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Exhibitions, plays, workshop headline Ake festival

By Prisca Sam-Duru

Arrangements have been concluded for the take-off of the 2015 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival, a yearly literary feast, billed to hold at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto-Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital. Expected at the festival which begins from Tuesday November 17th through Thursday 21st, are some of world’s renowned writers, filmmakers, artists, scholars and thinkers for the 5-day event.

Byenyau Jessica, Mrs Lola Shoneyin and a guest during the press briefing in Lagos
Byenyau Jessica, Mrs Lola Shoneyin and a guest during the press briefing in Lagos

Themed ‘Engaging the Fringe’, the festival focuses on the genres and creative endeavour that are deprived of same attention as Art forms considered as mainstream.

It will also explore topics about African life and living in Africa in an honest, open and constructive way which is aimed at advancing goals to develop, promote and celebrate creativity on the African continent, on African turf.

The Festival’s Project Director, Mrs Lola Shoneyin and the festival’s Senior Communication Manager, Miss Byenyau Jessica at a press conference in Lagos, took time to announce line up for this year’s event.

They hinted that the festival will showcase the very best of contemporary African literature, music, art, film and theatre. Features include 8 book chats, 3 art exhibitions, 1 play, 2 in-depth interviews, school visits, 18 stimulating panel discussions, 3documentary screenings, 2 films screenings and a poetry performance event.

Renowned poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare, Angolan writer and TV host Imanni Da Sylva, and Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State, are among top writers and resource persons expected at the event.  Osundare will sit in a conversation with author and editor, Kunle Ajibade, while Dr Olaokun Soyinka will sit with Imanni Da Sylva and in another panel moderated by Kadaria Ahmed. Governor El-rufai will talk about Minding the business of Africa with Howard French of the New York Times.

In collaboration with Etisalat Nigeria, Ifeoma Fafunwa’s Hear Word!, will be staged for the very first time at the Ake Arts and Book Festival. HEAR WORD!, a powerful stage play that combines artistry, social commentary and true-life stories of inequality and transformation will be delivered by some of Nigeria’s most talented actresses: Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Omonor, Elvina Ibru, Ufuoma McDermott, Zara Udofia, Lala Akindoju, Rita Edward, Debbie Ohiri and Odenike.

Also, 16 books will be discussed in 8 book chats at the event which include; Maaza Mengiste’s Beneath the Lions Gaze, Pius Adesanmi’s Naija No Dey Carry Last, Helon Habila’s Oil on Water, EC Osondu’s This House is not for Sale, Irenosie Okojie’s Butterfly Fish, and others. Also billed to hold at the event are three documentaries that will be screened. They include, Behind the Veil, a documentary that focuses on diversity issues in Nigeria, No Where To Run To:Climate Change and Nigeria’s Environmental Crisis.

Rolling Dollar: A legend unplugged, celebrates the music of late Fatai Rolling Dollar. Other highlights of the event are fiction writing workshop with Helon Habila, Taiye Selasi, and Nnedi Okorafor, three exhibitions; a commemorative exhibition in memory of felled environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa titled, Ken Saro-Wiwa: 20 Years On; a stunning exhibition of photographs by Andrew Eseibo and others.




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