Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Maynooth University launches Ken Saro-Wiwa Award

I am delighted to report that Maynooth University has launched the Ken Saro-Wiwa Award.
This award of €2,000 will be awarded to a current or incoming postgraduate at Maynooth University  in September 2015.

In November 2011, Sister Majella McCarron (OLA) donated a collection of letters and poems to Maynooth University Library, which she received from Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.  Saro-Wiwa was leading a peaceful protest against the activities of the international petrochemical industry in the Niger Delta and was executed along with eight other (the Ogoni 9) in November 1995, despite widespread international protest. Recognising the importance of the collection, I was pleased to have the opportunity to work with two colleagues on editing the letters which were published - with introductory essays, photographs and poems - as “Silence Would be Treason: Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa” (Corley, Fallon & Cox, 2013).  The book, launched by Dr Owens Wiwa at MU Library in 2013, is available to buy  in MU Library or via the University Bookshop,
e-mail university.bookshop@nuim.ie and on Amazon.
The original correspondence and other materials relating to Ken Saro-Wiwa are held in  MU Library and have recently been included in the newly launched Digital Repository of Ireland
IN 2012, I worked with a colleague in the MU Departmentof Adult and Community Education, on integrating the Ken Saro-Wiwa collection into the undergraduate curriculum. While archives are frequently used in postgraduate programmes, they are less common in undergraduate programmes, although this is changing particularly in the US.  We detailed our experiences in “Death RowCorrespondence: Integrating the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archive into an Undergraduate Program"
MU Library and Kairos Communications have produced the freely available Ken Saro-Wiwa Audio Archive, a collection of recordings of people connected with Ken Saro-Wiwa.  The audio archive has been broadcast on Irish national radio and by University of Ibadan Radio.  It is the subject of a chapter “The Librarian and the Media Producer: Creating an Audio Archive based on a Unique Collection,” by myself and Anne O’Brien from Kairos, in “Enhancing Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century Academic Library” (edited by Bradford Lee Eden, Rowman and Little, 2015).
The Library has worked to promote the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archives as widely as possible.  Our main endeavours to date are detailed in a recent article I wrote for SCONUL Focus

To mark the 20th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the launch of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Award, Noo Saro-Wiwa will visit MU Library on 10th November 2015 and read from her book “Looking for Transwonderland” which is an evocative account of her journey, as an adult, back to Nigeria.

Helen Fallon.

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