Why the masterminds chose September 13th, 2019 as the D-Day is not very clear. What is, however, clear is how they got big names in Nigeria’s literary firmament to be on hand for the book presentation at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, the author of the mammoth Drama and Theatre in Nigeria and former Managing Director of Daily Times of Nigeria, (DTN) when it was still Daily Times was there. So also was Dr. Wale Okediran, a former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, (ANA); Mr. Odia Ofeimun, the author of The Poet Lied; Sam Omatseye, Chairman, Editorial Board of The Nation. This is not to talk of the home team led by Prof Yomi Daramola, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts in the university and the Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede who was there physically as the grand host to the pleasant invaders of his domain. It was a day for Literature.
They were all there to be part of a literary communion in honour of a senior member of the imaginative enterprise who had paid his dues and is departing academia, at least formally. As part of the rites of passage, some of his former students thought a book in his honour would be worth it. So, they got in touch with all those in the literary and even non-literary fraternity as well as those who were not his students but who are working on narratives as instrument of hegemony over Africa. The outcome is the book, The Idea of African Fiction.
Edited by Dr Chijioke Uwasomba, a former student and, later, colleague of the departing Professor in the Department of English, OAU, Ile-Ife, the essays in honour of Anyadike is a massive text of 16 chapters. Each of the chapters speaks to a key issue of the moment, making the book to end up as an exercise on the state of the world as seen from the lenses of Literature. This should be evident from the content on display and the diversity of genres and issues brought under one text as to make the book the real collector’s item.
“The Note on Contributors” made available to Intervention shows the following details in thematic and author diversity, in alphabetical order: Adekoya Olusegun (Ph.D), a Professor of Literature in English of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Ademola Adesola, a Ph.D candidate, Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media, University of Manitoba in Canada with research interests in the areas of child-soldier literature, postcolonial studies, war literature and popular culture; Alumona Victor S. (Ph.D), a Reader in the Department of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Ani Uchenna B. (Ph.D) a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Anyaduba Chigbo Arthur (Ph.D), Assistant Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg, Canada and whose work focuses broadly on contemporary African literatures while his current research examines representations of mass atrocities and genocides in Africa. He is currently at work on two book projects: a book monograph entitled Writing Postcolonial African Genocides and a collaborative book project entitled The African Novel and the Reconstruction of Usable Pasts.
Others are Anyokwu Christopher (Ph.D), Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria; Bestman Ajoke Mimiko (Ph.D), a Reader in the Department of Foreign Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Arua Ifeanyi (Ph.D), a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Coker Oluwole (Ph.D), a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Eye Steve (Ph.D), a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Redeemers’ University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria; Fawaole Alade (Ph.D), a Professor of International Relations in the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Lastly are Kamalu Ikenna (Ph.D), a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria; Nwachukwu– Agbada, J. O. J, a Professor of English, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State, Nigeria; Omigbule Morufu B. (Ph.D) who teaches in the Department of English, Obafemi, Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Mr. Onoja Adagbo, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Veritas University, Abuja, Nigeria working on narratives and power in global politics; Ugwuanyi Dele Marxwell, a lecturer in the General Studies Unit of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Nigeria and the book editor, Uwasomba Chijioke (Ph.D), a Reader in the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
The Idea of African Fiction sends not only a message of hybridity that transcends territory, region, class, gender and discipline but also sends an arrow right into the heart of rigidity as it breaks down all the barriers of strict specialization. Welcome to this hotbed of a perfectly digestible brew of ideas!