Prepare to be inspired as the Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA) pays tribute to the legendary Chinua Achebe on the tenth anniversary of his passing. ANA recognizes the immense power of creativity in immortalizing individuals and igniting a new generation of writers, drawing from Achebe’s remarkable creative model.

Despite his untimely death, Achebe’s influence continues to resonate. He penned some of his most renowned works, such as “Things Fall Apart” and “Arrow of God,” at the young age of 28. Achebe’s success can be attributed to his mastery of the Igbo language, which led to the creation of a Nigerianized English, and his unwavering championing of African culture.

During the commemorative event, Dr. John Otu highlighted Achebe’s critical approach to his works. Achebe’s characters, like Okonkwo and Nwoye in “Things Fall Apart,” and Ezeulu and Obika in “Arrow of God,” serve as reflections of his analytical prowess. Achebe challenged societal norms and encouraged readers to question their own beliefs.

Lindsay Barrett, a writer and on-air personality who had the privilege of meeting Achebe after the Nigerian civil war, praised the author for instilling a critical mindset towards one’s country and society. Barrett also lauded Achebe’s ability to infuse his Nigerian heritage into his English writing, particularly showcased in “Arrow of God.” This blending of languages encouraged Barrett to advocate for thinking in indigenous languages.

Language plays a pivotal role in nurturing creativity, as noted by linguist Prof Francis Egbokhare. Fluency in any language, be it indigenous or otherwise, stimulates the creative process and fosters a sense of community.

The power of language to immortalize creativity was emphasized by Prof Abdulrasheed N’Allah, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja. Achebe’s Nigerianized language, along with Nigerian colloquialisms, have found global resonance through literary works like “Things Fall Apart” and Nigeria’s vibrant music industry. This globalization of culture is further amplified with Abuja’s recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Under the theme “The Immortality of Creativity: Ten Years After Achebe’s Transition,” ANA National President Camillus Ukah aims to inspire the younger generation of writers to create works that will endure. ANA has launched a challenge urging secondary students to read 52 books per year—equivalent to one book every week and four books per month. This initiative aims to combat the prevailing culture of non-reading and elevate the hunger for knowledge among students.

Ukah urges parents and teachers to be instrumental in fostering a love for reading from an early age, thereby instilling a reading habit that extends beyond exam preparation. By demanding excellence and nurturing a thirst for knowledge, a new generation of writers can follow in Achebe’s footsteps and leave behind impactful legacies.

Chinelo Chikelu is a reporter with Leadership Newspaper