Yes, you have heard of the Ebedi International Residency… and there are spirits there. These spirits are rare in Nigeria – imagine it, electric power supply, water, peace, quiet! Shoot someone already! Yes, let me school you only a bit.
The Ebedi International Residency in Iseyin, Oyo state is one of the few residencies in Nigeria that hosts writers (three at a time) for a period of six weeks giving them time to work on any creative piece of their choice. Now, they also get a small stipend (about thirty thousand naira or so) in the period and are isolated from distractions.
The three writers featuring in the September/October 2016 edition are my people, Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan, Ikechukwu Nwaogu and the cool Servio Gbadamosi.
Ehi’zogie is from Edo state and has an enviable list of awards in poetry which I wouldn’t want to waste your time mentioning. Just know, the guy can write and he has written. Last year, in Jos, we were in a hotel together with Saddiq Dzukogi, Romeo Oriogun (there was a fourth person… Eh, okay, I was the fourth person) and reading through our collective verse, I couldn’t help but note, ah, this really is a poet to watch out for any time. We were at other events last year too but again, I wouldn’t bore you much. He has a published collection of poetry, Flames of Forest, which was written to some acclaim. He also has a considerable number of poems published online. The thing with Ehi’zogie is he gets better with every new verse… So, he is working on a new collection there at Ebedi titled A Spring of Endless Songs. I have seen some of the poems, and I liked most of them but wrinkled my nose at a few others 🙂 He is working on refining and redefining that collection. We wish him luck!
Ikechukwu Nwaogu… is a fiction writer and playwright. His work has appeared on different sites including www.naijastories.com (he is my brother for being here, I belong to the first generation of the Naija Stories family), http://www.mainlandbookcafe.com, http://www.shughar.com, http://www.elsieisy.com, and on http://www.facebook.com (well, almost everyone’s writings has appeared there, no? 🙂 ). Equally, his nonfiction pieces have appeared on http://www.mainlandbookcafe.com, and his personal blog, www.inkspilla.wordpress.com. While at Ebedi, Ikechukwu will be working on a collection of short stories and if God agrees, a novel. We can only pray for that. And him too, of course.
The third writer and certainly the baddest of them all, Servio Gbadamosi! (Blow the trumpet!) I handed over the ANA Poetry Award to this young man in 2015, after getting tired of being the ANA Award holder for 2014 🙂 … He won the award with his poetry collection, A Tributary in Servitude which I begged him to publish. Note that he didn’t give me a kobo when he won the award! Any way, we have enjoyed many drinks and meals since then so I think that is compensation. But who is Servio? Ah! He is a poet, and Ibadan based culture and development practitioner. He is the brain behind Winepress Publisher and one of the founding partners of the famous WriteHouse Collective. Servio is one of Nigeria’s leading publishing consultants and a book dealer of great note. He has been published in several journals and anthologies like Crossroads: Anthology of Poems in Honour of Christopher Okigbo, Fela’s Re-arrangement: A Collage of the Poetic Biography of Nigeria’s Folkhero of Afrobeat Music and The Sky is Our Earth: Anthology of Fifty Young Nigerian Poets.
Servio hopes to use the opportunity of his residency ‘to research, reflect and continue work on a new collection of poems titled, From Northwind.
All the three writers will also take part in the mentorship of secondary school students in Iseyin and environs in the area of creative writing, drama and public speaking.
Now in its sixth year of operation, the Ebedi Residency is a private initiative for writers to complete their creative works in an enabling environment at no cost. The Residency which has hosted about 75 writers from countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroun, Ghana and Ivory Coast since its inception has also produced several award winning writers. The writers have included our SEVHAGE author, Professor Dul Johnson, my good friend Professor Musa Idris Okpanachi and the satire King, Elnathan John whose book, BORN ON A TUESDAY shortlisted for the 2016 NLNG Prize was completed at the Ebedi Residency.
Wait, why did Ebedi carry my friends and leave me? Hmmm, okay, maybe because I didn’t apply. But you can apply and should apply. To apply, visit http://ebedihills.com/how-to-apply (the link was down a while back but keep trying and go see what you can do). Best of luck to the residents at the moment and to all of you who would apply. For us all others, let’s keep writing, reading and being our very best. Cheerio!