For its 12th edition, at the Palais de la culture, the event has chosen as its theme “commitment to an active and sustainable African readership”. Because despite the presence of several bookstores and publishers in the Ivorian economic capital, interest in literature is still limited. Enough to encourage the emergence of civic initiatives aimed at strengthening the Ivorians’ book taste.
He is not a publisher, not yet a writer, but Patrick Lokrou, management controller at Abidjan, is a literary fanatic. A passion he shares with others in his reading club “Livre Échange”. Once a month, these writing lovers meet and exchange novels, essays, and even invite writers when they can.
“A certain enthusiasm” “For example, we had a great writer, a great journalist in the person of Frédéric Grah Mel who wrote the biography of Félix Houphouët-Boigny. That day we were so many that there were no more places. That is, people have “It’s just that they do not have the space to express it. So we learn a lot, not only about the guests, but also about ourselves,” explains Patrick Lokrou.
The Ivorian reader regretted that no one read about him and decided to start this club, which was born almost two years ago. Writer and poetry workshops in the forest or in the city, Patrick Lokrou fears an acculturation of his citizens due to easier access to foreign works.
“African culture is very rich” “We know that African culture is very rich. So, we must share it and why not put an emphasis on school programs and give a pride to our writers that we no longer talk about today. When Bernard Dadié “We did not get the same praise as, for example, there were other artists we know. But he was really someone who participated in this African genius of independence, the desire to be free and to really build his destiny,” adds the enthusiast.
Patrick Lokrou has set himself a future mission: to organize literature seminars in Ivorian schools.