Reading With Uwem Akpan

The 70 seater-Akuma Hall in Le Meridian, Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt was crowded  as over 100 people turned up to attend the Rainbow Book Club February reading with Uwem Akpan, Jesuit priest and author of Say You Are One of Them, the collection of 5 short stories that has brought the author to international prominence.

The enthusiastic audience had loads of questions for the writer: Why did he choose to narrate some of the continent’s most disturbing challenges through the eyes of children? Is there a conflict between his vocation as a priest and his career as a writer? Would he consider reporting other challenges such as child-bride in Northern Nigeria and child witches in his home state (Akwa Ibom)? Could he write stories on happy childhood in Africa next?{gallery width=160 height=100}Reading_Authors/Uwem{/gallery}

The author said he was particularly thrilled to kick off his national reading tour in the Niger Delta, from where he hails. Akpan engaged his audience through his warm, motivational style. He used the opportunity to point out some misnomers in the society such as the prosperity gospel to the detriment of core values like integrity, love, forgiveness. He also challenged the leaders in the audience to make a change in society from their positions of influence.

The vibrant 90 minute reading was moderated by Koko Kalango, founder of the Rainbow Book Club. Uwem Akpan has been listed amongst the 50 greatest writers in Writer’s and poets an influential literary publication in the US. His book was chosen by Oprah’s book club last year. When asked how the Oprah connection has changed his life, Akpan said he is still trying to come to terms with it.

The Rainbow Book Club March comes up Saturday March 27th at the same venue. Guest author is Betty Irabor, author of Morning Dew and publisher of Genevieve Magazine.

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