“We need many novelists and visionaries because the story of the African continent is not finished,” says Achebe in an interview in a national daily. I ponder over Achebe’s statement almost everyday as the supposed vacuum to be filled seems unappealing to our generation of today. In truth, people get enticed with ovation showered over distinct writers but are not ready for the price. The price to pay to be a novelist and visionary as Achebe states is a healthy reading culture among the youths of today. Wale Okediran’s position that to be a novelist one must have read hundreds of novels is instructive of the essence of reading. This article lays emphasis on the poor reading culture in
Ade (not real name), a graduate in one of these science oriented courses approached me sometimes ago on how to be a good writer, especially in creative writing. I advised him with all humility that creative writing is not just something you wake up to do. the fact is that to be mused to write is through mastering other people’s works in listening, reading and being a good observer of event in one’s environment. Particularly stressed in my advice was that he should cultivate the habit of reading which he hitherto had not been doing. Seeing the price he has to pay, I could discern he was put off.
It is often said that everybody has a book in him, how to go about it is the hurdle to cross. A lot of factors have been identified as the lack of wherewithal to do so. At tender age, negligence of parents to monitor their children’s reading habit is one. The home video of a thing has also eroded the virtue of reading as a dramatic film is preferred to the supposed boring and monotonous job of reading. Paucity of literary books recommended in the syllabus of SSCE students where synopsis and summary of such books have become alternative is also part of the problem. But to these problems that we all hold on to as excuses for not reading, others have weaved out ways for themselves and here they are today shot for stardom.
Alluding to the bible that a servant is not greater than his master, I wish to laconically bring to fore the experience of leading writers in
In line with my love for creative writing in consonance with Achebe’s call for more novelists, I approached my supervisor here in the
Although I knew my competence to write such is not at stake, I knew the Doctor was right to question me that way, for today the belief that writers like Soyinka, and Achebe Chinua might never be produced again in Nigeria seems to be justified by the prevalent poor reading culture in Nigeria.