September 25, 2023

Okojie will work in collaboration with  Sara Veal as Creative Director, and Elliott Jack as maestro Producer.

By Helena Olori 

Nigerian-born British novelist, Irenosen Okojie, in partnership with the British Library and the Royal Society of Literature, has launched a new arts festival, called Black to the Future (BTTF).

The biennial hybrid Arts festival is “an Afro-futurist celebration of outstanding Black artists, a space for visionary imaginings to thrive.”

“I’m delighted to launch this project that celebrates a constellation of superb voices while encapsulating the innovation, creativity and breadth of Black artistry,” announced Okojie via a post on X.

Black to the Future Arts Festival - Afrocritik

(Read also: The Commonwealth Short Story Prize Opens Submissions for 2024 Prize, Unveils Judges)

The inaugural edition will run from October 24, 2023, to February 24, 2024, with the theme, “Black Phantasmagoria.” It will coincide with the British Black History Month and continue into the US version next year, aligning with the British Library’s upcoming “Fantasy: Realms of Imagination” exhibition.

Scheduled to be held primarily at the British Library, the festival will feature live-streamed discussions and explore various genres where Black literature and art thrive. These include storytellers from books, video games, comics, theatre, film, and the music industry.

British Library - BTTF Arts Festival - Afrocritik

Events such as the premiere screening of the Sundance award-winning film, Mami Wata – followed by a Q&A session with the director, C.J Obasi – will also take place at the Garden Cinema and the Standard Hotel.

In addition to celebrating Black excellence in art, the festival will also include a tech session with experts, entrepreneurs, and cross-disciplinary innovators.

(Read also: African Writers Awards Unveils Longlist for its 2023 Edition)

Award-winning author and member of the Order of the British Empire, Irenosen Okojie, will curate and direct the BTTF, drawing from her vast experience as an Arts Project Manager and curator. She has also served as a publicity officer for the Caine Prize for Fiction tour, and a judge for prestigious awards such as the 2020 BBC National Short Story Award, the 2021 Gordon Burn Prize, the 2022 Women’s Prize, and so on.

Okojie will work in collaboration with Sara Veal as Creative Director, and Elliott Jack as maestro Producer.

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