On Saturday, the 12th of December 2015, hundreds of Nigerian writers, poets, singers, spoken word artists, dramatists and literary enthusiasts from all over the country gathered at the University of Ibadan, to partake in the ‘Fist (FEAST) of Words’, Words Rhymes & Rhythm’s inaugural Literary festival.
The festival was originally conceived to be a picnic of sorts to be bring Words Rhymes & Rhythm faithfuls out of the pages of Facebook, to jointly celebrate the remarkable growth of what transformed from an ego-trip Facebook page into Nigeria’s largest poetry promoting platform and one of the fastest growing publishing firms within three years.
2015 has in all respects been a remarkable year:
- we became established as a power player in the publishing circles, publishing several titles;
- we organized the monthly Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) for 10 months with monthly cash awards;
- we held Nigeria’s first free publishing contest, the GREEN AUTHOR PRIZE (GAP) that saw the emergence of four young poets as co-authors of a beautiful collection;
- we had outreaches at schools like the WRR #YouthEngage Project at the Iseyin District Grammar School, Iseyin, Oyo state;
- we held the fourth edition of the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize;
- we held the albert Jungers Poetry Prize (AJPP) with a brand new laptop as top prize;
- we paid school fees for young Nigerian writers and we boosted activities in our online poetry college
So we thought to cap it all with a little picnic and ambitiously tagged it ‘Festival’. Little did we know when we proposed it that it was going to metamorphose from a ‘picnic’ into a movement, a statement a revolution of sorts.
Well, we gathered from all over Nigeria and we did feast on words while throwing the fist of words around without hurting no one. There was laughter, there was banter, there was friendship, there was music, there was drama, there was poetry, there was spoken words and there was more laughter…
We were entertained, educated and enlightened. We had awards, candid discussions and informal talks with plenty of paparazzi…but above all, WE HAD EACH OTHER.
At the end of it all, four authors went home with copies of their jointly authored collection – ‘Verses From The Niger’; one person went home with a brand new laptop – the winner of the Albert Jungers prize; one person went home with a publishing contract – the winner of the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize; nearly a hundred winners/runners-ups of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest went home with certificates and books and EVERYONE who attended got a free copy of the beautiful Wind of Change anthology sponsored by the lovely Brigitte Poirson, a supporter of the WRR project.
While we gloat in the success of the one-day festival, it would be impertinent to fail to appreciate those who helped make this event a success by contributing financially and otherwise. Because it would be impossible to mention everyone who helped make this happen, permit me to say a general but heartfelt thank you.
This festival may be seen as a victory for WRR, but it is in truth a victory us – for me and you, a victory for Nigerian literature and a victory for humanity.
Let’s do this again next and make it bigger!
Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
CEO Words Rhymes & Rhythm