Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joop Berkhout and Akin Ajose-Adeogun Receive the Inaugural Tutuola Palm for Poetry Awards
Famous Nigerian actress, Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, OON, foremost book publisher in Africa, Chief Joop Berkhout and legal luminary Akin Ajose-Adeogun of the famous Ajose-Adeogun family became the first recipients of the inaugural Tutuola Palm for Poetry. Awards at the "Profiles at the Lagoon" event on Wednesday morning in Lagos.
In spite of the rain, many people, including leading elites of the Nigerian literary class, Aficionados of arts and culture, top journalists and others gathered at the Art Gallery Kongi Harvest of the popular Freedom Park on the Broad Street of Lagos Island.
The event sponsored by the Delta Book Club of Delta Publications (Nigeria) Limited of Enugu was chaired by highly esteemed communications consultant, Mr. Akin Fatunke. The immediate former First Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola also graced the occasion with Mr. Jahman Oladejo Anikulapo, Executive Director of iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival, Programme Chair of Committee For Relevant Arts (CORA), Executive Director of Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC) and former Editor, The Guardian on Sunday (2003-2013); Shaibu Husseini, foremost writer of Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry who is Chairman of the College of Screeners and Head of Jury Board of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and Segun Adefila, Co-founder and Artistic Director/Choreographer of Crown Troupe of Africa.
The event in honour of the late phenomenal Yoruba author, Amos Tutuola, who was the first African novelist to be published in the English language outside Africa with his 1952 classic, "The Palm-Wine Drinkard" will be held annually to preserve his legacy in the history of modern African literature.
“Amos Tutuola has never been accorded his proper place on the horizon of Nigeria’s great poets, if because few people understand the true meaning of ‘Poetry’. This humble attempt to immortalize him with ‘The Tutuola Palm for Poetry’ is an overdue apology for our misguided mindset in regard to the proper perspective of his hallowed status of poet extraordinaire," said Mr. Dillibe Onyeama, The Chairman/CEO of Delta Publications (Nigeria) Limited and President of the Delta Book Club.
“Poetry is essentially all about innate beauty, the splendour of God’s handiwork across the heavens and the universe, a phenomenon that transcends even modern science with the mystique of the intangible. Tutuola wrote richly inventive fantasies of his native Yoruba folktales. He sat down and scribbled his fantastic images in almost illegible longhand, ordinary exercise book. He submitted the work to Britain’s leading book publishing group Faber & Faber, who went through it, were mesmerized, and immediately sent him back a cheque for £200. The book subsequently became one of Africa’s biggest all-time bestsellers, followed by several more of his fictional works in the same unique story-telling innovation. So, it was never all about good English grammar or good English diction. It was all about the magic of ‘Poetry’ – a truism divined by celebrated English poet Dylan Thomas in his review of Tutuola’s book with the words 'this strange poetic nightmare'."
The event included the official presentation of the new edition of THE WRITER magazine and Akin Ajose Adeogun’s biography of the late eminent jurist J.I.C Taylor, "A Passion for Justice ", recitations of poems and acoustic guitar performance.