LABAF 2023: Celebrating history and literary excellence

The Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF) is set to return for its 25th edition, promising a week-long celebration of literature, art and culture. This year’s event will be held from Monday, November 13 to 19, 2023, at Freedom Park, Campbell Street Lagos, and will also offer virtual participation options.

The theme for LABAF 2023 is “THE RESET: History and the Darkling Plain,” an exploration of critical points in Nigeria’s history and their implications for the nation’s future. The festival aims to delve into the rich tapestry of Nigeria’s history and its impact on Africa and the world through written texts, performances in drama, music, poetry and visual arts.

LABAF, which began in 1999, has evolved into a campaign for literacy, focusing on education, enlightenment and empowerment. Over the years, it has become a platform for nurturing interest in the knowledge economy that drives global political, economic and cultural affairs. The festival’s diverse programme includes conversations around books relevant to the festival’s theme, readings, reviews, writing and publishing sessions, exhibitions of books and visual arts, workshops, mentoring sessions and performances in various art forms.

For young people, LABAF offers the Green Festival, dedicated to students in junior and senior secondary schools, and the CORA Youth Creative Club, which gathers youths from across the country for mentoring and training in their natural talents and acquired skills.

The 2023 theme will guide discussions throughout the festival. It emphasises the importance of understanding history to shape the future, highlighting that a nation is imagined through ideas before it is physically constructed. The festival aims to engage with historical texts, learn from them, and chart a path for the future in the wake of a new political era.

The festival will feature discussions on 15 selected books, including fiction and non-fiction works, with a particular focus on history and national development. LABAF also celebrates the contributions of culture workers who have made significant impacts on the nation’s growth, setting them as role models for aspiring individuals.

LABAF 2023 promises a rich array of events, including visual art exhibitions, conceptual installations, ceramic exhibitions, cartoonists’ exhibitions, and performance art. It’s not just a literary festival; it’s a celebration of culture, history and the power of storytelling.

As Nigeria stands at a crossroads, LABAF 2023 is poised to provide a platform for reflection, discussion, and inspiration, as the nation seeks to navigate the complexities of its history and build a brighter future.

The Lagos Book & Art Festival promises to be a feast of ideas, culture, and enlightenment, providing a space for all to explore, learn and celebrate the rich tapestry of Nigeria’s history and its impact on the world.

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