It was a special time in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria as the Ake Arts and Book Festival rolled into town from 15-19th November 2016.
The festival kicked off official on 16th November with a colourful ceremony at the Hurbert Ogunde Hall at the 12 June Cultural Centre. Festival organisers had gone all the way this year starting with a snazzy advert that would attract those who were undecided as to where to make it to Abeokuta. Those I assume were as “undecided” as the Americans who claimed that they weren’t sure if they were going to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Check out the advert below.
For the convenience of those who might not make it, there was an app you could download from the Google play store or the Apple store.
So what was on show that the technology was putting a light on? There were two types of book type sessions at Ake Festival 2016, book chats and topical panels. With book chats, the bread and butter of the literary festival, writers spoke about their books. The format at this festival was two writers with moderators. Here are some of the book chats that were captured in the few days.
Toni Kan and Leye Adenle moderated by Tendai Huchu
Chinelo Okparanta and Panashe Chigumadzi moderated by Ayodele Morocco Clarke
Odafe Atogun and Jowhor Ile moderated by Dami Ajayi
Helon Habila and Teju Cole moderated by Kadaria Ahmed
Laila Lamini and Tendai Huchu moderated by Zukiswa Wanner
With the topical panel, writers and others would discuss a topic that was of interest in our society. Usually this is a topic that the writer knew something about as their book might have themes in that specific direction. Here are some of the topical panels of the festival.
Prison stories as resistance:
Molara Wood moderates Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Kunle Ajibade
Women in a post Boko-Haram reality:
Kadaria Ahmed moderates Chitra Nagayajan, Fati Abubakar and Andrew Walker.
The Irony of Black Lives Matter in Africa:
Patrick Okigbo moderates Kinna Likimani, Helon Habila and Aisha Osori
Exploring mental health in African writing:
Dami Ajayi moderates Rayo Adebola and Lidudumalingani Mqombothi.
Defining Home: Place and Displacement in African writing:
Wana Udobang moderates Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Yewande Omotoso and Teju Cole.