“Reading is an art of seduction. So writers must craft their words to compel a reader to feel pleasant.” Okey Ndibe
Prof. Okey’s electrifying storytelling skills planted a seed in my spirit that must germinate in the near future. It transformed the core of my identity as a writer, and answered persistent vocational calls on my sense of purpose as to why I am a writer, and what I envision in my legendary dream.Prof. Okey wore Chinua Achebe’s cap that fitted so smartly, giving him a leading African scholar look. Symbolizing literary transitions between generations of literary African scholars, Chinua Achebe offered Okey his cap as a father would crown a son to take on the heritage.
Every word he spoke was heavily loaded with meaning and artistry. He spoke politely, appealing to our conscience on how to become better creative writers. Okey spoke highly of his parents and African roots with a disarming smile to charm his audience to his trade.His well weaved words testified to the folk tales he was told by his parents as a young boy, and how that has influenced his writing and career.
Okey’s reminisce of his struggle to get published in America after a failed attempt as founding editor of the African Commentary magazine which was founded by Chinua Achebe; and a demanding book agent touched me profoundly and inspired me to get ready for the life-changing rigors, hard work and patience of becoming a reputable global scholar and writer.In my mind, I could see myself in him and in every word he spoke. As Pentecostals would say, “I became born again.”
After my first memoir; My Mayor. The political story of a poor elite and a rich illiterate, I saw my dream of becoming a legendary global writer dwindle after I failed to get a book agent. Sadly, I then decided to self -publish and barely met my expectations. I was wounded and required attention; this is what the literary doctors, African Writers Trust offered me- The right surgery.
In the wisdom of African Writers Trust who invited and hosted Prof. Okey to mentor and nurture young African Writers; I found myself.
Over fifty writers expressed interest to participate and only twenty eight attended. The participants’ anxiety to learn was clearly expressed on their faces .They keenly listened to Okey and urged him to tell more stories. They were never in a rush for the tea and lunch breaks. Okey’s eloquence penetrated our hearts and minds with wisdom and inspired budding young writers with the hopes of getting published.
Fairway Hotel offered a cordial atmosphere for effective learning. The ventilation and arrangement in the room were like one of those Marriott Hotel International Conferences with our names before us like country delegates.
Okey`s never ending story lines delivered to our hearts the faith that we all have a chance to scratch the literary globe, if we learnt first, why fiction is important and how we can overcome common challenges in creative writing.
My turning point was when he shared anecdotes of how writers can find raw materials from their experiences and their imagination to get a story lead and develop its plot.As founder of Gulu Writers Club (GWC), this resonated with our vision to tell our own stories of experiencing two decades of conflict in northern Uganda.
Not only did he resurrect my dreams but also, hope and faith in the writing industry in Uganda and Africa at large.
As host, African Writers Trust delivered on our trust in them by offering much more than we bargained for, and paid for in this workshop.
The two days event ended in a spectacular way with an intellectually stimulating dialogue on the relevance of literature from distinguished personalities in the country.While they were all in agreement on the relevance of literature, I wish the panel had a dissenting view to create the conflict we write about in our novels.
Conclusively, while I feel compelled to sympathize with young budding writers who missed out and are seeking to be nurtured; I am consoled that African Writers Trust will have a similar but different creative writing workshop by December, 2019 to inspire your writing dreams.
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity once AWT makes the announcement. Join the cohort and become a reputable AWT Alumni, 2019.
I hope I seduced you!
David Martin Aliker is a Gulu based Blogger, Author and Founder of Gulu Writers Club (GWC).After running for the office of Mayor for Gulu Municipality; Aliker authored a book, My Mayor, The Political Story of a Poor Elite and a Rich Illiterate. This book captures his experience running for the office of the Mayor as a poor elite. Aliker also runs a Blog (Lagulu.org) where he shares his experiences and reports on Gulu events. Aliker regularly writes opinion articles in Uganda`s leading newspapers The Daily Monitor, and The New Vision.
As founder of Gulu Writers Club, Aliker mentors young amateur writers to tell their own story in the aftermath of the northern conflict. Currently, Aliker is working on two manuscripts. In The Nest of Happiness which is ready for publishing. Aliker is also working on a book in his native language-Bollicup. In this manuscript, Aliker tells a story of how VSLAs are changing family life roles and the dilemma of men in this new world order of empowered women.
Aliker has attained a Bachelors in Education (Hons.), Post Graduate Diplomas in Human Resource Management and another in Project Planning and Management; and Masters in Peace and Justice Studies from Makerere University, Uganda Management Institute (UMI), Gulu University and University of San Diego-USA respectively.
AWT Alumni, 2019. Email: email@example.com