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Thursday, February 22, 2024

LIBERIAN WRITER, TEACHING IN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, WINS TOP LITERATURE AWARD

Date:

By Samuel G. Dweh

A Liberian Professor teaching English, Creative Writing, and Literature at Pennsylvania University, United States of America, has won the first prize for her latest poem—“My Name is Dawanyeno”.

The prize was the Edward Stanely Prize of Literature, organized by the Management of the Prairie Schooner Magazine in the United States of America.

The Liberian Educator’s literary achievement was relayed by Linkedin, a globally known Social Media platform, 18th of October, 2022.

The Author received congratulatory messages from some of her professional colleagues (officials of different American Universities) on the Award.

“Congratulations, Prof. Patricia Wesley! May God Almighty continue to bless you in everything you do,” Mr. Glay Eyiinahn Glay, MBA, MPH, of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development of the Columba University in the City of New York, wrote.

Mr. Richard A. Nisbett, Senior Research Associate, and African Center for Research and Evaluation, of the University of Alabama, wrote: “I am so happy for and proud of my favorite poet! Congratulations!”

“Congrats Pat!!!”, Dr. Camah Mulabah, DCS, Senior Application Programmer, and Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Training Engineering, at Harmonia Holding Group at Colorado University, USA, wrote.

This Writer, a member, and former president (2017-2022) of the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW), co-founded by today’s honored US-based Liberian Writer, wrote his congratulatory message on Linkedin. And he appealed to the American University’s Liberian Educator to spend some of her official Academic Breaks in her Home Country to conduct weekly academic Sessions in some Liberian Universities, and creative writing-related tutorials for aspiring Liberian writers.

“My honoring program will take place at Saginaw State University in March of 2023,” the Author informed this writer through an e-mail on October 28, 2022.

This Award isn’t the U.S.-based Liberian University Teacher’s first in her host-Country. In 2013, she clinched the First Prize in the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award with her 200-page Anthology (Book) of poems titled “Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems”. The monetary price tag for this Award was ten thousand United States dollars (US$10,000)

Besides producing works of Poetry, Professor Wesley is producing works of Prose. Some of her published works in this genre are: “Before the Palm Could Blossom” (published in 1998), “Become Ebony” (published in 2003), “The River is Rising” (published in 2007), “Where the River Turns” (published in 2010), “When the Wanderer Returns Home” (published in 2016), “Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems”, and “Cutthroat: A Journal of 2019”  (published in 2020)

The now-Professor is of the Grebo tribe of Maryland County, situated in the southeastern part of Liberia. Most of her attire and dress code reflect her ethnic connection.

In advanced education, she attended the University of Liberia (UL), a State-owned Institution, where she studied English and Literature. Later, she began applying her “English and Literature knowledge” by writing short fictional works (Poems), and later moved up to the production of “longer works” (Books), especially in the genre Prose.

She travelled to the United States in 2003.

The Liberian Literature Laureate has established a creative writing mentorship program for young aspiring writers in her Home Country.

She is a founding member of the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW), the Country’s current oldest writers’ body, founded on the 17th of August, 1982, at the University of Liberia (UL) when she was a student here. Some of the founding members of LAW are Mr. Keith Neuville Best (student at UL when LAW was founded), now teaching Literature and English at the B.W. Harris High School, Monrovia; Mr. K-Moses Nagbe (student of the University of Liberia), now a Doctorate Degree holder and living in the United States of America; Madam Athea Romeo Mark (of the Caribbean); Mr. William C. Allen; and Mr. Kona Khasu.

A few years later, LAW’s membership swelled on the entry of dozens of prolific and aspiring writers. Some of the new entrants are Samuel Kpabayeaze Duworko (now deceased), James Varney Dwalu, Gbawu Woiwor, and Frederick Sonpon.

On an academic sabbatical in 2019, Professor Wesley returned to her Home Country and participated in LAW’s 37th Anniversary during the leadership of this Writer & Journalist. She read some of her poems and some excerpts from her Books. Some of the readings were greeted by resounding applause from many of those in the Hall of the University of Liberia—LAW’s birthplace.

Professor Wesley is from a family background of intellectuals. One of her male cousins, Norris T Weah, had served as Director of Communications at the University of Liberia during the Presidency of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Another male cousin, Samuel Tweah, is the current Minister of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) in the current Government headed by George Manneh Weah.

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