Ibadan Literary Society – The Idea
The formation of Ibadan Literary Society was formalised in 2010 to create a cultural map of Ìbàdàn City, Nigeria. The idea was partly inspired by the documentary film, IBADAN THE CRADLE OF LITERATTI, produced and directed by Femi Odugbemi.
Ibadan – Cradle of Education
Ìbàdàn was settled as a war camp in 1829 by Jagun Lagelu (Oro, a pata maja), the generalissimo and other war generals from Oyo kingdom, Ogbomoso, Ilesa, Ife and other Yoruba towns, after the destruction of Owu kingdom. It was established as a military outpost to prevent an attack on Oyo kingdom but 1853, had become a major progressive city in Yorubaland, especially when Reverend David Hinderer and his wife Anna of the Church Mission Society (CMS) started the first Western-style schools on 29 May 1853, with the first pupils being the children of High Chief Olumloyo (Olunloyo) – four-year old Akielle (Akinyele) and six-year old Yegide (Yejide).
Within ten years, Ibadan had become the leading centre of education and Christian growth in Yorubaland. Prior to the Hinderers, there were several islamic madrassas due to Ibadan’s closeness and association with the Fulanis and other Arabic scholars from the northern part of present day Nigeria and the republic of Mali (hence the Yoruba ‘interpretation’ of Islam as èsìn ìmàle – the religion of the Malians or the religion from Mali).
The first university in Nigeria was established in Ibadan in 1948. The University of Ibadan was started as a College of the University of London and later became a full degree-awarding university in 1962.
Literary & Cultural Hub
Ìbàdàn became the literary and cultural hub of Nigeria prior to colonial independence, with several writers, artists and scholars living and researching in the city, a position reinforced with the establishment of the university, the formation of Mbari Arts movement, and the setting up of many publishing houses, including the Nigerian offices of the Oxford University Press, Heinemann Educational Publishers, Evans Brothers, Cambridge University Press, Spectrum Books, Mosuro Publishers (Booksellers), Kraft Books, Book Kraft, etc. Rev. Samuel Johnson (24 June 1846 – 29 April 1901) did most of the research for his book, A History of the Yorubas from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate, in Ibadan; Isaac Babalola Akinyele (18 April 1882 – 30 May 1964), later the Olubadan of Ìbàdàn wrote Iwe Itan Ibadan in 1911.
Other writers with association to Ìbàdàn include Wole Soyinka (the first African Nobel Literature laureate), Ulli Beier, Duro Ladipo, Kola Ogunmola, Es’kia Mphahlele, J. F. Odunjo (Alawiye), I. O. Delano, Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, Ọlawunmi Ẹrinlẹ, Adebayo Faleti, Akinwunmi Isola, Molara Ogundipe, Zulu Sofola, Femi Osofisan, Bode Sowande, Kole Omotoso, Mabel Segun, Niyi Osundare, Remi Raji-Ojelade, Lola Soneyin, Odia Ofeimun, Abimbola Adelakun, Yemi Ajibade, Rotimi Babatunde, Toyin Falola, Agbo Areo (Pacesetters), and many other artists.
Why the Ibadan Literary Society:
A key objective of this project is the creation of a Literacy Map of Ibadan, providing biographical and bibliographical data on writers and artists (including those already listed) associated with Ibadan. We are also going to be establishing a Centre in Ibadan consisting of galleries, a museum, conference facilities, archival system and a major research centre on the growth and development of culture and literature in Nigeria.
Two key projects of the ILS will be the staging of the annual Ibadan Book Festival, which will be heralded yearly by the Ibadan Book Conference. The maiden edition of the Conference was held Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the Conference Centre on the theme “The Book, the People and the Challenges of Growth”. It discussed the situation of the book industry as it affects every player in the publishing sector, especially in Ibadan, and Nigeria in general. It also brought sharp focus on how Ibadan could once again become the hub of literary activities as it was in the past. The Book conference was strategically positioned as a prelude to the maiden IBADAN BOOK FESTIVAL, which holds June 13-17 in the course of the 70th birthday anniversary celebration of the dramatist and Theatre scholar, Prof. Femi Osofisan.
The journey has begun:
The Ibadan Literary Society website was launched exactly a year ago and the Society’s official launch was slated for October 2015 but circumstances prevented the official launch. What we are doing today (11 June 2016) is merely a symbolic introduction of this project that we firmly believe will help restore the glory of our beloved city as the very cradle of literati not only in Nigeria but on the continent of Africa.
NB: The Poet laureate and university Teacher, PROFESSOR NIYI OSUNDARE, poet, dramatist, essayist, media columnist and Distinguished Professor of African Studies at the University of New Orleans, has kindly accepted to be the Founding Chair of the IBADAN LITERARY SOCIETY.
Contact: For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Twitter @ibadanliterary. You can also follow developments on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ibadan-Literary-Society/109430739393000) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ibadanliterarysociety/?hl=en )