The Lagos International Poetry Festival 2017 is set to happen from November 1-5, 2017. The festival theme is “Bridges from Walls.”
In 2015, a team of Lagosians led by founder Efe Paul Azino hosted the Lagos International Poetry Festival at Freedom Park the home of the arts in commercial hub of the West African country. The festival, the first international poetry festival in West Africa, featured 30 poets from across the world.
The festival in 2016 went onto to great heights featuring workshops/masterclasses, school outreaches, panel discussions, readings and performances in open spaces and enclosed venues across Lagos. It featured Kwame Dawes, Ladan Osman, Shailja Patel, Inua Ellams, Dike Chukwumerije, Titilope Sonuga, Afurakan, Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla, Adrian “Diff” van Wyk, Pieter Odiendaal, Poetra, Sonny Kwaku, Chika Jones, Dami Ajayi, Uzo Maxim Uzoatu, Peter Akinlabi, Niran Okewole, Tade Ipadeola, Toni Kan, Wana Udobang, Bash Amueni, Ogaga Ifowodo, Neo Muyanga, Kola Tubosun, Pryse, Sage Hasson, Gbenga Adesina, Qudus Onikeku, Ali Baba, and Ola Opesan.
It’s that time again as the 2017 edition of the festival is set to happen in Lagos in its traditional home of Freedom Park, the Goethe Institut Lagos, and other venues. The guest list is just as impressive in the previous year and includes Theresa Lola, Ruth Sutoye, Chris Abani, Dike Chukwumerije, Sophia Walker, Melizarani Selva, Katie Bonna, Koleka Putuma, Sophia Walker, Sabrina Mahfouz, Titilope Sonuga, Wana Udobang, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chibuihe Obi, Romeo Oriogun, Kola Tubosun, Richard Ali, Kechi Nomu, Okechukwu Ofili, RezthaPoet, Isabella Akinseye, Dike Chukwumerije, Sophia Walker, Melizarani Selva, Katie Bonna, Toni Kan, Richard Ali, Chris Ogunlowo, Victor Ehikhamenor, Remi Raji, Obari Gomba, Yomi Sode, Obari Gomba, Umar Abubakar Sidi, Dami Ajayi, Kechi Nomu, Yomi Sode, and Ndukwe Onuoha.
There is a whole list of events for poetry enthusiasts to enjoy if the program is any indication. There will be workshops and masterclasses on various topics conducted by Theresa Lola, Ruth Sutoye, Chris Abani, Dike Chukwumerije, Sophia Walker, Melizarani Selva, and Katie Bonna.
Then there is the famous Literary Crossroads that the Goethe Institut has been conducting successfully in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. This time round it will be poets taking the centre stage with Wana Udobang as moderator and Koleka Putuma, Sophia Walker, Sabrina Mahfouz, and Titilope Sonuga as panelists. Their discussion topic will be “Healing in its Wings: Changing the World One Verse at a Time.” That event will be happening at the Goethe Institut at the City Hall, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos Island.
Then there will be the panel entitled “Uncensored: Telling your Truth” with Chibuihe Obi and Romeo Oriogun as panelists and moderated by Kola Tubosun. We can’t be certain what this one is about also I suspect this essay might be a good guide as to what might go down at that panel. Tubosun will also be the one moderating “In Conversation: A Discussion on Writing & Life” with Chris Abani.
Other panels of interest include “A Penny for Your Thoughts: The Unsexy Business of Publishing, Getting Published & Promoting your Work” with panelists Richard Ali, Kechi Nomu, Okechukwu Ofili, and RezthaPoet moderated by TV star Isabella Akinseye. Also featuring will be “Lagos is a Poem: Writing Cities” with panelists Toni Kan and Richard Ali moderated by Chris Ogunlowo. Another must check out panel is “Creating Work for a Global Audience” featuring Chris Abani, Victor Ehikhamenor, Remi Raji, Obari Gomba, and Wana Udobang moderated by Richard Ali.
There won’t be just panels as you can expect whether there is a literary festival focused on poetry. On the program you will find a Spoken Word Theatre: Showcase Dike Chukwumerije, Sophia Walker, Melizarani Selva, and Katie Bonna. Also on the cards is “Poetry After Dark: Poems Apostle Must Not Hear (Silent Disco After Party).” The closing concert of the events in Lagos are dubbed “Jollof Verses and Palmwine Music” and will feature Theresa Lola, Ruth Sutoye, Yomi Sode, Wana Udobang, Dike Chukwumerije, Sophia Walker, Melizarani Selva, Dami Ajayi, RezthaPoet, Ndukwe Onuoha, Titilope Sonuga, and Katie Bonna.
Like our friends at the Ake Festival who always take guests to visit the famous Rock of Abeokuta during the festival, guests here will get to visit Badagry which was an important place where slaves were taken off during the Atlantic slave trade.