Prof. Wole Soyinka
By SaharaReporters, New York
Other speakers and special guests at the event include Prof Toyin Falola, Prof. Kalu Ogbaa, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, and some other members of the Nigeria literary community in the United States.
The presentation, which is in a series of events to usher in the 2014 dateline for the World Book Capital, is expected to be done by the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who will on the same day be conferred with the Quintessence Award for Leadership by the African Writers Foundation.
Governor Amaechi will be supported by the President of the Port Harcourt Literary Society, Dr. Chidi Amuta and Mrs. Koko Kalango, President of the Rainbow Book Club, chief promoters of the World Book Capital project. Other eminent citizens of Rivers State are expected to be part of the ceremony.
“The Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 project, is a crowning glory for the genuine investment of the State in Education as well as its commitment to empowerment of the youths of River State through promotion of Literary activities and knowledge-acquisition programmes in the state,” said Governor Amaechi.
Looking ahead, he said, “Next year, we will be staging a lot of reading and writing activities; we will play host to eminent writers from around the world; there will be lots of book exhibitions and other activities. We are all excited about the prospects.”
Port Harcourt was nominated the World Book capital by UNESCO last year after it defeated, amongst others, Oxford in the United Kingdom and Moscow in Russia.
According to the UNESCO panel that made the final decision, "The City of Port Harcourt was nominated World Book Capital 2014 on account of the quality of its programme, in particular its focus on youth and the impact it would have on improving Nigeria's culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates.
In a goodwill message after Port Harcourt won the hosting bid last year, Prof Soyinka said, “I congratulate the city of Port Harcourt… for this honour which they have brought, not only to the nation but to the African continent.”
President Goodluck Jonathan had also congratulated the city of Port Harcourt, saying “…(for being) the World Book Capital for Books, in the year of our beloved nation’s centenary”.
Eminent diplomat and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, declared; ‘I am confident that the impressive record… of the Rivers State Government in promoting literary activities will ensure the success of Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital City in 2014”.
A delighted Governor Amaechi said this week, “We believe that Port Harcourt is ripe and ready to be the first World Book Capital in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The Princeton event is one out of many programmes meant to attract writers, scholars and indeed draw global attention to the city of Port Harcourt in its year as UNESCO World Book Capital city.