Migrating bards: Writers' burdens and a writers' body in Nigeria at the turn of the century
Wole Soyinka's 1986 Nobel Prize for literature was received as a well deserved international recognition not only of the distinction of Soyinka's sustained output but also as a tribute to Nigerian and African literature in general. However, given decades of irresponsible leadership in the country, a sober appraisal of the Nigerian cultural and intellectual front twenty years after the Nobel event reveals a shocking impoverishment of the institutions for the production and evaluation of literature. With a collapsed publishing industry and the continuing migration of Nigeria's most distinguished writers and literary critics to the West, Nigerian literature stands the risk of being subject to the dictates of legitimizing foreign agents of literary production and evaluation with the consequent danger of the perpetuation of Western biases of African literary excellence. By its crucial interventionist measures though, the Association of Nigerian Authors continues to strive to transform the socio-political environment so critical for the creation and appreciation of literature, to sustain the ideals of good writing in Nigeria and, moreover, by its annual awards of literary prizes, to remain a prominent stakeholder in the appraisal of literary excellence.
Keywords: Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Nigerian literature, Nigerian publishing industry, Wole Soyinka.
Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Vol. 45 (2) 2008: pp. 133-148