One of the features of the triennial LittWorld conference organized by Media Associates International (MAI) which LittAfrica, scheduled for November 4-8 in Accra, Ghana, is patterned after, are workshop sessions during which speakers on various areas of expertise in publishing address participants.
The Journalists for Christ International Outreach, Nigeria fellowship of September 21 in Lagos at which I spoke on the Ministry of the Writing turned out to be a foretaste of the kind of the engaging mutual learning session participants at the Ghana conference should look up to.
The presentation and review of African Writers: A Journey in Writing by MAI offered insights on experiences of some Christian writers across the continent in their journeys to fulfilling the call to write despite various challenges they had to cope with.
The writers featured in the book with diverse professional backgrounds include Joan Campbell (South Africa), Stella Okoronkwo ( Cote d’Ivoire), Jennifer Karina (Kenya), Joanna Ilboudo ( Burkina Faso), Posunnam Yiri (Nigeria), Solomon Andria ( Cote d’Ivoire), Buma Kor ( Cameroon), and myself are some of the speakers at LittAfrica.
Others are Preka Toty ( Cote d’Ivoire), Joel Sergio (Angola) and Lillian Tindyebwa (Uganda).
Writing as I noted at the meeting is God’s gift which must not be taken for granted. It must be developed and used to glorify God.
“Writing can address current issues of our day. Writers can transform lives using the gift God has given them. He will give you opportunities to stand for righteousness” says Ilboudo in the collection. IIboudo has been director of a radio station and magazine editor for more than twenty years.
For writers who sometimes get discouraged, Karina, a psychologist and professional coach notes in the book, “despite the many challenges of writing, God is faithful. “Fear not for I am always with you” he constantly comforts me. He also reminds me, “It is not always about you, it is about the bigger picture.”
Sergio writes about the benefits of attending MAI conferences like the one coming up in Ghana.
“After I had published my first book, I attended the LitWorld workshop in Limuru, Kenya, where I learnt a lot from some famous and respected Christian authors, such as Jeanette Windle and Robin Jones Gunn. There, I also had the opportunity to network and engage with some African colleagues with whom I still communicate. Applying all I had learnt at LittWorld about ghost writing and co-authoring, I wrote and published two more books.”
MAI is a print media ministry that seeks to equip men and women to create life-transforming books and articles in their language.
Sessions at LittAfrica will include editorial development, marketing, designs, printing, digital media and consultations.
The JFC fellowship was also an opportunity to stress the need for local authors to, as Betty Abbah, journalist, author and gender advocate puts it, “document national institutional memories that present and future generations can learn from.” The issue of publishing being either ministry or business or both was also extensively discussed by participants who were curious about how to fund their passion for writing. We agreed that it was both with clear understanding of the issues involved.
For the book and the conference, Founding Chair of MAI-Africa, Wambura Kimunyu’s prayer in the foreword is what I also pray and hope for.
“ I pay that the journeys they ( writers) share in this anthology will inspire you, challenge you, and ignite in you a vision to be a part of what God is doing through MAI to equip the Church in Africa so that it can transform individuals, societies, and nations through the power of the written word”
And the writers and publishers of the word say Amen and Amen!