News - April 23, 2021

‘Village Boy’ wins Africa’s UN SDG Book Club recognition

‘Village Boy’, the latest classical story written by Anietie Usen, the former Associate Editor and later General Editor, Newswatch magazine, has won the African Chapter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Book Club recognition.
The book presented to the public barely a month ago, is a thrilling funny story depicting a real life travailing experience of a typical African child raised in poverty-striken neigbhourhood, but who, against all odds, surmounted life’s obstacles to attain excellence.
Since its presentation, the book has been receiving rave reviews from local and national newspapers and publications for its uniqueness, packaged in simple, but breezy language; full of suspense and interest.
Usen broke the news of the global recognition of his book on his Facebook page on Thursday.
He said the pleasant news was conveyed to him via an email and phone call he received on Thursday morning from Anna Kharuchas of the United Nations Information Centre in Namibia.
Kharuchas, he said, announced that  ‘Village Boy’ emerged at the international scene as the top read among books selected in both the SDG 1 and 2 categories for “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” respectively.
The congratulatory letter addressed to him, Usen said, was signed by the Chairman of the Management Committee of the SDG Book Club, African Chapter, Wale Okediran.
In the letter, Okediran announced that ‘Village Boy’ would be officially unveiled on Friday, April 23, 2021, as part of a series of events to commemorate the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book and Copyright Day.
During the event, Okediran said information about ‘Village Boy’ would be showcased on the SDG Book Club website hosted by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Namibia.
“It is our pleasure to notify you also that reading clubs and schools (in Africa) have begun to sign up to buy and read your book”, Usen quoted Okediran as disclosing in the letter.
Consequently, he urged that “a strong digital presence of ‘Village Boy’ is critical to becoming a competitive part of the global conversation…”
The UN SDG Book Club, African Chapter is in partnership with African Publishers Network (APNET), Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), African Library & Information Association  (ALILIA), Literature For All Nations (LAN), etc in promoting books, reading culture as well as authors, illustrators and publishers across the continent.
Also, the club is aimed at fostering collaboration within the book industry, just as it enhances opportunities for Intra-African book trade
Usen, himself “the original village boy”, appears to be telling his own life story through ‘Village Boy’.
From the dusty plains of one of the smallest communities in Akwa Ibom, Usen, by dint of grit, determination and hardwork, surmounted the viccicitudes of his growing days as a youth, to reach the pinnacle of his profession as one of the most successful journalists Nigeria produced of his era.
Several reviews of ‘Village Boy’ have described it as “the inimitable and absorbing adventure into village life in southern Nigeria, exploring in a rather poignant manner, the issues of poverty, hunger, suffering and smiling in a  typical Southern Nigerian setting.”
The book appeals in different ways to all strata of the society.
“For adults, the book resonates as a nostalgia to relish. For the younger generation, the book is not just a breezy window to the 60s and 70s, but the veritable binoculars to trace the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, in the proverbial good old days. And for teachers and students in secondary and tertiary institutions, this is a study in creative writing. It is unputdownable,” Usen said of ‘Village Boy’.
Meanwhile, Okediran said the Publishers of ‘Village Boy’, Parresia Publishing Limited, Lagos, would be rewarded by the UN SDG Book Club, with special stickers “that can be used for the e-book and reprinted copies” of the book.
To ensure the book meets the growing demand following the latest UN award, the publishers confirmed the second edition of the book has already gone to the press for a reprint.

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