A representative from the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 team, Mrs. Koko Kalango, enlightened an audience of African Americans and Africans in the diaspora about the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 project during the Quintessence Award banquet by the African Writers Endowment Inc. which took place in New Jersey on Saturday, September 28, 2013. There, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Nigeria was awarded the 2013 Quintessence Award for exemplary leadership, most notably for the fact that Port Harcourt’s nomination occurred under his administration. Kalango was present to draw attention to both the feat of Port Harcourt’s selection by UNESCO as the first World Book Capital City in sub-Saharan Africa as well as to the programmes set to occur during the one year tenure. The Rainbow Book Club, founded by Kalango in 2005, with the support of the Rivers State government, submitted the successful bid which led to the emergence of the city as World Book Capital 2014.
Various programmes have been planned for the year, with the youth as the primary target. The focus of the programmes is on sowing the seeds of education and literacy in their young minds with the aim of ultimately creating a more enlightened, peaceful and prosperous society.
The African Writers Endowment, Inc. (AWE) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting writers whose works have African themes. The award, well known as the ‘Q Award’, was established in 1998. It is currently regarded as the pre-eminent Pan-African Leadership Award in North America and the award brings together African people from Africa, North America and the Caribbean.
Past recipients of the Q Award include the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ambassador Joe Keshi, Lisa Jackson (President Obama’s former EPA Director) and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari of the UN.