Maryse Condé headlines Ake Festival 2020 that kicks off on October 22.

Maryse Condé is the headliner for the Ake Festival 2020 that runs out of Lagos, Nigeria from October 22 – 25, 2020.

The Ake Arts & Book Festival, popularly known as the Ake Festival, has been running in Nigeria since 2012. For the last eight years, lovers of books and the arts have attended book readings and launches, panel discussions, poetry recitals, film screenings, theatre, and music performances, and loads more.

For the 2020 edition, the occasion sponsored by Sterling Bank announced that as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic it would be happening online with the theme “African Time.”  Over 700 artists, writers, poets, musicians, dancers, actors, filmmakers, and thinkers are to come together to dialogue and celebrate creativity on the African continent through panel discussions, art exhibitions, workshops, storytelling, book chats, poetry performances, a concert, stage play, and unforgettable films.

Guests from all over the continent starting with Nigeria as well as from Algeria, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia are taking part. Apart from these 16 African countries, there is participation from beyond our rock with artists from Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Jamaica, United Kingdom, and the United States.

One of the most important announcements to be made at Ake is the festival headliner as they usually signify the focus for events this year. In the past, the headliners have been Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Nuruddin Farah, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Tsitsi Dangarembga.

The festival headliner for 2020 is a French novelist, critic, and playwright Maryse Condé. Her novels explore the African diaspora that resulted from slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean. She has written seventeen novels since her debut Hérémakhonon (1976) which was translated to Heremakhonon by Richard Philcox (1982). Her more famous novels to those who speak English, the majority of those that read this website, are Ségou: Les Murailles De Terre (1984) translated to Segu, in a translation by Barbara Bray (1987) and Ségou: La Terre En Miettes (1985) translated to The Children of Segu by Linda Coverdale (1989). She has also written the plays An Tan Revolisyon (1989) and Comme Deux Frères (2007).

Her novels, written in French, have been translated into English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. She has won various awards, such as the Grand Prix Littéraire de la Femme (1986), Prix de l’Académie Francaise (1988), Prix Carbet de la Carraibe (1997), and the New Academy Prize in Literature (2018) for her works.

The festival also announced that this year, those who want to enjoy can also follow proceedings on DSTV (Channel 198) and GOtv (Channel 29). Yep. Apart from the YouTube channel which is already scheduling events, you can now watch it on your TV. Exciting times.

For the full festival program please click here.

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