Igho goes to Farm, a debut children’s fictional literature by culture journalist, Anote Ajeluorou, which was presented at the Open-Door Series for Prof. Wole Soyinka at 85, made its way to the first Nigerian Cultural Day in Berlin, Germany. Yinka Olatunbosun reports
Certainly, the past week is one that culture journalist, Anote Ajeluorou has engraved in his heart. First, the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka received a copy of his debut literary piece, “Igho Goes to Farm’’ at his Ijegba residence in Abeokuta on the occasion of his 85th birthday.
Soyinka had played host to 85 students drawn from 30 states to compete in an essay competition which has been an annual literary tradition initiated by the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE).
Now in its 10th year, WSCIE provided the platform for Ajeluorou to present his new literary offering with an interesting storyline.
Inspired by the author’s childhood, the story tells of a young boy Igho who is sent away to the village on vacation while his siblings go to Disneyland.
Igho’s plight is as a result of his poor academic performance. The culture shock that forms the soul of this text fascinates Jahman Anikulapo as he traveled with this book to the first Nigerian Cultural Day celebrations in Berlin, Germany with special sessions on fashion, art and music.
To crown the season of goodwill around this literary effort, the book has found its way into the longlist of the 2019 Nigerian Prize for Literature sponsored by the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas, (NLNG).
Ajeluorou described this book as a love letter to his childhood in the small community in Delta State called Ibedeni. Storytelling was a part of his cultural education as a child and that folkloric influence played a crucial role in the making of this piece.
The release of the book is very timely as many children are on holidays with the risk of unwholesome entertainment on some television channels and the internet.
“Igho Goes to Farm” is a safe literary escapism that helps to nurture the reading culture in a child’s early years while instilling deep moral and cultural values in the reader.
The author is a graduate of English at the University of Benin whose creative writing started with the soft-sell magazine, Hints in 1996. His journey in journalism led him to being an arts correspondent and later, Arts Editor at the Guardian where he currently works as the Head of Politics, The Guardian.