There is still a good month and a half left till the fourth edition of the Ake Arts and Book Festival 2016, but just in case you were considering not attending, here are 10 reasons you should change your mind:

1. Twelve Stimulating Panel Discussions: Both new and established literary voices will be engaged in stimulating panel discussions on identities, race, gender, mental health in fiction, and the rise and fall of African economies. The discussions will also explore genres of erotica, horror fiction and prison stories, and audience participation will be encouraged with a Q and A session.

2. Nine Interactive Book Chats: Eighteen accomplished authors will discuss the themes, techniques, plots, characters and styles of their work. Some of these authors are; Helon Habila, Laila Lalami, Teju Cole, Panashe Chigumadzi, Tendai Huchu, Chinelo Okparanta, Noviolet Bulawayo, Jowhor Ile, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Odafe Atogun, Tade Thompson, Toni Kan. Visitors at the festival will get to hear their favourite authors talk about their writing process and discover how their favourite books were put together.

3. A Chance to Meet Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Distinguished professor, renowned writer, and literary icon Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is the headliner for the 2016 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival. Thiong’o, writer of the most translated short story in African history, will be talking about his life and works, including his latest book, Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening.

4. A chance to view two stunning art exhibitions: Laolu Senbanjo’s “Sacred Art of the Ori”, which was featured in Beyonce’s Lemonade album will be coming to the festival, and Fatima Abubakar, who captures the lives of the people of Borno State in a stunning series of photographs, will also showcase at the festival.

5. Be a part of the premier of the mini Festival of Short Films in which three Nigerian short films will be screened in celebration of the few individuals fueling its rapid growth in the country. In addition, the Festival Film is a documentary titled: Hissene Habre: A Chadian Tragedy and is an account of the horror inflicted on the Chadian people during Hissen Habre’s rule.

6. Enjoy an evening of poetry and palmwine: There is going to be a Palm Wine and Poetry Evening during which attendees will enjoy outstanding performances from poets, Titilope Sonuga, Lebo Mashile, Ogaga Ifowodo, Micheal Kelleher and Dike Chukwumerije, while sipping on calabashes of deliciously fresh palm wine.

7. Come and experience a musical concert like no other: An acoustic music concert with Brymo, Falana, Adunni and Nefertiti, will also entertain the audience at the festival.

8. Watch the dramatisation of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Gbagyi Child Entertainment is bringing Lola Shoneyin’s hilarious novel to the stage, directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr.

9. Three days of workshops on Fiction and Script Writing and Graphic Short Stories: Accomplished writers Noviolet Bulawayo, Helon Habila and Sarah Ladipo Manyika will be facilitating the fiction writing workshop, while the Script Writing workshop will be facilitated by Inya Lawal and Victoria Thomas of the Story Republic and Sebastian Loerscher will facilitate the workshop on Graphic Short Stories.

10. A fantastic array of books are available for purchase at the festival bookstore. The festival is the one opportunity literary lovers have of stocking up on their favourite writer’s books and even snag one or two autographed copies of books authored by this year’s festival guests.

If all these 10 reasons are not enough to convince you to attend the 2016 Ake Festival, nothing probably will. It is without a doubt the literary highlight of the year, and if you’re a lover of books and art in Nigeria, it’s the one place you know you want to be.


Author: Aderonke Adeleke

Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.