Monrovia — Over the weekend, a new bookstore was launched by Monrovia READS, a reading literacy NGO. "The NOOK BOOK Store", according to the founder Mr. D. Othniel Forte, "attempts to fill a major gap in the provision of Liberian literature. There are several places to get books from, but nowhere, in this entire country, gathers only Liberian books.
The NOOKBOOK store will serve primarily as a 'literary space'. "By this we mean, a one-stop-spot for Liberian literature. People will now have at least one place to get three important services; read, research and or purchase Liberian books. But equally as important is that creatives need a space to freely exercise their creativity."
"We will hold book launches and book chats, master classes, workshops, book clubs etc. Any author can use our space for any of their events. One does not need to be a member to avail of our space. They can just book in advance. We intend to have literary programs weekly."
The day began with a morning writer's workshop facilitated by two acclaimed Liberian writers, H. Jande Golakai and D. Othniel Forte.
Miss Golakai, the Morland Foundation Prize 2019 winner, author, and a former adjunct professor at Cuttington University, ran the first section, "The Elements of Prose". She encouraged participant to use their creativity to "tell burning stories that have never been told."
The next section, "The Elements of Poetry", was conducted by Mr. Forte, author, publisher at FORTE Publishing, editor of several West African anthologies, and lecturer at Cuttington University. He encouraged participants to study the Masters and use the abundant literary tools available to them when writing. "Poetry is a whole lot more than just rhyming."
The workshop was attended by writers and some notable authors- Katurah York Cooper- You can Lead, and Eva Mappy Morgan, Legal Ethics; Augurie Stevens, whose new book is expected to be published by December 2020. There were also members of We Write Liberia, Liberian Poet Society and individual writers.
The evening session was the official opening of the bookstore. The chief launcher, Mary Broh of the General Services Agency (GSA), praised the organizers for their efforts. She said, "As an avid reader, it's encouraging to see these many books by Liberian writers." She reminisced about growing up in a society that encouraged reading. She hopes others will take advantage of the space, as she intends to do so whenever she can.
This NOOKBOOK located on 24th Street, is housed at the Nakele Brisbane Academy. When asked why the school provided a space, its proprietress, Ms. Lovette Tucker, said, "There was a need for a Liberian only space. The situation was that dire. We provided a space to fulfil a shared need. We want to be a steady location for booklovers and other literati. This is important for our school and students. As this partnership with Monrovia READS fulfils an important goal of our school- to develop the creativity and critical thinking skills of our learners."