Some of the finest literary minds in Nigeria graced the public presentation of ‘Dispossessed‘, James Eze’s brilliant collection of poems, in Awka, capital of Anambra, on December 14, 2019.
The event, which took place at Oma Events Centre, Awka, had in attendance several dignitaries including Eze title holders, collared clerics, high ranking politicians and civil servants as well as Nollywood notables.
Eze, spokesman to Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra, who is also onetime journalist and banker, structured the book, which is his debut collection intro three segments namely ‘innocence,’ ‘transgression,’ and ‘atonement’ respectively.
Since its release in October 2019, ‘Dispossessed’ has enjoyed a remarkable run drawing commendations and snagging positive reviews from literary icons across the country.
“It is a brilliant book,” said Amu Nnadi, one of the last three men standing in the Nigeria Prize for Literature, an NLNG sponsored poetry award in 2013.
“I have had the good honour of going through it,” he said, adding that he has “posted a few excerpts not just to promote it but to affirm that it is a brilliant book.”
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, also a poet, described Eze’s Dispossessed as capable of holding its own among world class collections.
“It qualifies among the best poems across the globe. We are expecting more from him because he is a gifted and natural poet,” he said.
Also speaking, Nduka Otiono, a Canada-based Nigerian professor and writer, said he took interest in the project since the author contacted him.
“James contacted me very early on when he started talking about the book and I have been mentoring him,” he said.
“When I read the manuscript, I was struck by the intensity of the poems, I was initiated into the rite of passage that the book is a great accomplishment.
“Part of the strength of the book lies in its capacity to reinvent, renew and remind us about the Biafran genocide, all of which constitutes an atmosphere, constitutes the whole thematic range that the book deals with.”
In the same vein, Reuben Abati, celebrated columnist and former chairman of The Guardian editorial board, commended the idea behind the event, noting it brought together literary community in the country.
The former spokesman to Goodluck Jonathan, also called on Obiano to ensure his government’s continued support to the development of literature in the state.
“James Eze has used this opportunity to invite many members of the literary community in Nigeria to Awka. Many of us are excited to see each other because some of us have not seen each other for quite a while. It is a great moment for many of us. I have seen persons who are in this country that I have not seen. We all grew up together within the literary community,” he said.
Obiano, who was represented by Willie Nwokoye, a principal officer in the state, said the public presentation of the book was indicative of his government’s continued support for intellectual and literary development in the state.
“It is not just only about commissioning the bridge, commissioning the roads or all kinds of brick and mortar,” he said.
“This government has created an environment for the thriving of creativity, products of the mind and of the intellect. In years past, it’s never been heard that there is a literary evening, a book reading or book launch or presentation of some kind of drama which, if you put them together, you will call them the subtle infrastructure being developed.”
Speaking at the event, Eze said the idea behind the book “is the desire for expression. Every individual in this world has a story to tell…some write novels, some are what you might call minstrels and griots who have no time to write but they tell their stories nonetheless.”
He went on to commend the state governor and others who attended the event, while stating his drive to contribute meaningfully to the leadership landscape of the country.
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