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Sep 14, 2011, 2:40 PM
The Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) Friday observed World Book and Copyright Day, to focus attention on the strides and challenges facing Gambian writers and their potential in the book industry.
The event, held at the University of The Gambia Law Faculty building, brought together writers from different schools and institutions to look at the challenges writers face.
In this year’s edition of World Book Day, WAG wants to focus its attention on how Gambian writings have mirrored or not mirrored the character of Bathurst/Banjul under the theme ‘Bathurst/Banjul in Gambian Literature: An overview’.
Speaking at the event, Dr Almami Taal, president of WAG, highlighted the importance of writers joining the association.
He said the association belongs to writers, hence they should take ownership of the association, adding that contributing to it would strengthen the association and make it one of the great creative associations in The Gambia.
Nana Grey-Johnson, a writer and lecturer at the University of The Gambia, said people should not be afraid to be educated, and if one is educated you should not be afraid to share it with society, as it would help bring the burning issues of society and finding solutions to them.
Indicating the challenges that writers face, Nana pointed out that time and experience are the number one challenges that writers face, adding that lack of experience is part of the challenges that most writers face.
“This is what we will be used as vanguards to contribute to the market place of society,” he said.
Musa Bah, also a writer and lecturer at Nusrat Senior Secondary School, said looking at the theme of this year’s edition, Banjul is the mother that gives ways to many writers in The Gambia.
He added that Banjul is blessed and rich in natural resources.
According to him, many young writers are afraid to speak their minds and people have to say what’s in their minds, especially the young writers.
He added that most students only focus on passing examinations alone, which he described as not enough, saying that it should be beyond that.
“Writing is a matter of thinking and with thinking we can explore,” he said.
The event saw the announcement of a writing competition titled:“Hassoum Ceesay Literary Award Prize 2016 for Fiction”, which will take place sometime this year with the aim of rewarding Gambian-based writers whose work had been published locally, to help build writing and publishing cultures in The Gambia.
The award will also aim at inculcating and promoting the culture of reading in The Gambia, and to honour the literary legacy of Hassoum Ceesay (1944-2010), as one of the great Gambian authors and co-founder of Ndaanan literary magazine.
The prizes of the winners of the competition, according to the organisations, is D15,000 first prize, D10,000 for second, D7,000 for third, and certificates.
The competition is conducted in partnership with the Hassoum Ceesay Family, National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and the Writers Association of The Gambia.