The Organising Secretary of the Ghana Writers Association (GAW), Oswald Okaitei, has expressed his disappointment in the government for not paying attention to writing, an integral part of the creative industry.

In an interview with Joy FM, Oswald, also a poet and playwright, said “this beautiful aspect of the creative arts” has been abandoned. 

“How often do we hear governments mention investment in that aspect? Unfortunately, a lot more people even see writing as sector under education when in actual sense it is sub set of fine art under the universal set of creative art. Its products only benefit the educational sector,” he said. 

As the world mark International Writers Day, he used the opportunity to charge the government to invest in writing and consider it more as an art form than an educational component. 

“There should be a deliberate attempt by governments to make writing attractive as it was in the days that birthed our golden generation of writers—the Efua Sutherlands, Awoonors, Anyidoho’s, Ama Ata Aidoos, among others.

Let the state lead in bettering the literary frontier and thus the writing business,” he noted.

He added that publishing has been a major problem for most writers in Ghana.

“There’s no or little publishing opportunity for writers, especially Fiction writers. Alas, their manuscripts are kept under beds after writing. And thus, the writing business not made lucrative and attractive,” he said. 

Talking about how the Ghana Writers Association will celebrate the International Writers’ Day in Ghana, Oswald said unfortunately the occasion has not received the needed buzz as it should have in Ghana. 

“That in reality, is the portrait of the writers situation in our immediate society. Seeming to be the first time it is being commemorated in Ghana, the Ghana Association of Writers is networking with some media houses to create a sensitization about it. We’re hopeful that in coming years there would be planned activities to commemorate it,” he said. 

That notwithstanding, Oswald Okaitei stated that GAW has taken some steps to improve writing in Ghana.

Government should make writing more attractive - Oswald Okaitei
Executives of Ghana Writers Association (GAW), staff and Secretary General of Pan-African Writers Association

“In the past years, there have been pockets of workshops and activities to hold the writing flame glowing. Top of it is the rebirth of the annual GAW Literary Awards that honours works of deserving writers and, seeks to raise another set of golden generation of Ghanaian writers,” he told Joy FM. 

About International Writers’ Day 

World Day of the Writer is celebrated in almost all countries every year on 3rd March.

The full name of this holiday is World Peace Day for the Writer, it was established by the decision of the 48th Congress of the International PEN Club (International PEN Club), which was held from January 12 to 18, 1986. PEN was founded in London in 1921. 

The name of the organization is an abbreviation formed by the first letters of the English words Poets – poets, Essayists – essayists, Novels – novelists. Interestingly, the abbreviation in this case coincides with the word pen – translated from English – a pen.

The idea of creating the organization belongs to the English writer Katherine Amy Dawson-Scott (Mrs. C.A. Dawson Scott). John Galsworthy became the first president of PEN. In 1923, the first international congress of the PEN Club took place in London, at that time PEN centers were established in 11 countries of the world. Today, such centers operate in 130 countries.

It is an international association of writers, which, as stated in the PEN Charter, “advocates the principles of freedom of information within each country and between all countries.” Its members pledge to oppose the suppression of free speech in any form in the countries and societies to which they belong, and throughout the world, whenever possible.

PEN advocates freedom of the press and opposes the arbitrary use of censorship in times of peace. PEN believes that the necessary advancement of mankind to higher forms of political and economic organization requires free criticism of government, government and political institutions.

Since freedom implies voluntary restraint, PEN members are committed to opposing such negative aspects of a free press as false publications, deliberate falsification, distortion of facts, or tendentiously dishonest interpretation for political, group and personal goals.

The holiday itself – International Writer’s Day – is celebrated today in many countries of the world, and not only by writers, but is also considered a professional holiday of all representatives of the “fourth power” – the print media.

Ceremonies of presenting various literary awards and honoring the most distinguished literary figures are often timed to coincide with this day.

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