In its bid to promote literacy and a sustainable reading culture and support schools in developing reading spaces in Nigeria especially among the youths, renowned author, Lola Shoneyin, through her foundation, the Book Buzz Foundation is set to complement the efforts of existing book festivals with the hosting of new art and book festivals in Nigeria. The new art and literary festival known as Ake Arts and Book Festival (AABF) is scheduled to run from November 19-24, at Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State.
The six day cultural, art and literary festival with the theme “The Shadow of Memory” seeks to explore the impact of Africa’s rich but chequered past on the present, and the extent to which this has been captured in African literature and the arts. The festival which will be graced by Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka will also witness the presence of about 103 local and international quest artists that will impact knowledge to the participants during the festival.
In a media parley with art writers in Lagos, Lola Shoneyin disclosed that all necessary arrangements have been put in place for the hosting of the maiden edition of the festival . Highlighting some of the events of the festival, festival coordinator stated that there will be workshops, master classes ranging from creating graphic novels to effective editing, panels with discussions on the representation of women in African Literature and the realities of Post-conflict African societies, book chats, book fair, an art exhibition and more.
These will include readings, master classes, workshops, performances and talks delivered by both Nigerian and international authors, thinkers, poets, filmmakers, actors, artists and academics.
Events will also include schools visits, a stage play, film showings, a musical concert, library openings and a comprehensive book fair to which pupils, publishers and book buyers will be invited. Members of the public will be invited to participate in these events to promote social inclusion.
Discussions will touch important issues such as the public and individual perception of nationhood and how truly free freedom of expression is in Africa. More targeted themes such as women’s rights and child literacy will also be addressed, as a way of examining how the arts can contribute to development in these areas.
The author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives said, “we are launching 10 books at the festival and we are collaborating with Bounty Press to ensure that all the books written by our visiting authors are available at the festival bookstores.”
The festival will afford writers, poets, designers and manufacturers cherish the opportunity to showcase their arts-related work, their books, their inventions and their products.
It will also feature writing competitions for children’ which will be open to children of 11-16 years and the winning 400-word story will be published as a picture book and will be available for purchase at the Ake Arts & Book Festival.”
AABF is supported by World Bank, while the events will also be supported and jointly funded by Shell Nigeria Ltd, Chevron, the British Council, Goethe Institute, British Airways, Channels TV and the Ekiti State Government.