For the last six days since Tuesday November 19th, writers, artists, book lovers, poets, and a few politicians, have gathered in Abeokuta for the maiden Ake Arts and Book Festival. A brain child of writer and poet Lola Shoneyin, the Festival played host to hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of visitors in the rock-head town, home to Africa’s first Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka – himself a presence at the event which took place at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto.
The Festival featured the launching of Wole Soyinka’s play Alapata Apata as well as the command performance of the (Caine Prize-winning Rotimi Babatunde’s) stage adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. There was also a number of “Book Chats” and dialogues with authors, as well as art exhibitions, symposiums, book fairs, one-one-one conversations with Wole Soyinka, poetry reading, among very many others.
Other writers and artists present for the Festival include Chibundu Onuzo (The Spider’s Daughter), Tope Folarin (Winner of the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing), Peter Akinlabi (notable poet), Teju Cole (Open City), Ikhide Ikheloa (writer and critic), Victor Ehikhamenor (artist, and author of Excuse Me!), Molara Wood (blogger and author of Indigo), Binyavanga Wainaina (One Day I Will Write About This Place), Eghosa Imasuen (Fine Boys), Ayodele Morocco-Clarke, Igoni Barrett, Christie Watson, Remi Raji, Marlon James, Pelu Awofeso, Tolu Ogunlesi, Toni Kan, Ayodele Olofintuade, Chuma Nwokolo, Kunle Ajibade, among very many others. There was also the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi and the Commisioner of Health in Ogun State, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka.
Pictures courtesy of KT and Tamilore Ogunbanjo