.2021 Nobel Prize Winner

…with Nobel Laurette Gurnah as a headliner

By Prisca Sam-Duru

 The annual Ake Arts and Books Festival, a three-day cultural and literature-focused event, will, for the second year, hold virtually from October 28th – 30th, 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to disrupt global businesses and logistics.

The Ake Arts and Books Festival is one of the initiatives of the Book Buzz Foundation Nigeria which was founded by the award-winning author and poet Lola Shoneyin. Supported by Sterling Bank Plc since 2018, this year’s edition will feature book chats, panel discussions, performances, documentaries centring on African and international writers and thinkers.

This year’s edition of the festival is tagged ‘Generational Discordance’, and according to the director, “the Internet has exposed generational differences in almost every area of our lives on the African continent. From relationships, love and marriage; spirituality and religion; gender and feminism to politics and activism, the differences in perspective are glaring. Where earlier generations of Africans are anchored to their cultural identities, our younger compatriots see themselves as a part of a globalised world. It is easy to assume that our aspirations are poles apart but they are not. Africa cannot afford the luxury of endless culture wars. We must eschew the sensationalism and divisive influence of digital algorithms and find a more harmonious continental rhythm that allows us to talk to, and not past, each other.”

In addition to exciting and lively book chats and panel discussions, Ake Festival is curating 6 intergenerational conversations on themes that impact our lives in very real ways.  Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman, stated that the bank has continued its partnership with the festival because the bank believes in the transformative power of education and the arts.

 “Education is one of the five major sectors of the Nigerian economy that the bank is presently focusing investment in under its HEART of Sterling programme. The other sectors are health, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation”.

The festival will feature book chats, panel discussion, film, music, poetry, Yoruba culture and interviews. Some of the book discussions will be Bring Back Our Girls by Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson; Lionheart Girl by Yaba Badoe; His Only Wife by Peace Medie; Formation: The Making of Nigeria from Jihad to Amalgamation by Fola Fagbule and Feyi Fawehinmi; Prince of Monkeys by Nnamdi Ehirim; When the Sky is Ready The Stars Will Appear by EC Osondu and The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Dorkoa Sekyiamah; and The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon.

Apart from the intergeneration conversations, panel discussions will focus The African Crime-writing, Conspiracy theories and Healthcare; Disability rights, repatriating Africa’s stolen treasures and a discussion moderated by Harper Collins’s (UK) Nancy Adimora which explores Of This Our Country, a new collection of essays and reflections by 24 Nigerian writers.

 The Life and Times Series will feature Booker-Prize shortlisted author Maaza Mengiste, in conversation with newly crowned 2021 Nobel Laurette, Tanzanian author and headliner, Prof Abdulrazak Gurnah. Since its inception in 2013, the Aké Arts and Book Festival has featured new and established writers from the African continent and its global diaspora with a view to promoting, developing and celebrating creativity, Culture and the Arts on the African continent.

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