Lola Shoneyin addressing the press about the festival
Byenyan Jessica Bitrus speaking at the press briefing
By Adeola Ogunrinde
The third edition of the popular Ake Arts and Books Festival is to take place from November 17 to 21, 2015 at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Organisers of the event, Book Buzz Foundation, at a press briefing, gave this year’s theme as “Engaging the Fringe as Dialogue”.
According to the Communications Manager of Books Buzz foundation, Byenyan Jessica Bitrus, the theme is to focus on the genres and creative endeavour that do not get the same attention as art forms which are considered as mainstream.
Director of Book Buzz Foundation, Lola Shoneyin, said: “The reason we choose that theme is to explore topics which are not usually discussed in African fiction, in our mainstream writings, which are part of us, crime fiction from the days of Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini in Nigeria, speculative fiction, they are not as grand as our literary fiction which everyone knows.”
Shoneyin also said support should be given to encourage reading not only in Southern Nigeria but also Northern Nigeria, adding that Book Buzz Foundation is collaborating with Marine Platforms to donate books in Boko Haram-affected areas in the North.
This year’s festival is to feature 8 book chats, 3 art exhibitions, 1 play, 2 in-depth interviews, school visits, 18 stimulating panel discussions, 3 documentary screenings, 2 films screenings and a poetry performance event.
There will also be a large bookstore during the festival where book lovers, pupils and students who benefit from Governor’s grants can buy books.
Noted to be one of Africa’s grand literary festivals, Ake Arts and Books Festival this year will host 81 African artists ranging from writers, filmmakers and thinkers from all over the world to promote and celebrate creativity on the African continent.
At the festival, a stage play, ‘Hear Word’ will bring together the best of Nigeria talented actresses among them Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Omonor, Elvina Ibru, Ufuoma McDermott, Zara Udofia, Lala Akindoju, Rita Edward, Debbie Ohiri and Odenike.
The film for this year’s Ake Arts and Books Festival is ‘The Man Who Mends Women’, based on the work of Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the Sakharov Prize in 2014. Dr. Mukwege is internationally known as the man who treated thousands of women after they were raped and brutalized during the 21 year conflict in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Artist and writers expected at this year’s festival include Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Prof. Niyi Osundare , Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Pius Adesanmi, E C Osondu, Helon Habila and Nnedi Okorafor.