By: Momodou Jarju
The Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) has issued its 2019 activity report. According to their report, the Association has recorded twenty-two books authored and launched by Gambians during the period under review; that WAG has successfully attended and co-organized these book launches across the country within a year; held a Congress in April 2019 to elect a new executive when Dr. Cherno Omar Barry was elected president and commemorated World Book and Copyright Week in 2019 in a bid to revive the association and the Lenrie Peters’ Award.
“On World and Copyright Week Celebrations in 2019 held at Alliance Française and Ebunjan Theatre respectively, WAG awarded 22 Gambian authors in honor of literary erudition and alongside an inter-School poetry competition for Senior Secondary Schools on the life and works of Dr. Lenrie Peters where Saint Joseph Senior Secondary School emerged winners, followed by Gambia Senior Secondary School as first runners-up and Saint Augustine High School with the third position,” the report indicated; that it donated 144 books to School children and Schools across the country in the period under review and participated in workshops and conferences in the country and beyond.
The report also indicated that WAG took part in the African Writers Conference held in Kenya on 22nd September 2019 and the African Regional Meeting on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 20 to 31 July 2019; that two of their members participated in the Nigeria Writer’s Residency organized by the African Writers Development Trust (AWDT) held from October to November 2019 and at the African Writers Conference 2019 as the host country; that they had two of their members awarded by the Senegalese Writers Association from 7th to 12th November 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.
The association which has been in existence for a decade, said in 2019 it trained 100 students in various schools across the country and the Gambia College, on creative writing held from 29 February to 1 March 2020.
“In addition to our collective work and visibility, we have successfully conducted two trainings on creative writing and information literacy for over 150 young Gambian writers held at the NCAC Conference hall in Banjul and the American Corner,” it added; that the association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) on 26th March 2020, to lobby for funds for Gambian books approved by MoBSE, to be used in Schools; that the MoU was meant to “organize a consultation workshop to draft the national book policy for the Gambia 2020-2025; hosting of the national spelling bee competitions for junior and senior secondary schools and for WAG to serve as mediators between MoBSE and Gambian writers to coordinate, facilitate and run reading and writing programs in schools.”