How my son’s writings inspired N’badan L’awa book project —Adejumo-Bello

KAYODE Adejumo-Bello is the convener of the Ibadan Young Writers Summit and proprietor of the International Young Writers Academy in Ibadan. Through the literary organisation, Adejumo-Bello mentors young minds to discover the literary creativity in them.

For the past three years, the International Young Writers Academy has been mentoring students in different areas of literature and as a result of this, several talented minds have been discovered.

It is the discovery of these young minds that resulted in the publication of In and Around Ibadan: N’Badan L’awa: A colourful anthology of fiction, poetry, prose, articles and reminiscence gracefully presented by 30 young writers selected from 30 public and private schools in Ibadan.

Speaking with Arts and Review, Adejumo-Bello went down memory lane on how the idea of mentoring the students began.

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He said his son had been keeping a diary for a long time. “In fact, he had been documenting those things he felt his mother had done wrong against him, so when his mother saw the diary, she was angry, but I had to pacify her to see the creativity in the boy’s action.

“It was in 2016 and it was a few months to his birthday, so I encouraged him that if he could come up with a story, I would publish it for him to celebrate his birthday.

“You won’t believe that he wrote two short stories which I published and presented during his birthday. His teachers were encouraged by this feat and they told me to help them mentor some other students.

“I was told to mentor about 120 students and in the course of the mentoring, I was able to discover 30 of them who are exceptional.

“It was then decided that they come up with writings on any area of literary interest to them, like prose, poetry, drama, article, which focus on Ibadan. The idea is to celebrate the literary vastness of Ibadan, and that is how we came up with the book, which we will be presenting to the public in October at the University of Ibadan.

“Apart from that, I have been holding an annual young writers summit since 2017, and we just had this year’s event. We have been using the summit to boost the interest of young people in literature and I know that in the nearest future, we will have award-winning writers who passed through the system,” Adejumo-Bello said.

On the fact that the majority of the younger generation no longer value reading Adejumo-Bello said, “we will continue to do our best towards letting people know the benefit of reading.

“This is what we are doing, and I know that everybody, in one way or the other supports literature, then we will have a generation that loves reading.

“I can remember that former President Goodluck Jonathan did something like that with the Bring Back the Book project; we should, however, not wait on the government alone before we do something to promote the reading culture, as reading broadens the mind.”

On how he has been single-handedly funding the Ibadan Young Writers Summit for the past three years, Adejumo-Bello admitted that it has not been easy.

“However, the passion behind the project is what has kept us going; I derive joy seeing these young ones discovering their talents through the writing summit. It is my contribution to the development of the society,” he said.

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