Gombe: A Rising Literary Star In Northern Nigeria

Through the wind of time, for close to a decade, the Northern Nigeria creative industry has grown wider than one could ever imagine – as various cities, including Kano, Minna, Zaria, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Abuja, and a few others have been at the forefront – making waves on the Nigerian literary scene. Many artworks have been produced there as young people use their creativity to tell their beautiful stories and yet the social issues that have surrounded the Northern Nigeria region. So in recent years, many literary communities were founded in those cities to accommodate young talents while grooming them to craft amazing works of art. These communities include the likes of Hill-top Creative Arts Foundation, which was founded by BM Dzukogi in Minna, Niger state – the foundation has spread its roots to many states in Nigeria – setting branches in almost all regions of the country – creating a platform where teenagers and young adults come to display and harness their talents. Poetic Wednesdays Initiative, also founded by Salim Yunusa in Zaria, Kaduna state. Open Arts is also in the city of Kaduna, founded by Sada Malumfashi. Kaduna Poetry Hub, also in the city of Kaduna, which Umar Faruk founded. Minna Literary Society, also in Minna, Niger state, was founded by Abdulrahman M Abu-Yaman and his team. Borno Literary Society was founded by a group of young people in Maiduguri called the “Mega Minds” of Borno. Suleiman Hassan Gimba and other young people in Damaturu, Yobe state, also founded the Yobe Literary Society. Sunshine Literary Club was founded by Aliyu Idrees and his team in Yola, Adamawa state.

When it comes to promoting literary arts in the North Eastern region of the country, Gombe is not exempted. When you take a look at the literary scene, you can find that the state has risen to show the world what it is capable of. With its young adults and teenagers constantly pushing their art beyond the Savannah hills, the state has given birth to lots of talented writers and poets whose craft pave the way for the state to gain recognition in literary development in Nigeria.

A review of the Gombe literary community cannot be complete without mentioning the name of Adamu Usman Garko, an essayist, short story writer, poet, and the author of the poetry collection “When Day Breaks.” He draws inspiration from famous writers such as Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Umar Abubakar Sidi, and the great Shakespeare.

Garko has shown interest in art at a very young age and that has pushed him a way ahead of his peers and fueled his journey into the literary world. So it built him a good profile to win the Nigerian Prize for Teen Authors 2020 (Poetry Category) and emerged as a finalist at the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (2018). He has published intellectually-rich articles and insightful essays on national dailies which mostly captured national issues and a call for the Nigerian youths to rise from their sleep and turn their dreams into reality in their quest to become the great leaders of tomorrow. He has also been invited to many fora as a Guest Speaker, notable among them are HIASFEST in 2021, YELF Literary Evening in 2018, and Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange in 2022.

Garko has grown to be a prominent name in Nigeria’s literary industry. He was invited by the Wole Soyinka to his hometown in Ogun State, where he had a face-to-face encounter with the nobel laureate. He’s been mentoring lots of teenagers and has also been organizing a creative writing workshop tagged “Jewel Writing Workshop.” Through such commitments, he aims to add more value to his immediate community, thereby making it a better and more peaceful society.

Presently, Garko serves as the pioneer Director of African Operations at Applied Worldwide, a US-based firm. He is a very talented and ambitious personality who the world will always look out for.

Salim Yakubu Akko is also a household name in the Gombe literary community. In a few years, as a protege of Adamu Usman Garko, he has learned how to master his craft well, thereby producing thought-provoking essays and painting beautiful poems which are full of vivid imagery. He has been published in numerous national dailies and reputable international journals. It is his consistency and the magic he can mould out of the pen, also for being an honest and trustworthy personality that amazed Bill Ward, the founder of World Voices Magazine to appoint him as the Nigeria’s correspondent of the magazine. The position has pushed him into doing lots of works that promote literary arts and give young talents in his community a voice. Salim’s debut poetry collection, “Into Ashes,” won the 2022 Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers in Gombe. And recently, he emerged as the first runner-up (Poetry Category) at the North East Festival of Literature, Culture, and Creativity organized by Halima Factor Community Initiative.

There is also Hisham Saleh Gidado – an essayist, short story writer, and poet who always finds a way to captivate his readers with his compelling and well-narrated prose. He has been published in reputable magazines and newspapers. He is also a guest contributor at Applied Worldwide Nigeria and the Current Affairs editor at TodayPost Newspaper. He has won many literary prizes such as the 2020 Halima Factor Community Initiative Intermediary Essay Writing Competition, and Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers 2021, and recently, he also emerged as the second runner-up (Prose Category) at the North East Festival of Literature, Culture, and Creativity organized by Halima Factor Community Initiative.

Ibrahim Saleh Maina and Suleiman Adamu Kumo are also two bright stars shining their way into the literary world. They are being recognized as teen authors for winning the Nigerian Prize For Teen Authors (Poetry & Prose Category) in 2021. With their published works – they have proved to be promising literary stars whose lights will never dim. 

However, other geniuses in Gombe include Mubarak Sa’id, Sarah Daniel, Nusaiba Alkasim, Abubakar M. Usman, Yusrah Idrees, Haruna Rasheed, and others.

In all these, one cannot leave out the efforts of Mallam Muhammad Isa Gaude and the entire team of the Gombe Jewel Writers Association in making the literary space accommodating for every aspiring and published writer in Gombe state.

As states like Taraba and its counterparts are still struggling to map their feet on the literary scene, we can see that in the various communities of Gombe, young talents are emerging with every rise of the sun – pouring out an undying passion and enthusiasm for the art.

With these established and emerging talents sprouting from the nooks and crannies of Gombe and clinching literary prizes in the country, there is no way, one can distort the fact that the state is currently the rising literary star in Northern Nigeria.

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