The Aké Arts and Book Festival is an annual literary, cultural and arts event that usually takes place in Abeokuta, Nigeria. It was founded in 2013 by the Nigerian writer Lola Shoneyin (The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives).
Although it has featured new and established writers from across the world, its focus has been to promote, develop and celebrate creativity on the African continent in diverse genres.
This year, Ake Festival moved to Lagos and I was so happy because I didn’t have time to leave work and to be honest, it’s been a tough year so I wouldn’t have been able to afford it.
The theme for the 2018 edition was Fantastical Futures. Events and discussions were focused on a re-imagined African future. Did it answer the theme? I think so. I mean, I’m rating the festival 4 stars because I think they did a fantastic job(see what I did there)
Curators of panel events and discussions made sure the conversation didn’t steer off topic. The invited guests suited the theme, though the first time I heard it, I was so sure Akwaeke Emezi will be there, lol. Silly me. Maybe next year.
- I met a lot of writers that I admire. That was the highlight of Ake for me. I mean, I mean Paul freaking Beatty! And Mona Eltahawy, a queen that I stan!
- I got introduced to writers and creatives. Nastio Mosquito, I’m coming for you, baby!
- Meeting my bookstagram friends. We were having so much fun we forgot to take proper pictures.
- I got some books for my birthday!
- I got some books signed by my faves.
- Ake Festival provided the boost I didn’t know I needed. Being in the midst of so many creative minds awakened something inside me that I felt was dying. (that’s a post for another day.
- The stage performance of Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives was so good!
- I enjoyed the food by Kitchen Butterfly that I couldn’t even think straight.
- And I loved the total randomness of the event. There was space to socialize a lot.
- This is just me being picky but It would have been great if the festival bookstore was in the same venue. We had to cross the road and walk 5 mins to the bookshop. I don’t even know why I’m complaining, it saved me from spending money.
- One of my fave writers, who was a guest, Mona Eltahawy couldn’t sign books for us. And I know Nigerian customs can be a bitch but it should have been anticipated. I really wanted a signed copy. I got her to sign on paper though.
- I expected to see bookish arts and crafts, you know. Fancy bookmarks, sleeves, totes, stands, frames, stickers, all the works. I mean, it was a book festival, so I felt there should have been more than books.
Overall, I really enjoyed myself and I will be prepared to have books and stuff ready for sale, next year!
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