A renowned, retired American magician and professor, Edward Donald Wortman, is presently in the country for a 2-month research mission with a view to gathering information for a book he is planning to write on Gambian cultures and people.
The 52-year-old from Arkansas says he wants to promote Gambia on the international stage because the cultures of the nation should be known to people all over the world.
Speaking to our reporter, Mr. Wortman said the book will be based on the cultures and people of The Gambia, adding that it will be like a window into their day to day lives. He hopes the book will contain over 2,000 photos of different areas, species of animals as well as cultural and historical sites.
Before publishing the book, professor Wortman says he will engage in a speaking tour of American universities to educate people on The Gambia and drum up interest in his publication.
In July 2007, the first steps towards publication were taken when the professor sent brief samples of the book to the Gambia’s embassy in the United States, St. Mary’s College in the US, The Gambia Tourism Office and Arts and Culture in The Gambia.
As there was such interest in the publication, Professor Wortman engaged with a Gambian counterpart, Ebrima Agibou Jallow; who teaches at Jamisa Lower Basic School, to undertake the necessary research ahead of publication. Mr. Jallow will travel back to the United States with the professor ahead of the completion of the volume.
They will however retain the services of their main correspondent on the ground in The Gambia, Ousman Bojang, who will furnish them with any additional information they may need to complete the book.
The book is expected to be finished in one year at which time professor Wortman says he will invite the international press to the launch so as to maximise worldwide exposure of both the book and The Gambia.