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Abuja authors honor the region’s first female novelist

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It was an awe-inspiring and stimulating event, as the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Abuja chapter, welcomed the distinguished writer, poet and women’s rights activist, Hajia Hafsat Abdulwaheed, as the special guest for the November Reading/Writers Dialogue.

The event, which held recently at the Mamman Vatsa Writers Village, Mpape, Abuja, was graced by the UNESCO Country Representative for Nigeria, Dr Abdourahman Diallo; Secretary General, Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), Dr Wale Okediran; university lecturers, students, among others.

Hajia Hafsat is not only celebrated as the first female author from Northern Nigeria, but also as the first female governorship aspirant in Zamfara State, illustrating her relentless pursuit of gender equality and social justice.

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the chapter, Arc. Chukwudi Eze, noted that Hajia Hafsat’s works embodied the essence of Northern Nigeria’s rich cultural tapestry, while also challenging traditional norms and promoting gender equality. He explained that the association extended its invitation to Hajia Hafsat in the spirit of inclusion, which celebrates diversity and recognises excellence in the written craft.

Eze further acknowledged that her writing has the power to evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, and inspire change. While appreciating the attendees, Arc. Eze disclosed that Professor E.E. Sule Literary Prize had been added to the list of prizes the chapter awards every month to encourage literary creativity.

During the interview session, Hajia Hafsat shed light on the roots of women’s subjugation in Nigerian society, attributing it to the selfishness of most men. She urged the audience to recognise the urgent need for empowering women to become self-reliant, emphasizing that such empowerment is crucial in addressing the multitude of challenges women face today.

Having experienced the challenges of gender disparity firsthand, the guest author encouraged more women to venture into politics, highlighting the remarkable potential women possess in governance. Her noteworthy achievements in Zamfara State, combined with her activities as an author and women’s rights advocate, serve as a testament to her unwavering belief in women’s capabilities. She further noted that education remained a powerful tool for self liberation and the ultimate change of the society.

Born into a family of esteemed writers, she revealed that writing had always come naturally to her. Her works reflect the realities and experiences of her environment, boldly addressing societal issues and influencing positive change.

Addressing the aspiring writers in the audience who were mostly secondary school and university students, Hajia Hafsat urged them to channel their creativity towards topics that resonated with the society and strive to bring about positive transformations. She said her commitment to using writing as a tool for social change was unbothered, even as she believed that every piece of criticism she received propelled her to push boundaries and do more.

“I write everyday,” confessed Hajia Hafsat as she concluded her interview session. Highlighting the importance of consistent dedication, passion, and commitment to refining one’s craft, she revealed that her success as a writer was a result of her unwavering discipline and commitment to her craft. Her commitment to her craft serves as an inspiration to aspiring writers and reinforces the belief that continuous practice is key to achieving greatness.

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