Lola Shoneyin, Governor Ibikunle Amosu, First lady of Ogun State, Ogun State Commisioner of Culture and Tourism and Commisioner of Culture and Tourism

Lola Shoneyin, Governor Ibikunle Amosu, First lady of Ogun State, Ogun State Commisioner of Culture and Tourism and Commisioner of Culture and Tourism

The Ake Arts & Books Festival was hosted in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria from 18-22 November. The festival organised by Lola Shoneyin and her team had a huge number of very cool artists to attend a literary festival if this list is anything to go by. This is one of the festivals where I couldn’t find a single complaint from the guests who had attended which was a bit disconcerting as bloggeratti like myself need controversy. Drama and mishaps are the things that drive traffic and none seemed to be forthcoming and for this I salute the team.

Not on offer ;'(

Not on offer ;'(

The festival supported by the governor of Abeokuta State Ibikunle Amosu and his administration itself had many events. There were films and plays galore for those who want to experience the written word as acted by thespians who know their craft. No Nollywood type fare with ghosts looking left and right before crossing the road or mermaids which had brooms for the tails were on offer. The films and documentaries were the likes of Yeepa a filmed play by Tunde Kelani and October 1 by Kunle Afolayan and The Art of Ama Ato Aido by Yaba Badoe. Then there was plays like Qudus: My Exile is in my Head and a musical Call Mr. Robeson.

This blog is not one dedicated to all the arts but has a focus on literature from the continent and there was a lot on offer on this for those lucky folks who love African lit in Abeokuta State. There were book chats with fans of books chatting with authors like Okey Ndibe, Nnedi Okorafor, Zukiswa Wanner, Nike Campbell-Fatoki, Yejide Kilanko, Barnaby Philips, Chude Jideonwo. And Olusegun Obasanjo who was president of Nigeria and has several books of the memoir type to his name. There also the launch of Beverly Nambozo‘s poetry anthology A Thousand Voices Rising. Also in the house was Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka who we are all celebrating as he goes through Soyinka @ 80.

There there many panel discussions where authors of prose and poetry discussed such topics as Mutation and Mutilation: Feminism in Africa, What are publishers looking for in fiction, Poisonous Gas: The Crude Oil Politics in West Africa and many more.

There were also important announcements on the Caine Prize judges for 2015, the new Mabati-Cornell Kiswahil prize and the new Writivism mentees were unveiled.

After the whole conference, without any drama to tout I sadly add, the evening ended on Saturday with a shebang that was so loud (maybe the neighbours complained hopefully?) that we could hear the stomping of feet to Dorrobucci from Nairobi where we were mourning the “mauling” of Arsenal by Man United. And some other more national matters.

Here are a few other views from the people who were actually there;

Here are some images from the events of the festival courtesy of artists and organisers of the events.

Beverly Nambozo launches her book

Beverly Nambozo launches the anthology

Nnedi Okarofor

Nnedi Okarofor

Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe

Lola Shoneyin and Abeokuta State first lady Mrs Folusho Amosun

Lola Shoneyin and Abeokuta State first lady Mrs Folusho Amosun

Olisakwe Ukamaka

Olisakwe Ukamaka

Eghosa Imasuen, Zukiswa Wanner and  Jekwu Ozoemene

Eghosa Imasuen, Zukiswa Wanner and Jekwu Ozoemene

Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi