Ake Book Festival Returns for the 11th Edition

Yinka  Olatunbosun

Ake Arts and Book Festival, a vibrant celebration of African literature and culture,  returns to Lagos from November 22 to 25 with a promise to showcase the continent’s rich diversity and talent.

 Unveiling the exciting line-up of events of  festival, which will hold at the Bon Hotel Ikeja, the festival director, Lola Shoneyin, said during a press conference that it will feature 28 different events. Attendees can look forward to captivating book chats, thought-provoking panel discussions, thrilling film screenings and popular palm wine and poetry nights.

 Since the festival aims to explore the depths of blood ties, this year’s theme, “Blood Ties,” delves into the concept of family and the complexities that lie within. 

 “Blood ties are looking at family, the concept of family, and the complexities of family,” Shoneyin explained. “This year, Ake reviewed our publications, we told people to send a reflection of poetry, or nonfiction work around the theme of blood ties, and I can tell you that I was shocked by the number of creative works that were submitted that depicted the toxicity and the heart of the real challenges that people often find within families.  

“Sometimes, it can be very difficult. Sometimes water is thicker than blood. Some of the stories that we are going to be looking at and some of the books will have a focus on blood ties. Some of them are completely engaging with the theme of family and of course, some of them are not we’re not looking for every single book to be about that but a decent handful. It talks about the best things about family and the scariest things about family and ties.”

 Other high points of the event include music concerts featuring BANTU and a publishing event.

“We are doing the Africa connect reception where African writers especially the Nigerians will be able to meet some of the International Festival directors,” she continued. “We also are doing something called the great African book quiz, which everybody will be able to participate in. We have a wonderful selection of books that have been donated to us by ‘One World Publishers in the UK. So, there will be lots of book prizes for the winners of that competition.”

 To spice up the festival, the organisers are introducing The Festival Directors Fellowship featuring six incredible festival directors. 

Among other new features this year is The Africa Rights Forum (TARF). “The idea behind this is that in my travels around the world, especially as a bookseller and as a publisher, it has come to my attention that there are so many important streams of income that Nigerians and African publishers are not pursuing. Some of our facilitators for the two-day conference are Emma Shurtleff, who is coming from England. Lucy Campos is coming from France. Pierre Astra is coming from France, and Stephanie Stryker will be coming in from the US. These individuals are all agents and editors.”

With its diverse range of literary offerings, the Ake Book Festival is partnering with Sterling Bank and Luminate to curate the cultural event which would ignite meaningful conversations.  

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