Mobolaji Adenubi was the featured author at May’s edition of the ZODML’s Junior Secondary Reading Project (JSRP) which was held at ZODML’s Community Library on May 28, 2013. The students of Akande Dahunsi Memorial Junior High School and Government Junior Secondary School (both in Ikoyi) were invited to engage the author in a discussion of her book Just Different, a book for children exploring attitudes to physical differences and disabilities told through the experiences of a class at King's College, Lagos.
The students had read and discussed the novel with the guidance of the ZODML projects team and were quick to ask the author various thought-provoking questions about it, which she answered comprehensively. In speaking to the students, Mobolaji, the pioneer president of Women Writers of Nigeria (WRITA), a past vice-chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ (ANA) Lagos Chapter, and the author of many books including Tales from Times Before and Splendid (winner of the Okigbo Prize for Literature) revealed to them how challenging and tasking writing could be but stressed that “money can’t buy the satisfaction you get from writing.” She also told the students that one needs “to be a fantastic observer to be a good writer” and talked about how writing is a task that should be practised regardless of age. As part of her work in encouraging aspiring writers, Adenubi has launched an initiative, the Splendid Literature and Sculpture Foundation, which assists up-and-coming writers who face challenges in having their works published and publicised. Her personal experiences as a first-time writer informed the project. Towards the end of the session, three students – Agada Friday, Henrietta Agbim and Samuel Elaigwu, all from Government Junior Secondary School – had their extensions of Just Different’s ending (which they had worked on at school) selected as the top three from the group. The three students each read their continuations aloud for the audience, and the author was called upon to judge the strength of their efforts. Samuel Elaigwu’s was selected as the best, while Henritta Agbim and Agada Friday came second and third respectively. All three were given gifts of books as a reward for their hard work. Following this, Mrs Mobolaji led the students in reading an excerpt from the book aloud and took photographs with them all. Each student was presented with a take-home gift, which included the prose version of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a ZODML-branded T-shirt, and writing materials. After this, Nkechi Nkechinyere, the Chief Librarian, took the students on a tour of the library. Adenubi Mobolaji voluntarily retired from the Nigerian Federal Civil Service in 1990 to devote her time to writing. She has been promoting creative writing, particularly for children, for over two decades. [slideshow_deploy id='1269'] JSRP is one of ZODML’s monthly reading programmes (along with the Senior Secondary School Programme (SSRP) and Catch Them Young (CATHY)) aimed at developing a love for reading among students. A selection of pupils from state government schools is given a book to read and invited to our Community Library to discuss the book with its author. Authors who have attended previous JSRP sessions include Anezi Okoro and Chinyere Obi-Obasi.