The Ake Book And Arts Festival tackles the mercurial “That ‘F’ Word”

Books are a huge part of our lives. We study them, we use them for recording and analytical purposes, we consume them for leisure. But we rarely get to celebrate them, really indulge in the enjoyment of books for their own sake. This is why festivals like the Ake Book And Arts Festival matter.

The Ake Arts and Book Festival is an annual five-day programme of cultural and literature focused events centered around a carefully chosen theme.  Book chats, panel discussions, readings, workshops,  performances, and panel discussions, stage plays, film screenings, art exhibitions featuring Nigerian and international authors, writers and thinkers are arranged. Events also include school visits and a comprehensive book fair to which pupils, publishers, book lovers and the general public are invited to visit. There literally is an event for everyone, no matter your inclinations (no football viewing centres though, sorry).

This year’s festival is theme “That ‘F’ Word”. The first word that obviously comes to mind when you considering this year’s guest list is ‘female’. Women have been marginalized in all spheres of human endeavour, especially in literary circles in Nigeria, even though they are the most distinguished and celebrated writers and novelists the country has produced. This year’s Festival will put them in the spotlight, highlight their achievements, offer them a soapbox on which to explain the limitations that hinder their success and prevent them from telling their stories. Of course this year’s festival will also touch the other taboo ‘F’ word; Feminism.

This year’s Festival is happening mid-November, November 14 – 18, 2017 to be exact. One of the reasons we love the Ake festival is that it takes everyone away from the eternal frenzy of Lagos to  Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Apart from its significance as a cultural landmark and a major tourist destination (it is home to Olumo Rock) and the capital of Ogun State, it is also home to the people of Ake, an ancient community from the region and for which one of Wole Soyinka’s memoirs is named. Against the backdrop of the rocky hills of Abeokuta in the lush South Western countryside. The main venue for Ake Arts and Book Festival will be the Arts & Culture Center, Kuto, Abeokuta, which boasts of a range purposebuilt event spaces and an amphitheatre.

The best part of Ake however, apart from all the diverse events that will happen over the course of the festival are the diverse guests that have been invited from all across the world world to participate in panels, hold book readings and talks and just generally meet their fans. This year’s line up has a impressive cachet of emerging writers, singers and creators and we compiled our personal wishlist of people we would love to meet and pick brains with. But apart from them, we’d be pretty stoked to see Buzzfeed editor Bim Adewumi, writer and first lady of Kaduna state Hadiza Isma El-Rufai, Director of critically acclaimed film Isoken Jade Osiberu, linguist Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, critic and journalist Kadaria Ahmed and memoirist Samira Sanusi, Mazi Nwonu (editor of spec fic magazine Omenana) and Zinzi Clemmons.

The festival this year is organised by the Book Buzz foundation with support from its valued partners; The EU, Ogun State Government, Annoying Logo, Etisalat Nigeria and Park Inn, Abeokuta.

You can register here for this year’s festival OR in person at the Ake Festival Registration Point from 14th.

Once we know more, you guys will know more.

See you at the festival.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Akefestival


Edwin eats his rice and cabbages. Tweet at him@edgothboy


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