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Book Lunch: Dr. Iwunwa Bags Award for Literary Excellence at Imo State University



By Olisemeka Sony

Nigerian-Canadian artist, actress, and Author, Ambassador Dr Uba Iwunwa has been honoured with a prestigious Literary Excellence Award by the Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri for her contribution to literature and academic excellence.

Dr Uba, founder and Chairperson of Abiama Dynasty, a humanitarian organization, received the award during the unveiling of her new book, ‘The Rising of Ikenga’ (Love Beyond Death) at the English and Literary Studies Department of the Imo State University, Owerri on June 2nd, 2023. Dr Iwunwa who was represented at the occasion by the Brand Ambassador for, Princess Chidinma Amanda Omeonu, in her keynote address expressed her joy and satisfaction for being able to produce such a book that carries a strong message that resonates with Nigerian youths who were at a critical juncture.

Explaining that the main character in the book, IKENGA, journeyed through bitter life challenges to reach the pinnacle of success, the author seized the opportunity to advise Nigerian students to rededicate themselves to academic excellence to actualize their dreams in life. Stressing that sound education remains the key to unlocking intellectual and creative potential, Iwunwa, however, cautioned that Nigerian youths must be ready to work hard, endure hardships and deprive themselves of many things to climb the ladder of success. Hear her: “The fact remains that the road to success is not usually a smooth ride. Daily, we are confronted by different situations that test our resolve to either stay on our path or change our direction.

As a teenager, you are obviously at the beginning of your adult life. Most people at this stage in life are driven by exuberance and so prone to mistakes. How you channel your youthful energies, challenge yourself to get the best out of whatever you are doing, and how correct the mistakes you make along the way will determine whether you will eventually make it to the top.

Earlier in her welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Uchefula Ugonna Chukwumaeze, represented by the Head of the Department, of English, and Literary Studies, Dr Mrs Christiana Nneoma Onu, described Dr Iwunwa as an icon, a worthy ambassador of the department, Igbo nation and Africa as a whole. She seized the opportunity to advise the students to emulate the author who had done so much to showcase the rich Igbo and African culture on the global stage.

She advised students to embrace creative writing with constant practice. “We always encourage that our students should turn to creative writers. In as much as you are in school studying based on your course outline, I’m encouraging you to start developing your creative writing talent because it is an amazing skill for the future.

So, I encourage all of you at this level to do whatever is necessary to become creative writers”, she advised. Also in his remarks, the Departmental Academic Staff Adviser, Dr. Austin Emela, expressed joy that the department was celebrating a literary masterpiece and an ambassador of the department. He seized the opportunity to advise students to develop reading habits, which in turn could boost their creative writing skills.

The former HOD of the department, Dr Mrs Christabel Onyema, also thanked Dr Iwunwa for choosing the school for the unveiling of her new book. She expresses hope that other ex-students of the department could also emulate her and collaborate with the school in upholding academic excellence.

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