BoldOz Book and Arts Festival in Poetry

The Eagle Woman saw a vision and dreamed dreams about the gathering of the ingenious sons and daughters of the land to have conversations around books and arts.

When she woke up, she swung into action, calling shots, drawing cords and pulling strings from far and near the land of the blessed.

The land, like an obedient lamb, reasonably responded, and from far and wide, the eaglets descended to bulldoze the darkness that hinders the thriving of book and art culture in the land.

At the Ibibio Union Museum, the best minds met on Friday and Saturday in a joyful June.

I loved the ambience of the environment that holds our history, its paradisiac vibes calmed my nerves amidst soul-lifting music that reverberated round the elixiric space.

Pleasant people, vivacious voices, smiling faces, lighted footsteps, happy handshakes, giggling greetings and pleasing pleasantries – all elicited and generated humanity in the heavenly hall. Courteous hostesses ushered guests to sit in heavenly places.

The best minds in literature and the arts have gathered to share their prized goodies for the benefit of the young and budding writers and artists. I could see school children, excited and poised to listen and learn.

It was the gathering of writers, artists, publishers, fashion designers, caterers and everyone in the creative industry. I counted Sir Raphael Edem, Dr Nestor Udoh, Dr Udeme Nana, Mr Anietie Usen, Professor Effiong Johnson, Michael Afenfia, Utibe Hanson, Dr Eyoh Etim, Francis Onuk, Dr David Udoinwang, Mr Akan Essien, Dr Obari Gomba, Miss Miracle Emeka-Nkwor among the eagles that landed for the Junic meet.

They all spoke to the surplus of applause and wide affirmations on the main theme of the festival: Mbuk Nnyin, Our Story.

Akwa Ibom story is linked to the Nigerian story. Its uniqueness lies in the unique characteristics of the people and their cultural values, their character associated with the virtues of her past heroes whose images inhabit the hallowed hall we sat.

Mr Anietie Usen said we are all village boys and girls and that to be raised in poverty is an advantage, once grit is maintained as our motto.

Michael Afenfia detailed how creative imagination can spring from our personal and collective experiences, the people and the places we have been.

Dr Nestor Udoh recounted the tales of the Civil War Child, staging the past in the present.

Sir Raphael Edem emphasised the importance of espousing the lifting narratives of a heroic people.

Prof Effiong Johnson advised the younger generation to burn the midnight candles in order to achieve greatness.

Obari Gomba guided the eaglets on creative writing before having exciting and insightful conversations with Prof Effiong Johnson on Grit, the epic play that won the golden fleece in 2023.

Mrs Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi listed the virtues necessary when writing for children, and her panel members, including Francis Onuk, agreed that illustration was the key language of children’s literature.

Conversations on food were both theory and practical. Madam Uyai made it all so beautiful.

Eyoh Etim and Miracle Emeka-Nkwor spoke on why we write. I think we write to right, because writers are righters, according to Niyi Osundare. Did Miracle finally tell us exactly What Happened to Janet Uzor? I suppose she gave that as an assignment but rather urged the young learners never to give up on their writing dreams.

The camera flashes were blinding. Everywhere you turned, memories were being made through clicks and cracks; beautiful souls detained in smiling eternity.

Books flooded the venue in exchanges and gifts. In the end, everyone was richer for being there, and they all went home refreshingly englightened. All thanks to Mrs Enobong Etuk, the caring curator of the Boldoz Book Club.

© Eyoh Etim, 2024

A Cross Section of Participants at the Boldoz Book and Art Festival

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