‘Ebedi’s contribution to literature in Nigeria is immense’

JUST like other past Ebedi International Writers’ residents, Ayobami Adebayo and Temitope Shadiat Jimoh’s six weeks stay in Iseyin, Oyo State was interesting, as they used the opportunity to focus on their writings. It was also a great opportunity for the students who are being mentored by the residents to learn something new. While Ayobami taught them Yoruba proverbs and meanings, Temitope put her creative skill to work by teaching them how to make beads and other female accessories.

On how they got to know about the residency, Ayobami said a friend of hers was also a resident last year, and she told her how to go about applying. However, for Temitope, being a member of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), under the leadership of Mr Wole Adedoyin, made it possible for her to know about the residency.

“The SYNW is also a literary organisation, so we come about opportunities often, and I felt coming for the Ebedi residency will help me in my literary career.

‘’Since I came, I have been able to teach the students how to make jewelleries with beads; they have also learnt how to write words with beads.

“I was also able to teach the students how to dance, as well as how to sing in Yewa language; this is apart from the fact that I was able to complete my short stories,” Temitope said.

For Ayobami, whose first novel, Stay With Me, will soon be published in Kenya, United Kingdom and the United States, the residency was a great opportunity to start work on another novel.

“Apart from the novel I worked on, I also had a great time with the students, and despite the fact that they were on strike while our residency lasted, they still showed commitment by coming for the lectures.

“I really enjoyed my stay at Ebedi; the environment was so conducive, and all I can say is that my stay was productive.

“The residency was a great opportunity for me to focus on my writings in a serene environment different from what I was used to,” Ayobami, who will soon be starting her doctoral degree, said.

Both residents were, however, full of gratitude and commendation for the founder of the residency, Dr Wale Okediran, for the good work he is doing for literature in the country.

“It’s been long I heard about Ebedi, and those who had attended had spoken glowingly about the place, and I can say that I was not disappointed when I also came for my residency,” Temitope said.

For Ayobami, the fact that a single individual can be doing this for literature in the country should be commended.

“I hope that more corporate organisations can partner with the founder of Ebedi to take literature to greater heights in the country,” Ayobami said.

In his brief remarks, the administrative officer of the residency, Mr Joshua Koffi Sackey, revealed that two more sets of residents will be attending Ebedi before the end of the year.

“We are continuing with our vision of providing writers with the environment needed to work on their books, while also contributing to the intellectual development of Iseyin school children.

“We have discovered that their relationships with the students have been productive over the years, and as a result, we have noticed that these writers have been able to influence a couple of the students towards deciding on wanting to become writers in the nearest future.

“One thing about writing is that one can come from any background entirely, just like the founder of the residency, Dr Okediran, who is, first and foremost, a medical doctor,” Mr Sackey said.