December 8, 2023

This year’s festival, the 11th edition since inception, is themed “Blood Ties”.

By Seyi Lasisi

Nigerian writer and festival curator, Lola Shoneyin, has announced the date for the 2023 edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival. The four-day event, organised by Book Buzz Foundation, will be held at the BON Hotel Ikeja Residence, Lagos, Nigeria from 22nd to 25th November, 2023. 

This year’s festival is themed “Blood Ties”, exploring the complexities of family, relationships, loss, and togetherness, and will be open to the public from November 23rd.

Emphasising the importance of the theme, the festival director, Lola Shoneyin, at the media parley held at Ouida Books store in Lagos on Wednesday, November 15th, said, “The festival’s theme has always tied around events happening in the country or world. And I wanted this year to focus on family and human connection”. The event is expected to have creatives from across Africa and beyond, including authors, poets, artists, storytellers, dancers, actors, and musicians.

Aké Arts and Book Festival Gears Up for Its 2023 Edition - Afrocritik

Aké Arts and Book Festival Gears Up for Its 2023 Edition - Afrocritik
Lola Shoneyin

This year’s event — sponsored by Sterling Bank (for the sixth year in a row) and Luminate — will feature panel discussions, a film screening of the Femi Adebayo-produced Jagun Jagun, book chats, poetry conversations, a book quiz, and a concert with musical performances from Ade Bantu and his Bantu Crew.  

(Read also: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Stephen Buoro, Longlisted for the 2024 Aspen Words Literary Prize)

Unlike previous editions, the 2023 edition will not have any festival headliner, giving room for more emerging talents to shine. Authors from across Africa and the African diaspora will also have book chats at the event, including, Petina Gappah, Umubyeyi Beata Mairese, Bolu Babalola, Kojo Koram, Wole Talabi, Hemley Boum, Zukiswa Wanner, Kelechi Okafor, Bisi Adjapon, DK Nnuro, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Irene Muchemi, Gothataone Moeng, Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, Nnamdi Ehirim, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Wanjiru Koinange, Abimbola Ishola, Stephen Buoro, Dipo Faloyin, Priya Hein, and Olusegun Aganga.

The festival is also introducing The Africa Rights Forum (TARF), a training for agents and editors in Nigeria and Africa, to navigate global rights marketplaces. This training will run from the 22nd to 23rd, and will be helmed by literary agents, Stephanie Steiker from the United States, Pierre Astier and Lucie Campos from France, and Emma Shercliff from the United Kingdom. 

According to Maurice Igugu, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sterling Bank, sponsoring the festival is a great opportunity to participate in and support Nigeria’s creative industry worth $4.5 billion, and to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP.

Aké Arts and Book Festival Gears Up for Its 2023 Edition - Afrocritik

Aké Arts and Book Festival,  now in its 11th year, has been a communion spot for African writers in the continent and African diaspora. The event has witnessed the presence of over 1000 writers, musicians,  visual artists, filmmakers, and culture advocates since its inception in 2013. It offers attendees a cultural immersive experience and a  space for networking and conversations on  African literature and culture-related activities. 

Interested participants can register here.

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