As a follow-up to the ‘Bring Back The Book’ initiative of the administration of President Jonathan, the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, has resolved to stage a one-day conference of stakeholders in the Book industry and the creative and educational communities to fashion out an implementable document that could guide the President and his team in the quest to encourage reading culture and as well place importance on the Book as a source of knowledge acquisition and manpower development, according to Deji Toye, CORA’s Project Director and coordinator of the Conference.
The conference holds on January 17, 2010 in Lagos and is expected to attract a fairly large congregation of stakeholders in the relevant indus tries, including from governmental agencies, said CORA’s programme team.
The theme of the one-day conference is ‘When the President Wants to Bring Back the Book: So What’s To Be Done Now?’ And it is billed for the Banquet Hall, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos; 9am – 6pm.
The ‘Bring Back the Book’ campaign had been launched on December 20 with the President joining the Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka in a reading session for over 400 students drawn from as many as 100 schools around Lagos at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The programme also witnessed the formal presentation of the book, President Goodluck Jonathan: My Friends and I, Conversations on Policy and Governance via Facebook, during which about five top Nigerian hip-hop musicians performed to a crowd of about 5000 people at the new Expo Hall of Eko Hotel.
According to CORA , the January 17 conference is a desired follow-up to ensure that the dream behind the project is kept alive even as the country gradually slips into the mood of electioneering “when we tend to forget every other critical aspect of our national life”.
The conference, states CORA, aims to ‘gain the insight of stakeholders in the book industry on the current practical challenges of conceptualisation, production, distribution and consumption of books in Nigeria and its impact on the reading culture’; and obtain suggestions on what steps may be taken to address the said challenges with a view to reversing the waning reading culture, such steps including –
• any cultural/economic policies
• legal/regulatory frameworks
• market/supply-side innovations; and
•civil society initiatives.
Deliberations and suggestions at the conference will be presented to the ‘Bring Back the Book’ coordinators in the Presidency. It should also provide a reference point for a pan-industry advocacy for the revival of the reading culture and the revitalisation of the book industry.
Participants are to be to be drawn from the entire value chain of the book industry including the following: Publishers, booksellers and book dealers, authors, printers, libraries/librarians, book and literary event organisers/promoters (book clubs, literary festivals etc), educationists, renowned corporate promoters of book and literary initiatives, book and education-focused MDAs and Nigerian Academy of Letters”, stated CORA.