Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit Priest, has just joined the list of winners of the Commonwealth Prize for Literature in the Best First Book category of the Africa region. Akpan who started writing fiction ten years ago, was born at Iko Akpan Eda in Akwa Ibom state. He studied Philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities and Theology at the of Eastern Africa. He has taught English and Literature-in-English in Nigerian secondary schools and received an MFA in Creative Writing from the in 2006. Prior to his Commonwealth Prize for Literature feat, he was on the Caine shortlist.
Musa Idris Okpanachi hails from Kogi Sate and a long-serving member of the Department of English, University of Miaduguri. Dr Okpanachi’s poetry collection, The Eaters of the Living published by Kraft Books Limited won the 2008 ANA/Cadbury Prize for Poetry. The judges had commented that “Okpanachi reveals himself as the voice of the downtrodden with the uncanny ability to transform simple words into powerful imagery of bullets pulling down the fortress of oppression erected by the members of the ruling class who are depicted as heartless predators.”
The Guest Writer Sessions have been created by the Abuja Writers’ Forum to improve interaction between writers and literary enthusiasts, and boost better publicity and distribution for writers’ works. It takes place on the last Saturday of the month by 4pm at the Pen and Pages Bookstore, 79 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse 2, Abuja and features side attractions of live music, performance poetry and art exhibition. The Okpanachi-Akpan double-header takes place on March 28, 2009.