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New book fair named after Abubakar Gimba holds in Abuja



Fresh on the heels of a successful outing of the 9th Coal City Book Convention in Enugu last November, The Delta Book Club is sparing no time in a bid to galvanize national interest in Nigeria’s waning reading culture.

Its next port-of-call takes it northwards to Abuja on Tuesday, February 27, where its new book celebration venture will immortalize the legendary status of Northern Nigeria’s man-of-letters, Abubakar Gimba, who passed away in February 2015 after a trail-blazing career as a novelist, poet and short-story writer.

Gimba, it will be recalled, hit the headlines in 1985 when his publishers, the Enugu-based Delta Publications (Nigeria) Limited, canvassed his first novel Trail of Sacrifice as the “Northern answer to Achebe and Soyinka”. The company released six of his literary works, recording sales of 50,000 copies for Trail of Sacrifice and upwards of 100,000 copies for Witnesses to Tears, which was selected for the JAMB syllabus.

The forthcoming fiesta in Abuja tagged The Capital Territory Book Convention will be staged by the company’s subsidiary group The Delta Book Club at Professor Idris Abdulkadir Auditorium, National Universities Commission, under the chairmanship of NUC’s Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

While commenting on the event, President of The Delta Book Club, Mr. Dillibe Onyeama, observed, “There is something touchingly auspicious and surreal about the date of the convention. Gimba died on February 27, was buried on the 26th, and we are immortalising him on the 27th.

The Capital Territory Book Convention will be an annual affair celebrated with great ceremony. Gimba was as outstanding a human being, as he was a literary iroko, and deserved to be immortalised.

He had an engaging humility and charitable disposition that epitomised every moral virtue. If every author could be another Abubakar Gimba, the Nigerian book industry would not be in such a sorry state as it is now.”

The day-long programme will include the first Abubakar Gimba Lecture Series, which will be delivered by the Director of Consultancy Services, University of Abuja, Professor Vicky Sylvester.

Also on the programme will be the presentation and prize-giving for the winning novel of the 1st Abubakar Gimba Literary Award, Nostalgia by Akintunde Oyajobi, the unveiling and presentation of the literary magazine The Writer, and a book exhibition.

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Abubakar Gimba
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