Zainab Suleiman-Okino, Olumide Olaniyan and Sidney Okwoche, will headline the October 28 edition of the Guest Writer Session, a monthly initiative of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF).
Hajiya Zainab is often described as “a consummate journalist, a skilful reporter, an excellent editor, a patient mentor, a benevolent but firm leader of people, and a bridge builder in every sense of the phrase.”
After a bachelor’s degree in English and History from Bayero University Kano, journalism came calling and she could not resist. Thus she learned the ropes and diligently rose through the ranks as a reporter, staff writer, production editor, editor and managing editor at various newspaper organisations including Today, Citizen, Media Trust, Leadership and the Sun Newspapers where she did a stint as Editor-at-Large.
In 2011, Hajiya Zainab became part of the start-up team of the Abuja-based Blueprint Newspaper where she is currently the Editor-in-Chief. Despite the enormous demands of the job and sustaining a family, she studied for a master’s in International Affairs and Diplomacy at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
A renowned political columnist, she also did a stint as Commissioner for Information in Kogi State under Governor Idris Wada’s administration. Drawing from her rich academic and journalistic background, Hajiya Zanab will give a talk on the “challenge of newspaper publishing in Northern Nigeria, the social media and creating space for literature.”
The other guest, Olumide Olaniyan is an author, satirist and public speaker. Born in Lagos state, he currently lives and works in Abuja as a development specialist with focus on strengthening democratic governance and supporting improved service delivery in fragile and hard-to-reach communities across Nigeria.
Olaniyan holds a first degree in Political Science from the University of Lagos and a Master’s Degree in Gender and Peace Building from the University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica. His debut collection of poems, Lucidity of Absurdity, was published in March 2017.
He started his writing career as a teenager. Between 1987 and the early 1990s, several of his short stories were featured in such publications as the Lagos Weekend, HINTS magazine and The Twenty Nigerian Writers Portraits, an anthology of the Lagos state chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). An active member of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), one of Olaniyan’s poems, Behind Closed Doors, clinched the first prize in the maiden edition of the Communicators League Creative Writing Contest, 2017. His poem, One Sojourn of the Moon, also received an honorary mention in the Mandela Day Poetry Competition in 2016.
His debut poetry collection, Lucidity of Absurdity, was listed amongst the five hot books released in 2017, according to the Daily Trust Newspaper. The anthology, which contains sixty poems, narrates the human struggle for existence and progress. It focuses on issues of power relations, environmental degradation, human differences and everyday trials that have rooted individuals and societies to their varying human conditions.
Olaniyan is currently working on two new books: an anthology of poems and a non-fiction novella (co-authored with Olamide Olaniyan, his eight-year old daughter popularly called Ereke). Both books are expected to be out by mid-2018.
Sidney Okwoche popularly known as Sidrock is a dynamic rock musician, guitarist, songwriter and environmentalist from Benue State.
He is a graduate of Forestry from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and the founder of the green movement called Conservation Conversation. Sidrock is passionately committed to promoting conservation and environmental sustainability through music and creative arts, with the artistically rated debut Album titled “Hope Dey” solely dedicated to environmental issues.
He has performed in several national and international conferences, seminars, symposia, youth campaigns across the country and beyond in bringing to light his message of hope through lyrics calling for sustainable interaction with natural resources.
The Guest Writer Session, which also features a raffle-draw for books, runs from 4-7pm at the Aso Hall of Nanet Suites, Ekiti House, Abuja is open to the public.