The Rainbow Book Club (RBC) kicked off a national reading campaign in Port Harcourt with award- winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The US-based writer was in the country for the event which took place on May 27th.
Over 200 students from various secondary schools participated in the maiden ‘Get Nigeria Reading again!’ campaign. The students had taken part earlier in a writing competition at the British Council, based on Adichie’s book Purple Hibiscus. The entries were assessed by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and the winners rewarded with cash gifts of N30,000, N20,000 and N10,000 for First, Second and Third places, respectively. The winners were: 16-year old Master Adedotun Ajibade of Nigerian Navy Secondary School, 14-year old Master Victor Amango of Emarid College and 14-year old Miss Nneka Jayne Moh of International Secondary School (R.S.U.S.T). Adichie was at the British Council and later at the Alliance Francaise centres where she met and interacted with different sets of students.
A literary evening was held later that day at the Hotel Presidential. There, Adichie read from her book, the Alliance Francaise Director read from a French version of the same book, while a Shell Book Club member read from the Dutch version. Other distinguished writers present were the poet Gabriel Okara, novelist Elechi Amadi, historian E. J. Allagoa and journalist Ibim Semenitari. In her closing remarks, the RBC founder Koko Kalango made reference to the saying that ‘if one wants to hide information from the black man, they should put it in a book’, by announcing that ” by the time we are through with our reading campaign, people will have to look for somewhere else to hide information from the Nigerian”.
Adichie was at the Rainbow Book Shop the following day where she signed autographs. Partnering with the Rainbow Book Club to mark this occasion were the British Council, the Alliance Francaise, British Airways, Le Meridian Ogeyi Place and the Association of Nigerian Authors. May 27th, which is celebrated as Children’s day in Nigeria, was an ideal occasion to flag off the reading campaign which is aimed primarily at children.