U.S. Promotes Cross-Cultural Collaboration as 13 American Writers Participate in Ake Festival

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A performer at Ake Festival

Vanessa Obioha

The United States Mission in Nigeria has renewed its support for Nigeria’s burgeoning community of creative writers and artists with its participation at the 2018 Ake Arts and Book Festival — an annual event which showcases the best of contemporary African literature, poetry, music, art, film, and theatre.

In its sixth year, the Festival with the theme “Fantastical Futures” was held October 25-28 and witnessed 13 writers from the United States.The American authors included Elizabeth Bird, Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida; Mona Eltahawy, New York-based columnist and international public speaker; Nnedi Okorafor, award-winning novelist and professor at the University of Buffalo; and Tochi Onyebuchi, author of the widely-acclaimed fantasy ‘Beasts Made of Night.’

There was also a riveting performance by visiting U.S. Arts Envoy Wanjiru Kamuyu who performed a dance, ‘Portrait in Red’, for the Festival’s guests.

Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the Festival, the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, Mr. Russell Brooks, expressed admiration for the creative abilities of Nigerians across various forms of human endeavor.

“One key ingredient that assures a fantastic future in Nigeria is the depth of creativity found here – in all fields, whether I’m meeting an entrepreneur or an artist, I’m always impressed by how Nigerians work tirelessly to solve problems, to develop solutions, and to generate prosperity. Nigerians definitely make things happen and they do so with ingenuity and resourcefulness. That creative quality is sure to generate a fantastic future.”

Also in attendance was the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo along with several diplomats and a broad range of Nigeria’s creative community. The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, in Abuja and Lagos, supports programs that bring American cultural leaders to Nigeria to meet, exchange ideas and collaborate with Nigerian cultural leaders.

Through these people-to-people connections, the U.S. Mission hopes to foster a deeper relationship between the people of Nigeria and the United States.