Toyin Akinosho, Publisher of Africa Oil & Gas Report and Secretary General of the CORA Art & Cultural Foundation has announced the dates for the 14th Lagos Book & Art Festival. The festival would hold from the 16th – 18th November 2012 at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos Island with a pre-event Publishers’ Forum and Cocktail holding on the 15th. A theme has also been announced for the Festival: The Narrative of Conflict- which focuses on how the written word and the literacy it engenders interrogates the different conflicts that surround our current existence and recent past. The festival is dedicated to the veteran artist Bruce Onabrakpeya who turned 80 this year and whose work and dedication to the arts continue to be a source of inspiration to generations of Nigerians.

The Lagos Book & Art Festival, or LABAF as it’s often called, is a landmark event on the nation’s culture calendar with sprawling book displays, exhibitions, live music and drama performances and of course, nuanced literary events that take time out to dig deep into the content of books. Says Akinosho- “LABAF is self-styled as Africa’s Biggest Culture Picnic because we don’t just put together a book fair, a performance concert, a literary festival or an art expo, what we do is a healthy fusion of all four in a festival atmosphere, and for the past 14 years, the festival has become an important destination for families, literary and art enthusiasts, culture producers, children and even lovers. We have had people who came as children years ago still attending now as young adults. We have also had people who met at the festival grounds for the first time years ago, still attending as married couples. What keeps them coming back is the way the festival allows them to engage with culture in a fun atmosphere, that is why it is Africa’s Biggest Culture Picnic.”

Set to hold this year from the 16th – 18th November at Freedom Park, 1 Hospital Road, Lagos Island, LABAF will feature over 10 book events, 3 music concerts, 2 theatre shows, 11 workshops for children and 2 visual art exhibitions. There are over thirty books being discussed at the festival including Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore, Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White. Power, Politics & Death by Segun Adeniyi,Bitter-Sweet My Life with Obasanjo by Oluremi Obasanjo,  A Measure of Grace by Akin Mabogunje, Bomboy, by Yewande Omotosho, Voice Of America, by E. C. Osondu,Stealth Of Nations: The Global Rise Of The Informal Economy, by Robert Neuwirth,Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, Open Graveyard by Wale Osun, Out of the Shadows by Kayode Fayemi, Roses and Bullets by Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo and Witness To Justiceby Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah. Because the LABAF book events usually engage with books at a deeper level beyond the star power of the authors that produce them, most sessions are usually driven by robust discussion panels, some of the writers and thinkers confirmed for these panels include: Sola Olorunyomi, Bisi Arije, Femi Akintunde Johnson, Toni Kan, Femi Aisida, Toki Mabogunje, Odili Ujubonu, Tolu Ogunlesi, Wale Ajao, Derin Ajao, Tunji Lardner, Niran Okewole, Tade Ipadeola, Layiwola Adeniji, Eghosa Imasuen, Anwuli Ojogwu, Kayode Komolafe amongst others.

But LABAF is not just about heavy book events to get you giddy with book knowledge. The Childrens’ Programme coordinated by Children And The Environment (CATE) usually draws children in their thousands and will feature loads of activities, workshops, talks and performances centered around the festival theme of The Narrative of Conflict while marking the National Creativity Day and UN Child Rights Day. 

In a tightly packed performance bouquet, The Crown Troupe of Africa would be staging Zainabu Jallo’s ‘Holy Night’ while the internationally acclaimed Renegade Theatre will also be taking the stage during the course of the festival. Add to that a Jazz Concert produced by Inspiro Productions, storytelling, spoken word, music and reading sessions produced by Pulp Faction, Image & Heritage and Laipo, a return of CORA’s Great Highlife Party in the biggest Highlife Concert in a long while, all rolled into a scenic venue with a captivating history then you know why Freedom Park is the place to be from the 16th – 18th November at the 14th Lagos Book & Art Festival!

For more information on the festival and to contact the organizers, please visit:www.coraartfoundation.com

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