It has been an exciting experience so far. When we started out in 2015, meetings of Uyo Book Club were held at Dr Udeme Nana’s residence. The Club hosted visitors like the former Chairman of the State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Elder Patrick Albert, South-South Editor of Premium Times, Mr Cletus Ukpong and the multiple international award-winning investigative journalist, Mr Ibanga Isine. We held the Club meetings weekly, every Saturday, in the years the Club met at Dr Nana’s residence, all the books on display were from his personal collections. The Club had cause to move house to the E-library in Uyo when it hosted Eunice Atuejide, author of “The Girl who Said She Can”.
When the great journalist, one of the founders of NEWSWATCH magazine and one time International Editor of the year, Ray Ekpu accepted an invitation to read with the Club, a need arose to search for a bigger and more auspicious venue.
Fortunately, the Club met a lover of book reading and a writer, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson who owns a 4-star hotel in the heart of Uyo. He agreed to host our august visitor and thereafter gave the Club permission to use the “Shakespeare’s hall” in the hotel whenever it was necessary for the Club to meet. Since 2019, the Club has been meeting once a month; every last Saturday of the month. For his deep interest in books and support for the vision of the Club, he was installed as the first Patron of the Club. In between, the Club has organised COLLOQUIUA in honour of William Shakespeare, John Pepper Clarke, and Ken Saro Wiwa. The Uyo Book Club has also played host to Jude Idada, 2019 winner of the LNG Prize in Children’s literature, Dr Wale Okediran, currently the Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers Association, PAWA and former National President, Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA. In November 2020, the club held a special colloquium to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Arc ( Obong ) Victor Attah, a former Governor of the State acclaimed as the father of modern Akwa Ibom State.
The Uyo Book Club has no restrictions on membership. It is free and open to everybody – teenagers, young adults, adults and both men and women. Recently, a Bookseller, Mr Ekom Henry Itauma donated 80 copies of various books to the Club. The Club is growing steadily and is a Member of the Network of Reading Clubs and Book Promoters in Nigeria. In September 2021, the club hosted the first-ever National conference of Book clubs and reading promoters in Nigeria.