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Everything You Need to Know About Ake Festival 2019

The Ake Festival is now in its 7th year. For the past 6 years, its founder and visionary, Lola Shoneyin, has championed the cause. The Festival began in Abeokuta and held for the first time in 2013. In 2017, Lola took a bold step and moved the Festival to Lagos. This year, the Ake Festival theme is ‘Black Bodies, Grey Matter’.

Please note that registration for the Ake Festival is important. Unregistered guests may not have access to some Festival features. The festival will hold in Lagos from the 24th to the 27th of October, at the Mike Adenuga Centre/Alliance Francais; 9 Osbourne Road, Ikoyi.

The festival will begin on Thursday the 24th with Fiction Writing workshops, an art workshop for children, and the welcome ceremony. On Friday the 25th, there will be several book chats and panel discussions, an interview, a concert, and the special book launch of a Pan-African anthology titled Water Birds on the Lakeshore; a book that lovers and seekers of Young Adult Fiction are sure to celebrate. There will be more panel discussions, book chats and interviews on Saturday the 27th. Saturday will also feature 5 film screenings and 2 performances of poetry and a play. The festival will close on Sunday the 28th with more book chats, interviews and discussions, and finally a tribute to Toni Morrison by Lola Shoneyin.


An exciting fixture of the Ake Book and Arts Festival has always been the calibre of guests the Festival never fails to present. Last year, the Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction, Nnedi Okorafor, was a panellist. More than 50 of the most intelligent and influential creatives on the continent will be guests at the Festival again this year. The shortlist of guests that follow is hardly exhaustive but is sure to whet your appetite: Adepero Oduye, accomplished stage and film actress; Bassey Ikpi, phenomenal writer, mental health advocate and author of I’m Telling The Truth But I’m Lying; Chidera Muoka, former Editor of Guardian Life; Dakore Egbuson-Akande, award-winning actress and TV personality; Damilola Marcus, architect, designer and founder of Market March; and Jose Eduardo Agualusa, the prominent Brazilian reporter and novelist. Other guests include Abdourahman Waberi, Femi Taiwo, Femi Oyebode, Etinosa Yvonne, and Emmanuella David-Ette.

The bookstore

There will be more than 7000 books available at the Ake Festival bookstore. Several genres will be available, ranging from science fiction, satire, religion and science to autobiographies, poetry, fantasy, academic texts, mystery, and horror. Books written by past and present Festival guests will be available at the bookstore. This is an opportunity to pick up that one book you’ve been hunting all over the internet for.

An art exhibition

The exhibition will be a collection of photographs showing representations of black bodies and minds. As curated by Nigerian writer and photographer Roli Afinotan, and Jessica Byenyan Bitrus, the multimedia journalist and communications strategist.

Film screenings

Independent film screenings are a tradition at the Ake Festival. This year the Festival will be showing Marked, a documentary on the complex relationship between scarifications, beauty, identity, and spirituality in Nigeria; and Malika: Warrior Queen, the short, animated fantasy film featuring Adesua Etomi-Wellington.

There’s plenty to look forward to at the Ake Festival. The festival’s aim is to provide a meaningful literary, cultural and arts experience with the help of creatives from all over Africa. This 7th edition will be a 4-day examination of relationships between the mental and physical elements of ‘black bodies’. The idea is to take a closer look at the ideas and constructs that we have allowed to shape the African continent. Discussions will focus on the effect these constructs have had on men and women, but women in particular.


Ake Festival

Featured Image Source: Wikipedia

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Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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