Véronique Tadjo headlines ‘Homecoming’ of Ake Arts and Books Festival 2022 in Lagos

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Kunle Ajibade in conversation with 2021 Nobel laureate, Prof. Abdulrazak Gurnah

Sterling Bank, Eyowo, MTN back festival

By Godwin Okondo

AFTER a two-year hiatus, the 10th anniversary edition of the Lola Shoneyin-led Ake Arts and Books Festival will take place, in-person, from 24 to 26 November 2022, said a press statement from Book Buzz Foundation, organisers of Ake Arts and Books Festival. The festival will be held in Ikoyi, Lagos where 100 authors, poets, artists, storytellers, dancers, actors, musicians and thinkers from all over the African continent (and beyond) will converge for three days of cultural immersion. The venue for the 2022 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival is Strong Tower Events Centre, 40 Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi, Lagos Stat Nigeria. The theme for Ake Arts and Book Festival 2022 is ‘Homecoming.’

The theme is premised on the essence of our African roots that influence our art and our creative expression but as we migrate and settle around the globe, these bonds may weaken with time. This makes the ritual of homecoming particularly significant. It is a response to a centripetal force calling us home to experience the regenerative power of our ancestral roots. So from Thursday, November 24 through 26, 2022, writers, artists, poets, performers, filmmakers and thinkers of African descent will converge in Lagos for Africa’s biggest literary festival where we shall share stories and ideas and restore our cultural links.

Head, Retail Marketing, Abena Annan; Director, Ake Arts and Books Festival, Lola Shoneyin and CEO, Sterling One Foundation, Olapeju Ibekwe at the media briefing to announce Ake festival 2022 in Lagos

Ake Arts and Books Festival is being organised in partnership with Sterling Bank and Eyowo that will enable Ake festival to once again bring together writers, artists, filmmakers, poets, dancers and thinkers from all over the world to support our goal of developing, promoting and celebrating creativity on the African continent. As such, the finest of contemporary African literature, music, art, film and theatre will be showcased in over thirty events.

Ake Arts and book festival will be headlined by Véronique Tadjo, an author, artist, and Honorary Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she lived and taught for several years. An award-winning writer, she was born in Paris and grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She holds a doctorate in Black American literature and civilization from the Sorbonne, Paris and was a Fulbright scholar at Howard University in Washington, DC. Her novels have been translated into several languages. Some of her titles in English include As the Crow flies (2001), The Shadow of Imana (2002), Queen Pokou (2005), Far from my Father (2014), Amour: Fields of Battle, Fields of Love, published by The Massachusetts Review, e-book series (2019). In the Company of Men (2021) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction in April 2022. She shares her time between London, Paris and Abidjan. Tadjo will be interviewed by Ghanaian booklover Kinna Likimani in the ‘Life and Times Event’ on Saturday, 26 November.

Also, inspiring panel discussions will animate Ake’s intense programming. From 24 to 26 November, visitors to Ake Festival will be treated to stimulating panel discussions which cover a range of topics: from brain drain to climate action, economic growth, telling our own stories, emerging feminist identities, and sexual revolutions. This year, we have 10 incredible panel discussions with some of Africa’s finest thinkers. Everyone will leave Ake Festival feeling thoroughly enriched. Book Chats are another aspect of the festival that audiences will not be able to tear themselves away from.

“We’re doing something slightly different this year,” the statement continued. “With some of the book chats, the hosts will be talking to only one author so that they can have an in-depth discussion that will span the author’s entire body of work while exploring thematic shifts and character evolution. This year, we’ll be putting Zukiswa Wanner, Tendai Huchu, Jennifer Makumbi and Nnedi Okorafor in the hot seat. We are also hugely honoured to have Nobel Laureate (and the 2021 headliner) Prof. Abdulrazak Gurnah in conversation with veteran journalist, Mr. Kunle Ajibade.”

As a way of stimulating and making the festival specially Afro-centric, so guests savour the true African essence, there will be ‘Film Concert, Palmwine and Poetry Night’ to bring the festival to a close. “In a fitting tribute to the life and work of Biyi Bandele, we’ll screen the BTS from The King’s Horseman, and have a conversation with two of the key actors in the film,” the statement further disclosed. “The poetry night will see performances from South African poet Lebo Mashile, our own Maryam Bukar and Sudanese poet Logain Ali Sirelkhatim Ali. The concert this year will feature five surprising and amazing acts. Throughout the festival, there will be several films and documentaries shown on the big screen.

The full programme for Ake Arts and Books Festival is available at www.akefestival.org/programme. Online registration is op en at https://akefestival.org/festival/registration/ but will close on November 23, 2022.

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