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Chibundu Onuzo and Doreen Baingana Discuss Veronique Tadjo’s Speech on African Women and Literature

Writers Chibundu Onuzo and Doreen Baingana were among the literati that attended the keynote speech on “African Women and Literature” given by Veronique Tadjo at the Garden City Literary Festival 2012 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

The Little Girl who Didn\'t Want to Grow upChasing the SunThe Blind KingdomTalking DrumsAs the Crow Flies

Tadjo, the author of many books of poetry and fiction and a number of children’s titles, used her paper to pose a number of questions that African writers, especially women, now face when they decide to pursue literature as an artistic endeavour.

Onuzo and Baingana took part in a panel discussion in order to delve into Tadjo’s speech and answer the questions her paper raised. The panellists agreed that seeing a “fourth generation” of writers in Africa was indeed a wonderful thing – whether they were men or women, writers were now, more than ever, committed to telling the stories of the continent.

The Spider King\'s DaughterChibundu OnuzoDoreen BainganaTropical Fish

Onuzo, whose book The Spider King’s Daughter was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize last year, said, “A writer cannot run away from commitment. But art comes first”.

Baingana, who won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize for her novel Tropical Fish, said that what makes one a writer is “right from the start – the right education and that literary support”.

The following is a transcript of the panel discussion the writers took part in:

At the 2012 Garden City Literary Festival, Veronique Tadjo presented a keynote paper on the theme, African Women and Literature. The event, which held at the Cinema Hall, Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt was robustly discussed by a panel of discussant that comprised; Prof. Onyemachi Udumukwu, Ms Doren Baingana and Miss Chibundu Onuzo and was moderated by Chioma Opara. Today, Vanguard’s arts presents a rapporteur’s report on the Symposium as recorded by Dr. Obari Gomba and Mr. Ene Igbifa.

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Image courtesy Marlborough Literature Festival and Chez Gangoueus


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