Abdulrazak Gurnah

Abdulrazak Gurnah was announced the headliner for the Ake Arts & Book Festival 2021 set to happen in Lagos, Nigeria on October 28-30 on August 8, 2021.

The Ake Arts & Book Festival, popularly known as the Ake Festival, has been running in Nigeria since 2012. Lovers of books and the arts attend book readings, panel discussions, poetry recitals, film screenings, theatre and music performances and lots more over the week of the festival. On July 12, the team organising the festival announced the theme for the year as “Generational Discordance” and the dates to be October 28-30.

One of the most important announcements relating to this event is the revelation of the year’s headliner. Some of the previous headliners have been Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nuruddin Farah, Maryse Condé, and Tsitsi Dangarembga.

On August 8, the 2021 festival headliner was revealed to be Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah. Gurnah is most famous of his novels are Paradise (1994), which was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize, Desertion (2005), and By the Sea (2001), which was longlisted for the Booker and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. His other titles are Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrims Way (1988), Dottie (1990), Admiring Silence (1996), The Last Gift (2011), Gravel Heart (2017), and Afterlives (2020) which made the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2021 shortlist. He has also written the short story collection My Mother Lived on a Farm in Africa (2006). He was also a professor of English at the University of Kent and was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2016.

As the headliner, Abdulrazak Gurnah will participate in the Lives and Times Series event, feature on the cover of the Ake Review where he will give an in-depth interview for its centre spread.

The festival is sponsored by Sterling Bank, one of the biggest financial organisations in West Africa.