The Abuja Literary and Arts Festival 2020, with the theme “The Art of Empathy,” is set to run from August 13-15, 2020. The announcement was made on July 7, 2020.
In 1998, the Abuja Literary Society was founded by Victor Anoliefo, Ike Anya, Ferdinand Agu and Ken Ike Okere to bring together writers, aspiring writers, book-lovers, intellectuals, and anyone with an interest in the literary arts and looking to relax in a creative atmosphere. To celebrate the second decade of the society, the team decided to set up the Abuja Literary Festival in 2018. That event which had the theme “Nigeria to the world” featured book readings, panel discussions, masterclasses, a poetry grand slam, a nature hike, a food fair, writing and arts competitions and lots more.
From July 11-13, 2019, the second edition of the Festival, themed “Arts and Social Consciousness” was held. With guests like Suleiman Danladi, Rinsola Abiola, Abiodun Essiet, Chimeka Garricks, Tolu Daniel, Toni Kan, Logan February, Chuma Nwokolo, Dorothy Njemanze, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Editi Effong and Toni Kan, #ALitFest19 was aimed at examining the influence of art on the world, and more importantly, how art can be a tool for social consciousness across different ideological leanings.
The 2020 edition of the festival, following trends necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, will be happening online this year on the webinar platform Hopin. The organisers stated that they have curated their events & panels to help explore important societal issues including tribalism, racism, homophobia, misogynoir & classism. They include panel discussions, book chats, writing competitions, an online art exhibition (with partners), film screenings, Poetry Readings, and many other activities.
The Festival program includes panel discussions hosted by intellectual panellists from diverse backgrounds including Helon Habila, Edwige Dro, Sawad Hussain, Dike Chukwumerije, Kola Tubosun, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Odafe Atogun. The Festival also offers film screenings, e-yoga, virtual tours and even, a grand poetry slam, all which will be offered and available to participants at the click of their screens.
The theme “The Art of Empathy” is aimed at highlighting the importance, beauty & need for diversity and difference as well as the role of the creative in building bridges across & within societies.
The festival is organised by Abuja Literary Society, as usual, in conjunction with South Africa-based Geko Publishing.