The foundation is proud to announce the establishment of an on-line WRITING CENTER.
The center will provide advice and instructional materials for aspiring writers. Focus is on Creative Writing, Technical and Scientific Writing, Professional Writing and Expository Writing.
A Special arm of the center has also emerged. This is known as Young Writers Forum. It is an interactive center for young people who have both talents and skills but have remained undiscovered for some time. Our volunteers and partners as well as our own staff will mentor such young people.
For information on participation and contributions, please mail to:
or directly to:
IFEOMA UGOH TAKES CHARGE OF WRITING CENTER DESK.
Ifeoma Ugoh has assumed administrative headship of our new writing program. She will be readily available to help both members and the public on a variety of issues pertaining to the operations of the center. She is quite enthusiastic to work with young people who want to make a mark in the world of creativity.
Ifeoma Ugoh attended the prestigious Queens' College Yaba Lagos, Nigeria and the University of Lagos Nigeria. She has a B.A, (Hons) in Education and M.A. (English). She had a brilliant career in teaching in Nigeria before she relocated to Houston Texas where she lives now with her family.
PROF. TANURE OJAIDE'S NEW BOOK.
Tanure Ojaide, Professor of African Literature in the Department of Africa-American and African Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte has come up with another creative work entitled Sovereign Body . Below is a selection of some review statements on the book.
Chimdi Maduagwu (ED) 01/11/05
by TANURE OJAIDE
Body relates an educated African
woman’s effort to break free from patriarchal oppression and prejudices. Anna,
bright poet and academic, faces crushing marriage problems when her doctor
husband abandons his practice and waits for a political appointment, which does
not come. As Anna finds home more oppressive, she turns to a professor, a former
lover with whom she had severed relationship upon her marriage. The doctor’s
mental breakdown and Anna’s duty to him make her future uncertain. Set in
Nigeria of the military regime era, Anna’s struggle against patriarchy
parallels and highlights the people’s contention against military dictatorship
find Sovereign Body strong,
passionate, humanly insightful, and of course poetic. To me, Annie and Jo seem
the most compelling characters, and the plot is at its most coercive in putting
the case for the new woman, despite the turmoil that newness brings to a
society. I felt I learned all the time about the micro texture of Nigerian
—Frederick Will, writer and scholar, Mount Vernon, Iowa
other Nigerian novel has confronted the problem of patriarchy and the need for
the emancipation of women head on, or with the commitment and intensity of Sovereign
Body…the empowerment of women is a crucial and neglected theme in most
African novels. A male author has had the sensitivity to create sympathetic
female characters, to make the reader identify with their suffering in a
society, which reduces them to second-class citizens. The plot is complex, the
style simple and flowing, the pace good…the author evokes the sense of
place…and presents characters who appear very real.”
US-Africa Literary Foundation
In late 2002 we saw a large unmet need / opportunity. Numerous African writers were seeking to have their works published. Very few succeeded. By and large traditional publishers in the US and Europe ignore African writers. The number of publishers in Africa is limited. Distribution is through a consortium comprised primarily of university publishers managed through the UK that has a university press partner in the US. With low rates of literacy, domestic markets for African writers in their home countries is limited. But Africa has produced several literary giants including the indefatigable Chinua Achebe, Nobel laureates like Wole Soyinka of Nigeria and several dozen other internationally recognized writers. The potential exists for a literary renaissance in Africa that would have major implications not only for culture but even more for economic development. As an indicator of what may be possible from Literature and Writing, the film industry in Nigeria is blossoming unimaginably. In a few short years from 1996 Nigeria has emerged as a film powerhouse serving the rest of Western Africa. This was achieved without government support. Significant global potential is suggested by the impact of African music and art on the rest of the world – blues, jazz, and rock. Of at least comparable importance to economic development is the role of the writer in the development of the consciousness of the nation. Until writers articulate visions of an Africa that is prosperous and at peace, the present turmoil and grinding poverty are likely to continue. Marginalized, bitter and angry men often envision a violent world. Often the worlds that they create in their writing are turned into fact. If more African writers could be published, especially with some support from the USA, Europe and those who are able to do so from Africa, this could become a force for the positive transformation.
Continued dialogue with African and Diaspora writers during the past few months has led to a vision of a not-for-profit organization intended to stimulate the development of Africa through writing by such writers and their literary works. The new organization has the following objectives amongst others –
- Financial support for publishing
- Editors, illustrators and book design support
- Training for writers, editors, publishers
- Distribution of materials in aid to Africa literary artists
- Establishment of Africa Professional/Workforce data bank
- Comprehensive Interactive electronic magazine
- Literacy drives led by writers whose future depends on the development of readership in their native countries.
- Promotion of democratic processes and citizenship education through writers and their works.
The US-Africa Literary Foundation has attracted the interest of African / Diaspora writers and intellectuals, of Howard Jeter, the former US Ambassador to Nigeria and other senior Embassy staff. An operating organization has been formed in Nigeria and Ghana with interest in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Cameroon, Benin, Togo and South Africa. Several major figures involved with African literature has expressed support for the Foundation including Ali Mazrui (SUNY at Bingahton), Ngugi wa Thiong'o (UC Irvine), Bode Osanyin (University of Lagos), Hope Eghaga (University of Lagos), Chimdi Maduagwu (Department of English, University of Lagos – on leave in the US), Tanure Ojaide University of North Carolina At Charlotte).
- Organization whose budget rises to over $1 million within 5 years with affiliates in most African countries.
- Board including Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Arcbishop Desmund Tutu; Prof. Ali Mazrui, Prof. Chinua Achebe and other living major African / Diaspora writers and Patrons of Art.
- Publishing of 1,000 new African writers within 5 years
- Publishing of a magazine of ideas and literature from Africa
- Major annual international conference
- Writer led literacy campaigns, especially for children, girls and women in Africa where literacy has lagged.
- Establishment of centers (writing and literacy centers) in five zones of Africa.
- Projection of African Professionals in the global labor arena
- Annual writers competition with prizes including participation in the Iowa International Writers’ Program.
to develop the black and African Diaspora through the organization.
The following potentials have been identified:
- International visibility to minor and often neglected developmental needs of Africans and blacks in other parts of the world. This can be achieved through the deep imaginative creativity of writers.
- Stimulating thoughtfulness in children and youth through healthy readership and writing competitions.
- Establishment of literacy development centers in African communities to informally instruct ‘illiterates and semi-literates’ on democratic processes and the rule of law which will help eliminate the hostilities and conflicts predominant in Africa today.
- Promoting the film industry in Africa as a veritable source of economic revenue.
Achievements so far
The state of Indiana has an active interest to attract organizations to locate their headquarters in the state. The US-Africa Writers Foundation may have her headquarters in Indiana.
Other cities have shown interest
- Austin and Dallas, Texas – African American community and Nigerian community have offered to support the organization in principles. The prospects for more local support are high.
- Atlanta – The project has been discussed with Ambassador Andrew Young and other community leaders in Atlanta with evidence of strong interest.
- Washington, DC area. Elvis Hallowell is taking a very strong interest in the Foundation and organizing African / Diaspora writers. Hallowell is an émigré from Sierra Leone and in active writing/publishing. He is contacting authors in Maryland and other nearby states.
obtained so far
- Cover travel costs to the November 29 2003 organizational meeting for Vid Beldavs and Prof. Chimdi Muduagwu. Roundtrip flight to BWI – est. $300 each plus $200 for lod.
- 50 packs of 1st Books Publishing Packets
- Sets of promotional brochures for services – Media Valet, New York Times, Color Books, etc.
- All came from AUTHORHOUSE (former First Books Publishing Co)
Projection of young Black/African writers, with mission and visions, in the Internet.
Establishment of sub-offices/Secretariats in Decatur Georgia and Dallas Texas
Registration of the Foundation in Georgia
All came from members’ voluntary donations
Professor Chimdi Maduagwu named Executive Director
US-ALF Announces International Advisory Board
Writers competitions announced - www.cba.org.uk