Yusef Komunyakaa

The guests for the Lagos International Poetry Festival 2021, with the theme “Ancestral Imaginings,” running from October 21 – 24, 2021 have been announced.

The Lagos International Poetry Festival brings together poets, writers, artists, and thinkers from across the world to Lagos for a week of conversations, readings, performances, workshops and adventure. Founded in 2015 by poet Efe Paul Azino, it has established itself as one of the continent’s annual art and culture highlights.

For 2021, the festival will combine expertly curated digital offerings with the festival’s much missed in-person events, kicking off with an opening cocktail on October 21.  This will be followed by a series of events including a special keynote by Yusef Komunyakaa, seven panel conversations, two masterclasses, a massive concert mash-up of music and poetry, and headlined by the legendary Saul Williams. Poetry After Dark, the festival’s annual party, a silent disco event peppered with spontaneous poetry readings, which has always drawn the city’s bohemian fun-seekers, will also be returning with a huge celebratory swing this year.

Other guests for the festival are Demola Olarewaju, Odia Ofeimun, Chuma Nwokolo, Femi Osofisan. Nana Asaase, Abosede George, Troy Onyango, Tobi Abiodun, Richard Ali, Paul Word, Moky Makura, Mercy Abang, Lardo Adekunbi, Kọ́la Túbọ̀sún, Alhan Islam, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Eloghosa Osunde, Elizabeth Johnson, Dele Farotimi, Buchi Onyegbule, Ayo Sogunro, Ayisha Osori, and Aja Monet.

One of the things to look out for is the inaugural one-million-naira winner-takes-all poetry slam. The competition emphasizes the role of young people in dreaming and building a future that answers the anxieties of today. Shortlisted poets and spoken word artists will be announced on the 19th and will participate at the finale on the 22nd of October. The winning poet walks away with One million naira (N1m) and gets a performance slot at the festival’s concert evening on the 23rd of October at Terra Kulture.

Entries for the slam are currently open at www.lagospoetryfestival.com/slam and close on the 10th of October.

All events, carefully adhering to Covid-19 Protocols, will be streamed live to the festival’s global audience.