11th Aké Arts and Book Festival kicks off with cultural splendour and literary excellence
The 11th edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival commenced in Lagos on Thursday, November 23 with an air of anticipation and cultural vibrancy. The opening ceremony, held under the theme: “Blood Ties” at the BON Hotel Ikeja Residence in GRA Ikeja, Lagos brought together a diverse array of attendees, including renowned authors, artists and literature enthusiasts.
The event began with a captivating welcome address delivered by director of the festival and founder of the Book Buzz Foundation, Lola Shoneyin, who recalled that she had last year announced that the 2022 edition would be the last due to the stress of organising the festival.
She went on to thank Sterling Bank and Laminate for their support and role in making certain the event took place this year.
Also on her thank you list were, Annoying Logo, Radio Now, the Embassy of Spain and that of the United States as well as the Lagos State government, among others.
“We welcome you all and hope you stay,” she stated.
In addition to the regulars, she said “we have a few new things like the Big African Book Quiz with questions on literature with prizes donated by sponsors”.
She went on to talk about what Book Buzz Foundation has been up to including an initiative to improve the quality of children’s books in the country.
“We have very few quality children’s books that reflect the diversity of our cultures in Nigeria. The children’s books market is woefully underserved and we decided that we have to do something about it,” she said.
“No one is more excited that Ake festival is back than I’m. There is something extraordinary about seeing you all at this welcome ceremony. I want to wish you three wonderful days of meaningful cultural immersion. I hope we look back at the end of the festival and feel enriched, more knowledgeable and more aware of the complexities of the world that we occupy. Happy Ake festival.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking through a representative said he was delighted to open the festival, the third edition hosted in the state.
“For our guests from abroad, we usually don’t welcome people to Lagos for the simple reason that Lagos is so vibrant, so big, so wonderful that she is just there like this is who I am. This is Lagos.”
The governor went on to say that Aké festival “has evolved into a beacon of artistic and cultural brilliance”. And that “art as the lifeblood of every society resonates deeply in Lagos State. A hub of diverse cultural expressions. My administration therefore remains committed to nurturing of creative talent flourishing in our state”.
The governor went on to commend the festival director and her team for their commendable effort, while pledging to continue to support the festival.
Ibidapo Martins from Sterling Bank, Toyin Akiniyi of Luminate, Amanda Roche of the US Embassy and Jose Maria Embassy of Spain, all spoke in support of the festival.
Then followed a poetry performance in Yoruba by Gemini and a spoken word performance by Wana Udobang as well as a minute of silence in memory of those creatives who passed during the year.
An insightful book chat followed featuring Beata Mairesse Umubyeyi (All the Children Scattered) and N Hermiley Boum (Boys Come and Go) hosted byEdwige Dro.
Then there was a panel discussion titled Film to Drive Narrative Change in Africa featuring
Victor Aghahowa and Daniel Ehimen hosted by Anita Eboigbe.
The 11th edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival promises to be a celebration of literature, art, and thought-provoking conversations. Attendees can look forward to a multitude of experiences that inspire, challenge, and celebrate the diversity of human expression.