THE SAIL – a maiden anthology of creative work by the boys of Whitesands School was launched in a public presentation on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
This publication, 88 pages long, features poetry, prose fiction, drama, essays, and visual arts. The ages of the boys in the publication range from 12 to 15.
Present at the launch at the school in Lekki, Lagos, were parents of the boys whose works were deemed to have been excellent enough to make the top three in each category. Also invited was the wife of the former governor of Lagos State (and also a parent of the school), Mrs. Bimbola Fashola, as well as the founder of Feathers & Ink (the publishing outfit that published the book), Mr. Nwachukwu Egbunike. There were also students invited from other schools, including boys from Day Waterman (Abeokuta), and a few journalists. Members of the school’s management were also present, as well as all the students in the school numbering about 500.
According to the principal of the school, Dr. Lorenzo David, this effort was embarked upon to give students of the school another outlet for their creative potentials. It will now be a yearly event. Writing in his Editor’s Note in the book, the editor of the book (and also the subject teacher of English Language in the school), Mr. Kola Olatubosun remarks that “the tone, the theme, the style, and the overall preoccupation of all the works submitted” has convinced the school “that this is a project worth completing and worth celebrating”. Speaking about the effort, Mr. Olatubosun says that projects like this are long overdue in tapping the creative energies of these young adults now that they have all the time in the world. “Keeping the work forever visible in a book form is a way of keeping the work in public record, especially for the boys’ future university admission officer,” he said.
The winner in the prose category was Elton Odoemenam with his short story titled Beserk while the poetry winner was Tamilore Ogunbanjo with his work titled The Mask. The top essay prize went to Chukwuka Omene for Bullying and Its Many Dimensions while the top art prize went to Chukwudubem Okoli for his painting Independence, which was also used as the cover of the book.
The prose fiction entries were judged by the winner of the 2012 Nigerian Prize for Literature, Dr. Chika Unigwe, while the poetry was judged by the winner of the 2013 edition, Barrister Tade Ipadeola, who was also present as the book reviewer. The judges for the 2015 competition for the second edition of The Sail haven’t been announced yet.
Each student in the school has received a copy of the book for free. Parents present at the event have been presented with complementary copies as well the teachers in the school. Plans are underway, Mr. Olatubosun said, to have the work available, for free, download online (and on other mobile devices) for the general public.
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