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Dr. Tijan M. Sallah donates $300 to the Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG)

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Over the weekend, famous Gambian poet and scholar Dr. TijanM. Sallah donated $300 to the Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG). The donation is meant to support the development of the association and Gambian literature.

 Dr. Tijan M. Sallah wrote, ‘Dear Mr. Sowe, I am delighted to hear about the continuing growth of the YWAG and your plans to build a website. You should be congratulated for your efforts. The growth and development of any national literature often rest on a few committed and determined few. I look forward to working with your group and other Gambian writers to develop it into a major platform for the development of Gambian literature. 

Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, founder and president of the Young Writers’ Association of The Gambia (YWAG) hailed Dr. Tijan M. Sallah among top Gambian scholars and urged young people to take him as a mentor and emulate his good work.  ML Age-Almusaf Sowe said Dr. Sallah has the interest of the country at heart and has been advising behind the scenes. 

‘‘For the records, we are not a group of young people who attack the government or individuals. We are a responsible community of young Gambian writers’ promoting a literary culture in the Gambia and beyond. We promote SDG goal 4 (quality education) and reading and writing. We look at what is missing in our society for the young people and try to do it for ourselves than blame the government. This donation came at a better time when two things are about to happen: we are about to stage the second annual National Storytelling Competition 2023 and open calls for application for the 2023 Gambia Prize for Literature (GPL). When I was awarded the African Literature Award in January 2022, it was because of two things: my contributions to the development of African literature and my book (Don’t Judge The Book by The Cover). If I can be awarded for my contributions to the development of African literature, I should be able to do more for my country. Dr. Tijan M. Sallah has been watching me from afar with other seasoned Gambian scholars such as Dr. Ebrima Ceesay, Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha, HassoumCeesay, Momodou Sabally, Michael Hamadi Secka, and BaabaSillah. Their advice and guidance served as a catalyst to do more for my country. This is not the first time Dr. Tijan M. Sallah has donated to Gambian writers. I can recall vividly in 2019-2020 when I was the SG of WAG, through my lobbying efforts and polite approach, he donated the sum of $1000 to the WAG,’’ said ML Sowe.

‘At the YWAG, we want to create hundreds of jobs for young people in the creative industries, particularly those in the field of literature and publishing. As observed, many young people are doing spoken word poetry and writing and launching books every month. That should send a very clear message to all, especially the authorities in charge of arts and culture. We need the support of everyone to realize this objective of strengthening the culture and creative industries for employment generation and inclusive growth and development. The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE), and the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), despite not dealing with arts and culture, has always been seen as our key partners to invest in literature and young people,’ Sowe conluded. 

On Saturday, 12th November 2022, the Young Writers’ Association of The Gambia (YWAG), acting according to its constitution appointed new executive members to steer the affairs of the association for the next two years. The leadership of the association and a membership of over 300 young people have unanimously re-elected award-winning author, ModouLamin Age-Almusaf Sowe to lead the association. ML Sowe, who was awarded the African Literature Award in January 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA– whom, many Gambians considered to be ‘the face of Gambian literature’, has successfully helped over 100 young Gambian writers become successful poets, writers, and authors— and continues to break national and international records in the annals of the country’s literary history. The Young Writers’ Association of The Gambia (YWAG) aims to promote writing and book reading for national development. The mission of the association is to encourage cultural education, unity, and ethical values through creative writing. 

The YWAG aims to enhance young people academically and culturally, and build insight into social development. The vision of the association is to create a Gambia firmly rooted in culture and values through the art of creative writing and storytelling. The Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG) was established in 2012 in the Gambia as a community of young Gambian writers promoting literacy and literature. The YWAG was previously considered a youth wing under the Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) but it now operates on its own. The association is legally registered with the Ministry of Justice and is a non-profit association that interacts with networks, and discusses the advancement of young Gambian writers for individual development and nation-building.

The YWAG is planning to host the second annual National Storytelling Competition in January 2023, move to its new office space, and open calls for applications for the 2023 KuntaKinteh International Book Festival 2023 and The Gambia Prize for Literature 2023.

The new executive members of the YWAG are:

1.     Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe (author of Don’t Judge The Book by The Cover) – Founder and President,

2.     Saffiatou Joof ( author of Under The Spell of Poetry) – Vice President and Spokesperson

3.     Kebba S. Juwara (author of Spilled Beans) – Secretary-General

4.     Fatou Joof (author of My Scars) – Assistant Secretary-General

5.     Ansu Jatta – PRO and Program Officer

6.     Saihou Ngallan – Media and Communications Officer

7.     Sanusi Camara (author of Call Me Abou) – Publication and Publishing Officer

8.     Kawsu Sanneh ( author of Tribal Grudges) – Copyright and Intellectual Property Officer

9.     Fatoumatta Bayo ( author of Sorrows of A Stepmother) – Women and Gender Officer

10. Fatima Alhassan Jallow – Accountant

11. Bassi Mbye – National Mobilizer

12. Omar Drammeh – Social Secretary

Source: Media and Communications Unit, YWAG

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