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Liberian poets assemble for Monrovia 2.0 this weekend in Monrovia

By Ralph Geeplay                        
Monrovia will come alive this weekend when the much anticipated and
expected poetry reading takes place on the Congo Town Back Road, behind the Ministry of Health, and right opposite the Chinese Restaurant. Liberian writer and poetry enthusiast Forte Otheniel, who is headlining the event,
says some of Liberia’s finest writers will be reading in
what is expected to be an eventful night. Recent attempts to make Monrovia
and adjacent cities the center of multiple readings is gradually paying
off. These efforts are geared towards growing the cultural scene, in an
effort for Liberians to appreciate the rich history of their society and
history through readings. The ongoing effort is gradually thriving, and
residents are warming up to the theater, reports say.

Dubbed Monrovia Reads 2.0, the reading will take place on Friday April 21,
this weekend to much fanfare. Liberia of late has seen a wave of fresh
talents emerging on the national scene; and weekends such as what this
event aims to accomplish, Mr. Forte says, is to give residents a festive
educational, but entertaining nights to look forward to, instead of the
usual night club scenes which has dominated the capital sea side city of
Monrovia and adjacent cities. Events like these are also intended to
expose and endear Liberian writers to the local and burgeoning tourist
audience, especially in a society where politics is king. The event is also
expected to explore Liberia’s collective memory and its history while
bringing to bear the challenges of contemporary thoughts of  Liberia’s
tradition and identity, much needed in a country where officialdom over the
years has given the arts lip service—with no support, according to

The organizer and brains behind Monrovia reads 2.0, Othniel Forte is a
Liberian author and folklorist. His poems are lively and does tell the
Liberian story by weaving a tapestry of a resilient people who have lived
through peacetime, war and are rebuilding.

The Liberian native hails from Montserrado County, Virginia, and began
writing at an early age. His 2013 paper back, “Famous Liberian Folklore: A
collection of Short Stories from across Liberia” told a telling narrative
of the country and the “wealth of knowledge lodged in the great minds of
[it’s] elders. The characters [were] in every sense [a compilation of]
ordinary people who did the extraordinary [things].” Foretelling the “pain
and sorrows, joy and happiness they experienced” which remains the same today on the landscape inhibited by a new generation of Liberians, now eager to learn and celebrate their forebears and ancestors.

Monrovia Reads 2.0, this Friday will be fun and entertaining, with local
cuisine, drinks and an assortment of different eateries on display. It will
be a great opportunity to meet new people of like minds interested in
Liberian literature and arts, with plenty of laughter, learning and meet
and greet in toll. The event is expected to last for two hours [6-8pm].

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