Topic: The Climax of Read-a-Ghana-Book Month Time: Mar 31, 2021, 03:00 PM Africa/Accra Join Zoom
The Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) has decided to establish the month of March as the READ-A-GHANA-BOOK MONTH. The idea is to encourage every Ghanaian who can read to read at least one book written by a Ghanaian or published in Ghana. This is not meant to suggest that we don’t encourage reading throughout the year. We do but we wish to put a very special emphasis on March. We hope that the reading habit will catch on and return the country to its reading ways.
We have selected the month of March because it is Ghana’s birth month and therefore, perhaps the most important month in our nation’s history. For that reason, we want to associate it with one of the most necessary and healthy habits that mother Ghana would want to inculcate in her children. Furthermore, we all know that the leaders of our nation’s independence movement put a great store by education and reading. We believe that by linking reading to our independence month, we underline the fact that literacy is a necessary precondition to the fulfillment of the dreams of independence.Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that the reading culture in Ghana has fallen drastically. This is especially true of the youth and this has serious consequences for the development and future of our country.
As we all know, it is only through reading that we discover knowledge and it is only through reading that we become familiar with laid down instructions, rules, and regulations. When people decide for any reason not to read it creates a culture in which indiscipline, illiteracy, and impunity become the order of the day. We believe strongly that the current spate of mass indiscipline is related to the drastic fall in reading in the country. GAW, therefore, hopes to rekindle the reading culture by declaring the month of March a READ-A-GHANA-BOOK month.
The main point of this call is to encourage every Ghanaian to read a book written by a Ghanaian anywhere or published in Ghana. That is our definition of a Ghana or Ghanaian book for this declaration. During the month, GAW will coordinate public readings of Ghanaian literature for children and adults and engage with different stakeholders to publicize this purpose through public readings and media exposure of the readers and Ghanaian books. We are calling on publishers and booksellers, especially booksellers and self-published authors to reduce the cost of books for this month to encourage more people to read our books. Over the years, Ghanaian writers have written thousands of books that collectively help to define us and our heritage. Unfortunately, this literature is only a hidden treasure to the majority of our people. We believe that we must lead our people to unearth this national treasure. This is what this month is about. Of course, as writers, we have direct self-interest in promoting our books.
As we have often stated, the reader is our market and without the reader, there will be no literature because literature is communication involving the creator and an audience.To achieve our objective, we are also calling on libraries to stock and promote Ghanaian books more vigorously this month. We are also encouraging teachers at all levels, but especially those in primary, JHS, and SHS to bring Ghanaian books more to the attention of students. We are calling on parents to buy Ghanaian books, or rent Ghanaian books from libraries for their children and wards. Above all, we are calling on the media to support this campaign. Perhaps we need to emphasize the fact that the media have also suffered as a result of the drastic drop in reading over the past three decades or so. There was a time when it was almost standard for people in trotros and all kinds of public transport to read newspapers during the journey. Now, you would struggle to find a single person so engaged even on the longest journeys. This lack of reading is the main cause of the drastic drop in newspaper sales in this country.
By the way, illiteracy does not only affect newspaper sales. It also has an impact on the audiences for news, current affairs, and other serious programmes on radio and television. Naturally, people who do not read obviously cannot be bothered by online media. Therefore, the media must be our natural allies in this endeavour. It is a win-win result for all of us and Ghana. One of the main activities envisaged throughout the month is giving away books to winners of literary quizzes on the media. GAW will provide books for newspapers as well as broadcast presenters of morning and evening shows to give away to winners of quiz questions. We hope to do this throughout the month. We will be happy to read Ghanaian books on radio and television and we hope that all newspapers will publish short stories and reviews throughout the month.
We also encourage our regional branches and groups interested in reading projects to join us. They are all free to devise their strategies for the month. We want schools, groups, the media, and all interested people to use innovative ways to encourage people to read Ghanaian literature. We have already called on our members to donate books to be used for quizzes and if we do get a good response, we will put some books in a few trotros and long-distance buses for passengers to read on their journeys. This will not only assist in informing, educating, and entertaining ourselves but also inculcate in all of us but especially the youth, the need to read frequently to simply enjoy reading Ghana books and become more knowledgeable about our country.
GAW expects that this month would be made one of fun using social, print, and electronic media as we interact among ourselves through, quizzes, readings, and others at various places including markets, buses, schools, etc.
Let us repeat our appeal to booksellers, publishers, and authors to create special discount prices for books during the month. We have a small bookshop at PAWA House which sells Ghanaian books. Charity begins at home, so there will be a discount on all such books throughout the month. We call on all Ghanaians everywhere to support this initiative because a reading nation is a winning nation.