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Symposium on D O Fagunwa's works to hold in Akure

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Symposium on D O Fagunwa's works to hold in Akure

Post  Admin on Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:47 am

Fifty years after the death of iconic Yoruba novelist, David Oroniran Fagunwa, popularly called D. O. Fagunwa, scholars, writers and other culture promoters are set to celebrate his legacies. This will happen at an international conference holding in Akure, Ondo State, where the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, will deliver the keynote address.

A collaboration between the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, the Ondo State Government, the Fagunwa Study Group, and the Fagunwa Foundation, the programme holding between August 8 and 11 is attracting experts from different parts of the country and beyond. Among such are Professors Dele Olayiwola of the University of Ibadan; Karin Barber, of the University of Birmingham, UK; Dan Izevbaye, Bowen University, Iwo; Niyi Osundare, University of New Orleans; Olabiyi Yai of UNESCO and Jacob Oluponna of Havard University, USA.

While leading lights in Yoruba culture and literature, including Adebayo Faleti, Oladejo Okediji and Feyikemi Olayinka, as well as the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Dokun Abolarin, are also billed to key roles at the event, many followers of African literature would agree that it is an auspicious time to discuss Fagunwa's essence as a writer. First, it is a period in which the death of renowned writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe, has sparked an engaging debate. The Akure 'summit' is thus a fundamental diversion from the good and the bad of the post-Achebe arguments.

Stakeholders will also expect the conference to shed light on what made Fagunwa's works respected even by those who do not understand Yoruba. It is likely to redefine the roles that the power of imagination, description, adventure and dynamics of morality play in a work of literature. But it may also provide answers to questions surrounding the fate of the once flourishing Yoruba literature, the same one that produced the legendary Fagunwa in the 1930s.

As the organisers note in a statement, with the publication of Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole in 1938, Fagunwa initiated the art of creative writing in Yoruba-language, which quickly generated a tradition within Nigeria and beyond the language. His other novels include Igbo Olodumare (1949), Ireke Onibudo (1949), Irinkerindo Ninu Igbo Elegbeje (1954), and Adiitu Olodumare (1961).

"The success of his five novels, the last of which was published in 1961, was phenomenal. By 1986, Ogboju Ode had gone through 24 reprints and several Yoruba authors were publishing novels in the genre of spiritual adventure-cum heroic quest which he popularised. The career of Amos Tutuola was in full swing, while Wole Soyinka's translation of the first novel would soon introduce Fagunwa to the English-speaking world.

"But Fagunwa did not just write novels, he also wrote travelogues, essays, petitions, and translated other worker into Yoruba. The tradition thus initiated has shown remarkable resilience and continued to influence different categories of intellectuals in diverse disciplines. At the last count, there have been four translations of three of the novels, and numerous works of scholarship continue to be published on the novels," the organisers add.


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