A team from the Port Harcourt World Book Capital represented the city, where they exhibited at the 2013 London Book Fair in April. The London Book Fair is one of the largest and best known trade fairs in the world and a significant venue for networking and conducting business between publishers, writers, booksellers and others in the book chain industry.
The team’s presence drew attention to the phenomenal achievement of Port Harcourt, being the first sub-Saharan African city to win the WBC nomination. It was a great story to tell about Nigeria on the world stage. The PH WBC ambassadors generated media awareness through radio interviews, with Mrs. Koko Kalango on the BBC World Service’s Focus on Africa program and Mrs. Effie White on Colourful Radio’s arts and culture segment. Both ladies spoke about the significance of the WBC project to Port Harcourt, Nigeria and the African continent, while also outlining the initiatives planned for 2014. Also in discussion was the role of reading in development, referring to Nigeria’s role as a leading light of African literature thanks to world-renowned writers such as Professor Achebe, Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clarke and Chimamanda Adichie. Special tribute was paid to the late Professor Achebe whose legacy lives on both in his body of work and in the institutions he founded (e.g. the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA)).
According to the UNESCO World Book Capital Selection Committee, “Port Harcourt was nominated World Book Capital City 2014 on account of the quality of its programme, in particular its focus on youth and the impact it would have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates”.