In 1991, the Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture, meeting in Cotonou, Benin, resolved to establish 7 November, the day on which Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) was founded, as International African Writers’ Day.
In the past, for instance, five years ago, more than 300 writers and scholars gathered to commemorate the 22nd International African Writers’ Day at a three-day conference, held in Accra, that took as its theme “Celebrating the life and works of Chinua Achebe: The Coming of Age of African Literature?”, with a keynote address by Henri Lopès and presentations by James Currey, Margaret Busby and others in honour of Achebe. And three years ago in November 2017, the keynote address at a colloquium marking the 24th International African Writers’ Day was given by President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo.
Unfortunately, this year, due to the global pandemic, PAWA had to make do with a virtual discourse themed: Literary Festivals: Creating New Platforms For African Writers. The event was hosted by the PAWA Secretary-General, Dr. Wale Okediran in collaboration with LOATAD- Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora founded by Ghanaian Author Sylvia Arthur.
The panel was loaded with some literary heavyweights which include: Elizabeth Johnson PA Gya Literary Festival (Ghana), Dr. Jama Musse Jama Hargeysa International Book Fair (Somaliland), Jane Zulu Zeb Books (Zambia), Chirikure Chirikure Litfest: International Literature Festival (Zimbabwe) and Charles Batambuze Uganda International Book Fair (Uganda).
The discussions were quite informative and very lively, a lot was discussed especially on way forward as for African literature after covid-19.
It is very heartwarming to note that PAWA is still going strong after 28 years, especially now after this global pandemic. Its Secretary-General, Dr. Wale Okediran has displayed great leadership skills since his appointment in July this year.