As part of its goal of promoting literature and reading among Nigerians, the Goethe-Institut Nigeria
organised a workshop for writers and illustrators of children’s books that were aimed at bringing
together artists in an environment where they can improve their craft.
This workshop arose from the realisation for reading to become part of the culture, children need to be introduced to as a practice at a very young age, and good literature is needed for them to become engaged in the art of reading.
Ute Krause, a renowned writer of over sixty children’s books published around the world led the workshop alongside Abdulkareem Baba Aminu, an award-winning cartoonist and editor of the Daily Trust Saturday.
On Sunday, 17 March 2019, the facilitators met with the artists at Angels and Muse, Ikoyi for the first of five daily sessions. According to Safurat Balogun, Head of Information and Library at Goethe-Institut Nigeria, the artists were selected from a pool of over 50 applicants.
The chosen writers and illustrators (writers: Aduke Gomez, Bukola Ayinde, Funmi Ilori, Hadiza Muhammad, Sope Martins, and Ugochinyelu Anidi; illustrators: Baba Aminu Mustafa, Edwin Irabor, Folashade Adeshida, Francis Umendu Odupute, Olanrewaju Gafar, Henry Ezeokeke) are professionals from different parts of Nigeria, at various stages of their careers—some with published works and others with projects still in development.
The writers and illustrators worked on stories conceived and written during the workshop. The stories were edited by the facilitators and the illustrators were guided through working with traditional painting methods—watercolour—as a way of returning to the basics and learning techniques that would improve their mostly digital practice.
On the fourth day of the workshop, Enajite Efemuaye, Managing Editor of Kachifo Limited, visited
the workshop to interact with participants about the publishing end of their craft and it was an
engaging session filled with questions about the business of art. Working together for the duration of the workshop also helped the writers and illustrators understand the different parts of their practices because workshops, where writers and illustrators work in close proximity, are a rarity.
The participants and facilitators left the workshop excited at the potential of improving on relationships formed, and already made plans for working reunions and professional collaborations.