For all those who participated in the #GogeAfrica20 Writing Contest and have been wondering who the Writing Contest jurors are, wait no more! Here are the profiles and faces of those saddled with the responsibility of selecting our creative writers in concordance with the laid down pre-competition guidelines.
June Wainaina had a career in IT after graduating in a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Computer Science from Walter Sisulu University. A subsequent diversion saw her focus on Public Relations and Marketing with strong leaning on communication. Specifically, the generation of a three-thousand member email database and it’s subsequent linkage to the relevant website. June established hitherto unheard of poetry and other “reading” events such as the monthly Kwani? Poetry Open Mic and Sunday Salon (Nairobi chapter). She also helped organize the inaugural Pan African Literary Festival(PALF) in Ghana.
In an effort to support her (then) teenage son’s career, at the time an O-Level Drama student and lead actor at Brookhouse School, June attained a Certificate in Camera, Lights & Sound from Mohammed Amin Film School in Nairobi. After a brief stint of both television and film acting, June is now establishing her career in film production.
An active Rotarian, June also enjoys cooking and entertaining guests at home when she is not traveling.
Deborah A. Wright is a retired Reference Librarian/Administrator from the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (Charleston, SC, USA). She was born in York, South Carolina, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Albany. As a university student, Deborah participated in language and history study abroad programs in Mexico and in Puerto Rico. Additionally, she has traveled in West Africa to Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Benin. She has also traveled in the Caribbean (West Indies) to Barbados, and notably on multiple research trips to Jamaica, West Indies.
Prior to working at the College of Charleston, Deborah was a Public Educator and Field Office Administrator for the Office of Public Education and Interpretation of the African Burial Ground Project in New York City, USA. Deborah has done extensive research on African American music and has written Jazz music appreciation curriculum for alternative schools in New York City. She recently served as Associate Editor of The South Carolina Black History Bugle, an educational resource magazine for elementary school students. She serves as Editor of the Avery Messenger, the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center’s news magazine.
Deborah is a co-founder of the Charleston Remembrance Program, which for the past twenty-one years, has hosted programming honoring Africans who perished DURING the trans-Atlantic slave trade’s Middle Passage. She is a member of The International Coalition to Commemorate African Ancestors of the Middle Passage (ICCAAMP) established to organize activities designed to remember the millions of Africans who were sold, kidnapped, shipped then died along the route from Africa to the Americas. She worked with Goge Africa during their early formative years, hosting networking parties, conducting interviews and writing articles for the magazine, and generally promoting the Goge Africa mission.
Tracy Osokolo is a Creative Writer and Author of “Red Pepper and English Tea” (Award Winner for Best New Fiction). She inspires change through Writing and Entrepreneurship. At 19, the Commonwealth of Nations sponsored a documentary about her life for British and Nigerian Television. She is a recipient of the 2012 ANBUKRAFT Award for Creative Excellence in Literature and the July 2008 Creative Writing Scholarship of the PALF at New York University.
She was a Resident Writer at the 2012 London Olympics and a Writing Fellow of the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Program, sponsored by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is a World Bank Scholar and McKinsey Next Generation Women Leaders Award Finalist. She lives in Lagos with her husband and children, where she is currently enroute to a PhD in English.
Lillian Amah-Aluko has both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English from the University of Lagos and a certificate in Film Production from the University of California School of Theatre, Film and Television. She is an actor, producer and writer.
As a Writer, Producer, Actor, Lillian has several nominations and awards to her credit. After youth service in SPDC Lagos, Lillian joined the private sector where she spent 15 years before resigning in 2005 after a five-year stint with Fidelity Bank PLC where her last role was heading the Private Banking Unit. She owns and runs New Dawn Productions Limited and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Nigeria’s Premier Lighting and Events Management Company Zmirage Multimedia Limited, owned and managed by technical theater expert Olateju Wasee Kareem.
Lillian was a lecturer in the English department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Satellite Campus in Lagos under Prof. Agwonorobo Eruvbetine as Head of Department from 1999 to 2001. She has retained her interest in the education sector over the years acting as a judge, mentor and speaker at several youth focused events such as University of Ibadan Havana Festival Students union lecture in 2010, Nigerian Economics Students Association (NECA) of Obafemi Awolowo University Leadership Qualities in Entrepreneurship Development (LQED) program in August 2018, Actors Guild of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter members training in 2018 and Girls Day Out with Oyinkan (GDOW) in February 2017 to mention a few.
Lillian has worked with several notable directors such as Jimi Odumosu, Okey Ogunjiofor, Tunji Bamishigbin, Tade Ogidan, Pat Oghre- Imoibio, Tope Oshin Ogun, Victor Sanchez, George Sunom Kura, Ben Chiadika, Ehis Ojeseobolo, Oliver Aleoghena, Aquila Njamah and Pat Oghre-Imoibhio.
She has featured in notable productions including Out Of Bounds, Hit and Run, Cyberia, The Valley Between, The Head of State, Four Fathers, Wife Hunter, Deep Ends, MNET’s Doctors Quarters, Tinsel and Hush. Lillian’s stage credits include a queen for Domingos produced by Aboyowa Ikomi, Imaguero directed by William Ekpo and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat produced by Ike Eseka.
Lillian has produced The Triangle, She Devil, Sweet Revenge, Jungle Ride, Runs, After the I’Dos and the yet to be released My Grandfather’s Wife . She also produced from inception the first 6 seasons of the Zmirage Multimedia Ltd.’s four Country International Cultural Exchange tour Preemptive Seven, which metamorphosed into the Open Door Series Project WS. This International Cultural Exchange Project in honor of Professor Wole Soyinka just finished its tenth season with Lillian now in the role of Consulting Producer. Lillian also produced The Ogun State Culture and Tourism documentary and The Health Zone which premiered on Channels Television in April 2015.
Lillian’s first novel “Echoes of a Heartbeat” was shortlisted for the ANA 2011 prize in women writing. Her second novel “Dreams of Yesterday” was released by Krafts Books in April 2015. She is currently working on her third book.
Lillian has several nominations and awards to her credit including – 2019- JTAH 10 most inspiring women in Nigeria, 2018- MSAA Best Legend Icon award, 2016 – City People Special Recognition Award, 2015 -Hollywood Weekly Film Festival Special Recognition Award, 2014 -Distinguished Personality in the Arts Award by FEGOCOWOSA old students Association Lagos Branch, Afro Hollywood’s best cross over actress 2011, The Reel awards – Best New actress-1998 and Thema awards – Best upcoming actress – 1998.
Lillian is a member of The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), a Director of Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), a past (2 term) Vice President of the Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria (AMP), current chairperson of Federal Government College Warri Old Students Association (FEGOCOWOSA) Lagos Branch and Executive Director/Co-Founder of Women in Entertainment Advancement Network (WEAN). A KUTH ambassador, ambassador for Niola Cancer Care foundation and a firm believer in the saying “this too shall pass”, Lillian’s motto is “Life is short so live it to the fullest.”
Temitayo Olofinlua is an award-winning creative writer and editor who calls herself a content busybody. Her first and second degrees are in Literature-in-English.
She is currently a Ph.D. student at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
PROF. CHRIS ANYOKWU
Dr. Chris Anyoku is an associate professor of English at the University of Lagos, where he teaches Poetry, African Literature and Theory of Literature. With over 20 years span in the academia, he has supervised hundreds of undergraduate and master students and currently supervising 5 PhD theses.
As an accomplished writer cum creative, Dr. Chris has 14 published books, 11 plays, collection of poems, and academic journal publications to his credit. His works are the plays, A Parade of Madmen, Homecoming, Ufuoma, Termites, Bloodlines and other Plays, Beyond the Wall and other Plays; the short story collection, OI’Soja and other Stories; and the poetry volume, Naked Truth.
Azuh Arinze is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine and Convener of the YES INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE ANNUAL LECTURE. He served as the Editor of ENCOMIUM Weekly between 2003 and 2011.
Before that, and as a 26-year-old, he had edited REEL STARS Magazine. He has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication from the famous Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the Lagos State University.
Azuh was named AFRICA’S BEST ENTERTAINMENT WRITER in 2010 by the organizers of African Film Awards UK. He is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, Rotary International and AES Excellence Club and has attended certificate courses at PMA-Press Association, in London and Pan-Atlantic University, in Lagos, Nigeria.
Married to Nkoli and blessed with two adorable children, Nmesomachukwu and Nekenechukwu, Azuh, who is also a member of The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, enjoys reading and singing, and plays Ambassadorial Roles for Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Lagos State Government (Ministry of the Environment).
A bestselling author, his first three books, THE CEO’s BIBLE (1&2) and TESTED AND TRUSTED SUCCESS SECRETS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, are still being talked about. His fourth book, SUCCESS IS NOT SERVED A LA CARTE, will be presented to the public in 2020.
Kehinde Badiru writes poetry, short stories, non-fiction and essays. He is the author of “I Know Why Your Mother Cries” and “Mbok Don’t Kopa Me”. His poems and illustrations have appeared on Sprinng, AweLagos, Business Day, Bella Naija and elsewhere.
Kehinde was the Editor-in-Chief of The Cornerstone Magazine and Features editor of Heartbeat Magazine. He is the founder of “Write Now”, Nigeria’s foremost Creative Writing NGO. Kehinde loves Smooth Jazz music and he holds an M.A Degree in English Literature from The University of Lagos and a B.A degree in English Language from Osun State University, Nigeria.
He is currently writing a debut Short Stories collection and a new volume of poetry. A Print-copy of his I Know Why Your Mother Cries is forthcoming in July, 2020.
Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @Badirukehinde
ANDREW IROGUEHI OKUNGBOWA
Born on July 14, 1964 in Benin City, Edo State to Mr. John Ogierakhi (Late) and Mrs. Victoria Amenaghawon Okungbowa of Oredo Local Government Area, Benin City.
He had his primary school education in Izevbigie Primary School, Benin City and secondary School Education at Edokpolor Grammar School, Benin City.
He studied at University of Benin, Benin City where he graduated with BA in Theatre Arts and then proceeded to old Imo State now Abia State for his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) for one year. At the end of his service year, he returned to Benin City before re-locating to Lagos.
Through encounter with friends in other professions and journalism, he entered into journalism and did a post graduate diploma programme in Journalism at the University of Lagos, Akoka, where he also earned a Master degree in English (Litt).
He started his journalism career as a freelancer after working few months in a photography outlet as a sale representative.
He freelanced with Daily Times Newspaper for almost a year before gaining full employment with the defunct Sunday Republic Newspaper where he was Arts and Culture reporter.
In 1993, he joined The Guardian Newspaper (Sunday Guardian) as a reporter covering the Arts, and later leisure and tourism and then assumed the position of Travel and Tourism correspondent. He also had the privilege of being one of the pioneering reporters for the Guardian Life (In the stable of The Guardian) covering Travel and Tourism.
After two decades in the Guardian, he left in 2013 to set up a media and travel consultancy outlet. He has had the privilege of handling media work and consultation for a few individuals and corporate bodies.
He also worked for over a year with the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) as Administrative Secretary and in December 2013 was called to join the pioneering team of New Telegraph Newspaper as Editor, Travel and Tourism.
He has over the period attended several training and certification courses in Journalism, travel and tourism, public relations and marketing, publishing, use of Microsoft and page building among others.
He is also widely travelled and has had the privilege of attending and covering major travel events across the world with particular reference to the four internationally recognized travel exhibitions: WTM in London, ITB Berlin, FITUR, Spain and Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai.
By the same token, he has also widely travelled across the country covering major events and tourist destinations and interacted widely with stakeholders and operators across the divide. There is hardly any state, city or town and notable tourist destination or attraction that in the course of over two decades of work as travel and tourism reporter that one has not covered with special flair for destination reportage.
He is happily married with three children.
Professional Goal: As a professional journalist, travel and tourism expert as well as media and tourism consultant, my basic goal is to contribute to the growth and development of society through effective dissemination of information, advocacy and capacity building in my area of core competences.
OLUBUNMI ABODERIN TALABI
Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi is an author; the publisher of Clever Clogs Books and the convener of the Akada Children’s Book Festival. She is passionate about creating visually-engaging, culturally-relevant content for children, and has a desire to see steadily increasing literacy rates across the country.
Olubunmi is also the immediate past Executive Council Chairperson of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ); the Chairperson, Board of Trustees, of the OA Foundation; and a Member of the Media and Publicity Sub-Committee for the 2019 Nigerian Economic Summit.
She started her publishing career working in a family newspaper business, Punch Nigeria Limited. She has served on the board of Punch for over 24 years and worked in an executive capacity for 8 years as the Executive Director, Business Development and New Projects. She was also the first Managing Director for the startup Punch Commercial Printing Limited, a subsidiary of Punch Nigeria Limited, specializing in the production of high volume, newsprint and bond paper publications. Punch Nigeria Limited is the publisher of the highest circulating national daily newspaper in Nigeria THE PUNCH. Olubunmi is currently a Non-Executive Director at Punch. (www.punchng.com)
Olubunmi has written a number of articles in the areas of commerce, agriculture, resource maximization, sanitation and land use in Nigeria. Her passion for writing developed into collaborating with talented artists to create beautifully-illustrated children’s picture books designed to make reading attractive, inspire innovation and excite children, parents and teachers.
Her published works include: Tobi Visits the Conservatory; Kob the Antelope; Diary of a Toddler and Why Do You Wash Your Hands? (www.cleverclogsbooks.com) Olubunmi has read her books and given keynote speeches at numerous conferences; schools; book clubs; and events in various parts of Nigeria and internationally.
Olubunmi, has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from City University London, and has also completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School as well as the Advanced Management & Leadership Program at Oxford University Said Business School. Olubunmi is a member of the Institute of Directors Nigeria; the Young Presidents’ Organization; the Corporate Governance Society of Nigeria and the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria.
Articles written by Olubunmi have been published in several national daily newspapers, such as PUNCH, BusinessDay, Guardian, Nation, Vanguard, New Telegraph, Sun, This Day and others. Some of her work can be found on reason.com.ng.
HOPE OBIOMA OPARA
President / Founder Eko International Film Festival
He holds a Masters of Business Administration( MBA) and he is a member of Member: Association of Movie Practitioners (AMP) & Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), also an Associate Registered Practitioner in Advertising ( arpa) of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. He is a Fellow Institute of Certified Business Consultants (ICBC), Nigeria an affiliate of ICBC Canada/USA.
He is the Managing Director of Supple Communications Limited and Flonnal Limited. He is from Umuahia Abia State.
He established Supple Magazine (www.supplemagazine.org) which is a film, and a film festival media and also having attended some major European film festivals inspired him to establish a film festival with the motive to replicate major film festivals around the world in Nigeria for the growth and development of the Nigerian film industry “Nollywood “.
The festival is celebrating her 10th Anniversary in 2020.
He was invited by University of Southern California Los Angeles USA as a panelist during their 9th annual Cultural Diplomacy Conference Where he made a presentation on ‘Film Festival creating Platform for cross cultural dialogue and film acting as a soft power for change in the society’.
He was also official invited to the Oscar Awards in Hollywood in 2014. He also wrote a paper on ‘Film and Cultural Diplomacy Nollywood Case’ which published in the bi-annual magazine of the Cultural Public Diplomacy Department of University of Southern California.
As the organizer of the annual Eko International Film Festival, he secured collaboration with US Embassy in Nigeria for American Documentary Show Case in 2016 including a partnership with the Polish Embassy.
Eko International Film Festival is in her 8th edition 2017.