By Jusu A. Gow
Most Liberians of my generation grew up on the literary works of A Doris Banks Henries (The Liberian Nation: A Short History), Prof. Wilton Sankawulo (While Nobody Knows When He Will Die), Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu (Liberian History up to 1847), and works of the great poet Bai T Moore (Murder in the cassava patch).
Liberia has always been blessed with good and prolific writers in different genres of literature, whether fiction or nonfiction or poetry. TLC Africa currently features many book reviews of diverse Liberian writers, and I think it is important that Liberians promote their own. There are many Liberian novels found on Amazon as well. These brilliant writers have touched every aspect of the Liberian life. For instance, former justice minister, Cllr. Christina Tah gives an immense insight into politics in her memoir “Listen to the Songs the Children Sing.” Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey touches on the societal menace of corruption in her children novel “Gbagba” which is Bassa for crooked ways or trickery. Former lands and mines minister and former Invincible Eleven (IE) president Dr. Joe G. Richards gave an immense insight on the mining and energy sector in his novel “Journey of a Liberian Mining Engineer.” There are also short stories and folklores like that of Mr. Michael Dioubate’s “Laughter of a Crazy Man,” and there are romantic novels like “Palm Wine Love” by Lionel Bernard and other novels showcasing family stories like “The House at Sugar Beach” by Helene Cooper. The list is endless…
My suggestions: There are many ways we can promote our Liberian writers while learning about our unique heritage and history at the same time. Give your children gifts of Liberian novels, and send Liberian novels to your friends and family members as birthday gifts. Also, you can commit yourself to opening a library in your home and fill those shelves with Liberian novels, and you and your family will always have something to read about. The Liberian movie industry could also explore some of those literary works for the big screen. The Ministry of Education could tap into the valuable resources provided in those novels for the students.
I believe the wealth of information found in these novels alone can give Liberians a sense of pride and influence their decision-making in carving a better future for Liberia.