The Liberia Association of Writers (LAW) over the Weekend brought together some of the country’s old and new writers, publishers and librarians to discuss how writing could drive national development, and how to overcome challenges in the fields of writing, publishing, and running of a library.
The program was part of LAW’s 36th anniversary, celebrated at the University of Liberia (UL) on Saturday, July 21.
This year’s program was titled, “National Writers Symposium,” with the theme, “Strategic Writing for National Development.”
In the overview, LAW’s President, Samuel G. Dweh, said the main objective of the program was for invited speakers to proffer solutions to problems in the writing areas, publishing, piracy, and in the library sector.
Dweh said the lack of interest in writing by majority of literate Liberians is the major cause of the slow growth of Liberia in all sectors. He added that writing spreads nation-building ideas faster and sustain them for a longer time than “spoken information” would do.
On “Writing and Research”, S. Kpanbayeazee Duworko, II, of the Department of Literature and English at University of Liberia, said writers must glue themselves to the library.
“Nowadays, many established and new writers depend on the internet for research, but getting a mobile phone and data for research is not as easy as picking a book at a community library,” Mr. Duworko said.
Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, a Liberian professor of Literature and English at the Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A., spoke on “Creative Writing,” with much focus on poetry, of which she has published several books.
Dr. Wesley said poetry thrives on emotions, thoughts and images.
On the challenges of creative writing, she mentioned poor knowledge of the correct spellings and grammar for effective communication.
For a solution, she advised writers to read books in English continually, which would help them overcome the spelling and grammar challenge.
Presentation on “Christian Writing” was done by Dr. Roosevelt Zarwulugbo Liberty, Sr., Founder/President, Church of the Believers (Liberia); and Founder/President, Africa International Christian Mission, Inc., Boynton Beach, Florida, USA.
Liberty said Christian Writing on God’s ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts,’ called The Ten Commandments, given to Moses to present to the Israelite nation leaving Egypt, carries on the World View of Christianity.
He described one set of writers as Early Church Writers, and mentioned the Apostle Paul as one of the most prolific writers of this set, given his production of Thirteen Letters that later became known as “Books.”
Dr. Liberty also said that another group of Biblical writers, called The Church-Father-Writers, sprang up, replacing the Early Church Writers, He mentioned Ignatius of Antioch as one of the members of this group.
Mr. Othniel Forte, author and publisher, who spoke on Publishing, advised writers to have money available for the publication of their manuscript, instead of absolutely depending on the publisher to shoulder the entire process of publishing.
Professor J. Wil Mannie (Author), Lecturer, Department of English and Literature at UL, spoke on “Academic Writing.”
He said Academic Writing calls for use of the right terms or jargons restricted only to the Academic Field, and that the writer producing an Academic Work should address visible beings. “You are not writing for ghosts or angels. They don’t read,” he cautioned.
Ms. Mae Azango, journalist, and author of “Voice of the Trumpetess” (a memoir on child abuse) spoke on “Women’s Issues” for the Book.
One of the challenges in this kind of writing, Ms. Azango noted, is (some) women’s objection against writing about harmful cultural practices like circumcision of women (Female Genital Mutilation).
She said her life was threatened during recent times, after her story about women’s circumcision appeared in a Liberian newspaper.
Speaking on The Importance of Library to the Writer, Madam Rita C. Pshor, president of the Liberia Library Association, advised writers to prioritize the Library over Social Media (Facebook, etc.) because the former contains facts-based information from research, while the latter presents opinions or fabrications from “writers” who supply “information” (posts) to this platform of learning.
Charles B. Coffey, Jr., president of the Press Union of Liberia, was assigned to “Journalistic Writing: Fact against Fiction”, was present to do his presentation, but couldn’t speak due to the late start of the program.
The event was graced with the presence of prominent Liberians, including Dr. Evelyn D.S. Kankai (Author), former Minister of Education; Reverend Emmanuel Bowier (author), former Minister of Information; Madam Olubanke-King Akerele (author), former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and current Executive Director of Liberian Institute of “Growing” Patriotism. Each of them pledged support to LAW’s future programs.
The Embassy of the People Republic of China; the Liberian Observer Corporation, publishers of the Daily Observer newspaper; the UL; and Representative Alex C. Grant, District #3, Grand Gedeh County, supported LAW’s 36th anniversary program.
Professor K. Moses Nagbe, LAW’s 3rd President, supported the program with payment of rental fee for the venue of the anniversary.
LAW was founded by writers K. Moses Nagbe, Keith Neville A. Best, Madam Patricia Jabbeh Wesley and other writers on UL campus on July, 17, 1982 in Monrovia.