AABF2019 Press Release 01






The theme for the 2019 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival is Black Bodies | Grey Matter, so our conversations will explore how our minds and bodies have impacted – and been impacted by – the course of history. How have the contributions – physical and mental – shaped the world for both good and ill? What echoes of the past do we still hear today? Multiculturalism, colonialism, internecine violence, organised religion, cultural attitudes and practices have all left their mark. Specific phenomena such as scarification and tattoos leave physical traces while colourism, stereotyping and gender non-conformity exert their influence on both psyche and soma. Interrogation of these issues yields fascinating and illuminating insights, and in the hands of creatives and thinkers gives rise to works that enrich our understanding of the African condition.


In Partnership with Sterling


Organised in partnership with Sterling, Ake Festival will once again bring together writers, artists, filmmakers, poets, dancers and thinkers from all over the world to support our goal of developing, promoting and celebrating creativity on the African continent. As such, the finest of contemporary African literature, music, art, film and theatre will be showcased in over sixty events. 





Every year, the Festival is headlined by an African writer who has shaped our literary culture and has challenged readers within and outside the continent through their storytelling. This year, Ake Festival will honour award-winning Zimbabwean author and film-maker, Tsitsi Dangaremgba. Her novel, Nervous Conditions, was the first novel in English by a Zimbabwean woman. It won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989 and is considered one of the twelve best African novels ever written. She will be interviewed by distinguished journalist and editor, Molara Wood in the Ake Festival Life and Times Series.



Project Inspire!


As usual, the festival will kick off with school visits on the morning of 24 October. To achieve our goals for ‘Project Inspire!’ we have partnered with the Ovie Brume Foundation. Ake Festival guests will visit state schools around Lagos Island and donate books to the pupils and the schools.



Inspiring Panel Discussions


From 25 to 27 October, visitors to Ake Festival will be able to participate in 17 stimulating panel discussions which will tackle issues relating to the black body. Issues such as body modification and social acceptance; eliminating sexual violence; religious extremism in Nigeria and the mental health explosion, to mention a few. 



Book Chats 


In addition, there will be 12 book chats with exciting authors including Jamaican-American Nicole Dennis-Benn; Booker Prize shortlisted Angolan writer Jose Agualusa; two-time Booker Prize nominee Chigozie Obioma; feminist powerhouse Mona Eltahawy; founder of the African Poetry Prize, Bernardine Evaristo; award-winning Ugandan writer Jennifer Makumbi; We are delighted to welcome celebrated Nigerian authors like Helon Habila, Adaobi Nwaubani, Chika Unigwe and Ake Festival advisory board member Toni Kan. Abdourahman Waberi, one of Francophone Africa’s literary stars, will also join us from Paris. 



Theatre, Concert and Art Exhibition


Other highlights of the festival include the Art exhibition which will showcase photographs that celebrate the diverse representations of the black body and mind. There will be on stage in Nigeria for the first time, an electrifying performance by dub-poet D’bi Anitafricka. Throughout the festival, there will be several films and documentaries on the big screen. No one should miss the performances by Nigerian and international poets on Sunday evening (27 October), same goes for the music concert featuring acts from the Lagos alternative music scene. 



Fringe Events and Children’s Zone 


This year, News Central, British Council and Alliance Francaise | Mike Adenuga Centre will host workshops on culture journalism, fiction-writing and storytelling with film. If it’s about learning something new, this year, we are not leaving children behind. There will be special area for children called the Children’s Zone. The artist-in-residence, Olusayo Ajetunmobi, will engage the kids in painting workshops designed to stimulate their creativity. Storytellers will also be on hand to facilitate reading and writing sessions.





The full Ake Arts and Book Festival program will be available for download at www.akefestival.org/programme from 1 October 2019. Online registration is now open at www.akefestival.org/registration and will close on 22 October 2019.






Sponsors of the 2019 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival include: Goethe Institut, Unilever, the French Embassy, the British Council, the Miles Morland Foundation, the US Consulate, Nikon, Bacardi, News Central, Budweiser, Alliance Francaise, Vlisco, the Government of Canada, the Fate Foundation and Annoying Logo.