The Port Harcourt Literary Society has appointed Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, an award winning poet and a Deputy Director in the Niger Delta Development Commission, as Resident Poet.
This is coming on the heels of a recent honour from the Association of Nigerian Authors, Rivers State chapter for Amu-Nnadi’s contributions to literature at the 2017 Literary Excellence Day of the association in Port Harcourt.
Presenting the appointment letter and keys to his office during a brief ceremony at the NDDC headquarters, Chidinma Ubakanwa, the Programme Coordinator of Port Harcourt Literary Society, underlined the need to provide mentorship for young writers.
Ubakanwa said the appointment of Amu-Nnadi as resident poet would create new opportunities for budding writers to hone their skills.
“This is done in recognition of your bod of works, literary awards and as an inspiring figure who would make a positive impact and help advance the objectives of our Society,” the letter said.
The Chairman of the Rivers State chapter of ANA, Uzo Nwamara, described Amu-Nnadi as one of the best poets in Africa.
Nwamara declared: “He has been a big inspiration to many young writers and that is why ANA found him worthy of recognition.”
Nwamara lauded the NDDC for promoting literary excellence through the sponsorship of the literary prizes, one of which was the ANA/NDDC Gabriel Okara Prize for Poetry in 2002 won by “The fire within,” written by Amu-Nnadi.
Accepting his new role, Amu-Nnadi promised to live up to the expectations of the literary society, noting that he derived joy from writing.
He recalled that he got into writing poetry by chance.
According to him, a challenge from a fellow student drew him into poetry.
He said: “As a first year student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I had the privilege of sharing the same class with a few young men who loved poetry. But I was the only one who had no time for poetry. So, I was forced to rise to the challenge.”
In his remarks, the NDDC Director Corporate Affairs, Ibitoye Abosede, gave kudos to Amu-Nnadi for his literary prowess, which he said had produced several books, including The fire within, Pilgrim’s passage, Through the window of a sandcastle (which won the 2013 ANA Poetry Prize and the 2014 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry), A river’s journey and A field of echoes.
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