencies in the country, but the few that we have should be supported to grow and stabilise. It should be able to survive without the funding of the founder,” Odunyemi said.
Speaking on the other aspects of the residency, Okon said it was unfortunate that they were in Iseyin at a time when the students were on holidays.
She said: “Part of our assignment at Iseyin is for residents to mentor secondary school students in their areas of specialisation, and I was looking forward to teach them poetry and different types of songs, but unfortunately, the students were on holidays.
“However, a few of them still came around to meet the residents, but it wasn’t as I would have wanted,” Okon said.
On the residency, Okon also commended Dr Okediran for his support to literature, saying not many people would give their personal resources to a cause in which they believe in.
While also speaking, the administrative manager of the residency, Mr Joshua Macdell Kofi Sackey, said the management would continue to work towards making the residency bigger.
He said: “The truth is that the Ebedi International Writers Residency caters to both Nigerian and African writers, and as such, we are continually working towards making the residency bigger and better.
“We already have a site where we are building a new residency, but we need more outside funding if we are to achieve this.
“As you know, Dr Okediran is solely responsible for financing the residency, as well as providing the stipends for the residents. We also welcome about four sets of writers every year, so that shows that the founder is spending a lot of money for the development of literature. We, however, know that our track record will continue to speak for us,” Mr Sackey said.