The tenth edition of the Ake Festival happens in Abeokuta, Nigeria on November 22-26, 2022. While announcing the theme, the organisers suggested that this might be the last run of the famous festival.
In 2013, the Ake Arts & Book Festival was introduced to the African literary scene by a team in Nigeria led by Lola Shoneyin. Hosted in the town of Abeokuta, about 100 kilometers outside Lagos, it had writers from across Nigeria and some from across the continent. There were panels, readings, poetry events, launches, and also visits to local schools. In 2017, the festival moved from the smaller Abeokuta to the megalopolis that is Lagos and continued on the same growth trajectory. In 2020 and 2021, the festival ran virtually because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
In January, the organisers announced that the festival will return to its spiritual home of Abeokuta in November. Yesterday, they announced that events in Nigeria run under the theme “Homecoming” with the following tweet;
Below is the information from the above Tweet;
Our African roots influence our art and expression. However, as we migrate and settle around the globe, these bonds may weaken with time. This makes the ritual of Homecoming particularly significant. It is a response to a centripetal force calling us home to experience the regenerative power of our ancestral roots.
On November 24-26, writers, artists, poets, performers, filmmakers, and thinkers of African descent will converge on Abeokuta, Ogun State for Africa’s biggest literary festival where we shall share ideas and stories, and restore cultural links.
As we shall celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ake Arts & Books Festival, we shall welcome festival directors from around the world to Abeokuta for the 2nd Conference of the Global Association of Literary Festivals (22-23 November 2022).
After this final edition of Ake Festival in its current format, we shall return to our muses, and other homes, nourished, empowered, and with old ties renewed.
The statement has several parts of interest starting with the revelation on the Conference of the Global Association of Literary Festivals . The Global Association of Literary Festivals is an organisation that connects literary festivals around the world in a spirit of cooperation, exchanging ideas and resources. It has members from countries in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, making it arguably the biggest bringing together literary festival organisers.
The first meeting of these festival organisers was at the Emirates Literature Festival in February 2022. That meeting was to give representatives of literary festivals the chance to discuss common challenges and issues they were encountering and to consider setting up an organization of organizations in which these festivals could work together this way more frequently to share insights and viewpoints, observations and experiences with each other.
The Emirates foundation agreed to cover setup costs for the new association for its first four years with plans to host a biennial conference. The first of these was a meeting in Nigeria to take place at the Aké Festival in 2022. It would be a great opportunity for festival organisers to meet and share their experiences while getting the legendary Ake Festival hospitality. As this is a rare opportunity for writers to meet with festival organisers in one space, you can expect there to be a lot of interaction.
The final part of the statement stuck with us, “After this final edition of Ake Festival in its current format, we shall return to our muses, and other homes, nourished, empowered, and with old ties renewed.” This is a new communication on this event that has been celebrated across the continent. Is this going to be its final running as a festival? Time will tell.
If you haven’t ever been to this festival, this means that this might be your last chance to attend it before it morphs into whatever Lola Shoneyin and her team have in mind. Start booking flight tickets, ladies and gentlemen.