(Released at the 2016 ANA Convention)
For the third time, it is my honour and delight to present the ANA Review, a journal of the Association of Nigerian Authors, to the world. There is little more that can be said than what I have said on the previous two occasions.
It has been a great year for Nigerian writing with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Elnathan John capturing the imagination of the country, the continent and the world, amidst an exciting new crop of writers. The daring and the challenging of limitations, in a bid to pinch deeper into the skin of the times we live in, is admirable and commendable.
Local publishing houses, such as Parrésia and Cassava Republic, have continued to do a great job being the stables for new writing. The increase in the number of online magazines like Expound Magazine and Praxis Magazine Online has further democratised the publishing space, this has largely been a positive influence.
The 2016 ANA Review is smaller than the previous ones in terms of volume of work. Six short stories make the cut this year and the common thread between them is brevity and thematic resonance.
When Maryam Aliko Mohammed takes on an existential nightmare that weaves beneath the eaves of patriarchy and the burden of the protagonist’s bodily involvement in her predicament, she echoes The Arabian Nights. Yet this story is as modern as air-conditioning or a SIM card, as contemporary as the view outside the window.
Same must be said of Dami Lare’s Zubayat where we are not sure who is real, who is not, in a fragile dream-like space within which a powerful tale of abuse is told. Yet, the children in that story are also outside our car windows, we pass by them each day. Winifred Binogun’s stories are short-short stories meant to amuse while Sófolúwè Mobólájí Kéhìndé’s The Stranger is ambitious and intriguing.
Twenty six poets are gathered here as well, and there are five essays on subjects ranging from Helon Habila to Pever X.
2016 is the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Nigerian Authors and it is fitting that we remember the speech, Why An Association? by our late founder, Professor Chinua Achebe, which saw the formation of ANA at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1981. That foundational essay is reproduced here as a reminder of how seminal and lucid Achebe’s thinking was. The Association still being here, one stormy decade after another, is a testament to our founder’s vision and our scorecard as heir of same.
Finally, in the tradition of the ANA Review for the years I have edited it, we have in this issue a partnership with a renowned photographer, Musa Omar Tukurah. The striking images used here are from his massive ouvre of work under the theme: People.
I remain grateful for this collaboration and look forward to more years of creating a journal that will excite and expand the imagination.
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.