Lagos Book & Art Festival | LABAF .....Dubbed Africa’ Largest Culture Picnic. Wed, 10 Feb 2021 14:40:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lagos Book & Art Festival | LABAF 32 32 CORA celebrates Taiwo Ajai-Lycett at 80, dedicates its 2021 season to her Wed, 10 Feb 2021 14:30:17 +0000 The Committee for Relevant Art, CORA felicitates our matron, board member and mentor, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett on the occasion of her 80th birthday, today, February 3.

Actress, social activist and culture advocate, Anty TAL (as she is fondly called) means more than just a board member to the CORA. She is a vital force behind the dreams and passion that drive CORA and its various activities.

“Like all the other eminent members of the Board, she is ever ready to listen and help to think through programme ideas, offering much-needed advices and critiques as desired,: said Samuel Osaze, CORA Program Officer in a statement on behalf of the Programme Directorate of the prime culture advocacy group.

He continued, “We indeed cannot quantify her contribution and support to the progress of the organisation this past three decades,” stated the programme directorate of the organization.

“It is thus with pleasure that the CORA Working Committee (CWC) has dedicated the entire 2021 programme season to celebrating the illustrious life and career of the enigmatic matriarch of the Nigeria stage and screen. All through the year, several programmes would be held to celebrate various strands of her blessed life. Some events will also be staged in partnership with other organisations to which she subscribed.

“The climax of the CORA 2021 season would be the 7-day Lagos Book & Art & Festival, LABAF, which is entirely dedicated to Mrs. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett. With the working theme, A FORK IN THE ROAD… LABAF 2021, will be a week-long comprehensive open-air carnivalesque ‘feast of Life and Ideas’ featuring a mix-grill of artistic and cultural events  including: exhibitions of books and arts,  live reading sessions; conversations around books; seminars on visual, performing and allied arts; displays of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, installations and crafts; children and youths art workshops; live music, poetry, drama and dance presentations among others.

“All the programme items will have event or section celebrating Anty Ajai-Lycett.”

“But for the restrictions dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially the strict guidelines by the Lagos state government,  the year-long programme would have commenced today, February 3, with a mentorship event that had been exclusively designed to spotlight the very essence of Anty TAL: Mentoring the Future. The event has now been rescheduled to when the raging pandemic has simmered and the City has reopened.”

However, the CWC has recently concluded an interview documentary on the matriarch – TAIWO AJAI-YCETT… Matriarch of the ACT  — which would be unveiled in the next few weeks. An excerpt from the documentary is, however, expected to be screened on all CORA communication platforms from today throughout the rest of the month.


Sgd: Samuel Osaze

Prog Officer, CORA



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LABAF 2020; What, When, and Where Mon, 19 Oct 2020 20:41:37 +0000 22nd LAGOS BOOK & ART FESTIVAL, LABAF 2020

(Dedicated to ODIA OFEIMUN@70)



A State of Flux: Literacy in a Period of Languor

Literacy in a Period of Languor

Date: November 9-15, 2020

Venues: REAL- TUAL

*Freedom Park, Lagos Island (Real)

* Zoomdom (Virtual)


  1. Main Festival (Adult)
  2. Children/Students Segment
  • Youths segment


  1. Exhibitions. Workshops. Drama. Poetry. Dance. Films.
  2. 12 Books are, primarily, up for discussion in the main (adult) segments
  • 15 Books in the Green Festival (Children/Students/Youth) Segment
  1. Exhibition of Visual Arts products
  2. Workshops for young people
  3. CORA Creative Youths Club, CCYC

THEME:  Raison De’tre

FluxLanguor, the two active words in the theme, contrast sharply with Emerge, the subject of last year’s edition of the Festival.

A State of Flux is inspired by the deep anxieties in the global political economy; the easy and ready dismissal of ideas that seemed commonsense a while ago. The epic struggle of the notion of the nation state. The rise and rise of a dangerous streak of divisive political ideology that seems to undermine all humanistic values and the lack of cohesive response by governments, everywhere, to the increasing decapitation of the environment by climate change.

Four months into our choice of the theme: A State of Flux, the global economy was locked down by the COVID-19.  Humankind has since experienced varying degrees of haziness and stupor; the mind is trapped and competence escapes.

To make sense of all this haze, we invite Femi Osofisan’s Kolera Kolej, the classic satirical novel set in a university campus, a hilarious observation of a society set on snuffing out its best institutions.

Andre Brink’s A Wall of Plagues, influenced by Camus, published in 1984 at the time of apartheid’s state of emergency, imagines a devastating descent of plagues imperiling society; Elechi Amadi’s The Great Ponds is a fictional take on the 1918 Pandemic and Wọlé Ṣoyínká’s  Opera Wọnyosi, described, in places, as an eloquent  play about human decadence and profound stupidity.

Some of the newer books for discussion, which speak to the theme, include Nancy Fraser’s “The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born,”  Aramide Ṣegun’s Ẹniitàn: Daughter of Destiny; Wendy Brown’s “In the Ruins of Neoliberalism,” Joy-Ann Reid’s “The Man Who Sold America.”

There are panels, of course, to engage these texts and 12 others over the weeklong fiesta of the written word, but we invite anyone who has read any of these books to raise her hand for engagement.


A Carnivalesque Feast of Ideas

The Lagos Book and Art Festival, (LABAF), was created in 1999 to whip up enthusiasm and support for the book as a cultural item. Today it has become a carnivalesque feast of ideas, visual and performed arts, which attract thousands of people across generational divides. There’s a strong youth (12-16 years old) segment. The core programming remains panel conversations around a set of “Books of the Festival,” which speak to the year’s theme, as well as meet-the-author events, ‘Why-I-Read-What-I-Read sessions with top corporate leaders and a seminal conversation focused on that one recent work of non-fiction that most appraises the directions of the global knowledge economy. The drama and dance performances, poetry skits, music and visual exhibits that feature as interludes and ”after hour” sessions are always keyed to the theme, of which this year’s is: A State of Flux, Literacy in a period of Languor.

LABAF: The Objectives

  • The Lagos Book & Art Festival continues as a platform to make books look cool.
  • It is designed as a large intersection of the book and other arts and promoted as a major item in the organisers’ vision to make Lagos Nigeria a prime destination for culture tourism.
  • LABAF seeks to be more than a bookfair, with a focus on sales, or a literary festival, which is often restricted to the writing establishment. It connects Lagos residents to a growing international audience who see in intellectual culture a valid part of global travel.
  • LABAF hopes to increase, manifold, the variety of publics in its carnivalesque book and festival; book rights sales, writers and networking, knowledge growth.
  • With its ever growing Children/Students/Youth segment, the 15-year old GREEN FESTIVAL, anchored by Children and the Environment, CATE) and the 3-year old CORA Creative Youth Club, anchored by MINDBusiness), LABAF  hopes to merge literature with literacy and the pursuit of knowledge and provide an enabling platform for converting Africa’s Youth Bulge into true human capital.


  1. Education
  2. Enlightenment
  • Empowerment

LABAF in the context of  the CORA mandate

CORA was born out of a desire to help facilitate the rise of the ‘intellect’ over ‘emotion’ in the affairs of peoples of our nation and the world.

At CORA, we are more focused on the mind and mental development of the people of Africa, so they can proudly take their seat at the globalization discourse. We believe that this can only be ac- complished through mass literary, using the instrumentality of the arts.


Programme Chair, CORA

TOYIN AKINOSHO @60 COMMEMORATIVE PUBLICATION(e-Book) Mon, 25 May 2020 21:41:48 +0000 You can read or download the book here…
A commemorative book to mark the 60th birthday anniversary of the geologist-culture advocate released on May 17, 2020

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Dissecting the interventions of
in the enterprise of
Culture Production
Art Advocacy
In honour of his 60th Birthday anniversary, May 17, 2020
Sola Adeyemi & Jahman Anikulapo (Eds)
Preface by Professor Niyi Osundare
Introduction by Ben Tomolo­­ju

The tributes in this Book of Honour  are a testimony  not only to Toyin Akinosho but to the rarity of the initiative and bounty of possibilities that he so remarkably embodies. Artistic creativity  dies when it is deprived of regenerative-critical response. Culture congeals, then atrophies when it lacks the push-and-pull that comes with constant appreciation and that interrogative engagement that is its enabling cohort. What Akinosho and the CORA clan (plus all the CORA ‘subsidiaries’) have  done in the past 30 years is to keep reminding our philistine nation that culture matters. And that culture matters vitally, urgently – beyond the pretensions of hastily organized ‘national cultural festivals’ and their shoddy but expensive jamborees.                                                                         — NIYI OSUNDARE

By the testaments harvested from 52 witnesses, the essential Toyin is projected in a kaleidoscopic light as a phenomenal arbiter in the cultural life of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, a cosmopolitan entity and great influencer in critical and creative enterprises. Poblishaaaa…. contains crisp, exciting narratives about the one whom one may choose randomly to refer to as ‘the celebrant’ because of the major objective of this publication. Toyin’s role in the mix of what T.S. Eliot refers to as creative and critical labour has been deservedly projected on a high pedestal by discerning minds in Poblishaaaa…. which is an exceptional book in  historicity and analysis of the practicality of Nigeria’s cultural development process.                                                                                                                                 — BEN TOMOLOJU

TA, Toyin, CORAman, Egbon, Moses Aremu, Critic, Oilman, the Renaissance Man, Map Reader, Poblisha… so many labels, bynames and soubriquet, but none describes Toyin Akinosho better than the differences he has made in the lives of many people – friends, colleagues, associates, sidemen, Nigerians, non-Nigerians. This is apparent in the many tributes and words of gratitude and admiration in this florilegium put together for his 60th birthday. As stated by the Nigerian award-winning poet and academic Niyi Osundare, Akinosho embodies Education. Enlightenment. Empowerment. He is, in the words of Akin Adesokan, The Prime One. The One whose influence on all is indescribable. The One who makes others paramount before self. The Poblisha whose achievements are of such magnitude that this book only manages to capture a fleeting part of it. But it still provides a glimpse into the life of Toyin Akinosho.                                                                                                                                                                                                    — SOLA ADEYEMI


Ahmed Gafar
Ahmed Yerima
Akeem Lasisi
Akin Adesokan
Akinwale Onipede
Ayo Arigbabu
Bayo Olupohunda
Chuks Nwanne
Chris Paul Otaigbe                                                            
Deji Toye
Edmond Emuesiri Enaibe
Femi ‘Diran Ipaiye
Femi Odugbemi
Feyi Adelakun
Francis Onwochei
Foluso Ogunsan, Jnr
Jumoke  Verissimo
Jerry Buhari
Ken Egbas
Kenni Ekundayo
Kingdom Arigo
Kunle Ajibade
Lookman Sanusi
Mahmoud Ali-Balogun
Murtala Sule
Muyiwa Osifuye
Nduka Otiono
Obi Nwakanma
Ogaga Ifowodo
Ola Adams
Olatunji Sotimirin?
Olayiwola Adeniji
Olu Amoda
Olusola Ogunfuwa
Onyeka Nwelue
Paul Kelechi
Sanya Osha
Samuel Oriakhi Osaze
Segun Adefila
Seun Olakotan
Steve Ayorinde
Sewedo Nupowaku
Sola Alamutu
Tade Ipadeola
Toni Kan
Tunde Lanipekun
Tunde Kelani
Tunji Azeez
Tunji Lardner
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Wale ‘Goggles’ Odewale
Yomi Layinka                 

The BookMobile Tour: 120 kids explore Lagos, learning and having fun all the way Thu, 19 Dec 2019 19:40:03 +0000

After months of planning, Iread Mobile Library hosted 120 kids aged 5-15 to an educational tour on 17 December. Tagged the “Lagos BookMobile Tour”, the itinerary included visits to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC) — both in Ikoyi — and Book City, a bookshop in Surulere.

Iread Mobile Library operates from Igando and has outreaches in various parts of Lagos and this year’s tour is the third edition. The one remarkable thing about the young tourists is that they represent at least 70 different schools and come from diverse social and religious backgrounds. They were brought together by their love for books.

“I’m expecting to see a lot of good things and I think it’s going to be a great experience,” said Tomiwa Lawson, just before the bus got on the way. “I I look forward to buying books at Book City.”

According to Ms Funmi Ilori, founder of Iread Mobile Library, the idea of the bookmobile tour is mainly to let the kids associate the concept of having fun with the habit of reading.

“We want the children to enjoy reading and not to think that reading is only done as a requirement for passing tests and exams,” she said at the Iread Library Hub in Maryland, where all the participants were dropped by parents and guardians. “We firmly believe that the more information children have the better their leadership skills and the better they can plan for the future. That’s why we decided to start the bookmobile tour.”

One of the early highlights of the tour was the kids learning to sing Feliz Navidad, The First Noel and other Christmas carols in French, a lively session coordinated by Christine David, founder of the CDI Kids French Club.

At the Nigeria Film Corporation, the kids learned about the history of the organisation and the art of filmmaking. They were later entertained by actor and comedian Tunji Sotimirin who performed songs, told a short story and taught the youngsters some dance routines.

This was followed by the screening of a short film about drugs counterfeiting, titled “Fish Bone”.

“That was exclusively for the children, courtesy of the United States Embassy,” Ilori, who is also the Director of Education at iRise Model School, added.

At the United Nations Information Centre, the young tourists learned all about the history of the global body as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They also watched a short film on gender equality and violence.

“I like the bus, the food and the book store,” one of the teenagers on the tour said. “I enjoyed being on the tour.”

It wasn’t only the kids who had a great time. Parents followed the tour’s progress through updates on a whatsapp group created for the purpose.

“I’m proud that there’s an organisation like iRead putting together such an educational event for kids, at such an affordable cost and without having to travel out of the state, talkless of out of country,” one satisfied parent said.

“You can’t imagine how much learning took place today, and outside the classroom walls for that matter. Physically, the couple of short walks between the buses and each of the venues. Socially, they made new friends, and even learnt leadership skills through the ‘buddy’ system introduced by the team. “They learnt to be responsible and look out for others. Emotionally, they were all happy. They practised decision making skills, budgeting, negotiation and trading at Book City. They also got firsthand values on the importance and relevance of books as treasures. I could go on.”

Another parent, Kunle Taiwo, who signed up two kids on the tour said that nothing could compare to the exposure the kids got to the different organisations visited on the tour.

“There’s a great level of absorption among children when they are together. There’s that feeling of fulfillment that really cannot be qualified by adults when children are in the midst of themselves doing the same things together,” he said after the tour had ended. “Pictures are good as virtual memorials. But trust me what is absorbed internally and mentally is what you can’t take away from their minds and their stories.”

LABAF 2019: A week of 52 engaging events with loads of lessons for the youths Sat, 07 Dec 2019 12:56:25 +0000

Programme Chair, Committee of Relevant Art (CORA), Mr. Jahman Anikulapo (left); some of the chidren guests at the Green Festival; Green Queen, Sola Alamutu, and Mr. Chuma Nwokolo (extreme right)

Festival to me is a period set aside for wild, sometimes idiotic celebrations. I had never attended one. What I saw from afar were jobless people whining, gambling and whoring as though life were a bed of roses. Therefore, attending festivals was not my thing because I thought there were better things to tackle with my time and attention.

But on 18 October 2019, my philosophy about festivals began to change when I received a formal invitation from the Programme Chair of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), Mr. Jahman Anikulapo to attend Lagos Book Art Festival, which he directs. I thought to myself: ‘This is Mr. Jahman, he wouldn’t invite me to a meaningless thing because he is not a meaningless man.’ So, I made up my mind to be a part of the celebration. Besides, I believed so much in the idea of Freedom Park, because every of its products in the past few years has undoubtedly been illuminating. I almost missed the festival, but I am glad I didn’t; for, I would have lost a lifetime opportunity.

With the theme ‘Emerge: Breaking into the New,’ this year’s festival addressed new mores in the way culture and its vehicles, the arts, affect human actions and progress of society. Most of all, it addresses the issue of reading in Nigeria, channeling ways in which the culture could be deepened to ensure participatory democracy by the citizens. There were several intriguing and illuminating conversation panels, where guests discussed books, art and ideas, spotlighting their meaning as they affect he process of nation building and emancipation of the human family.

I am personally passionate about youth opportunity and development; so, my focus in reflecting on this festival tagged ‘Feast of Life and Ideas’ will try to check how the various events staged in the course of the festival affect the youth, the leaders of today and tomorrow.

The seven days’ art’s feast started on Monday, November 4 and ended on Sunday, November 10, 2019. In particular, the children and youth section, which started with the four-day CORA Youth Creative Club (CYCC) on Monday, November 4 at the Green Desert section of Freedom Park, was educative, empowering and inspiring. Young person desirous of growing up to be a resourceful person and an asset to society should not miss the event.

The festival’s opener, which was dubbed the ‘Libation’ had indeed been staged by a youthful organization, Praxis Hangout, anchored by the youthful Tee Jay Dan, editor-in-chief of Praxis Magazine Online. The stimulating session was on Literature in Indigenous Languages and Translation. The second part of the session was held in the late evening of same day, where poets and storytellers shared their works in a moonlight storytelling ambience. In between the two related sessions was the BookTrek, which paraded over 30 authors – young and old — reading from their works to a live audience. Of particular interest were the four kid authors –- age range 4-10 — who also read from their books.

In all, over 65 per cent of the 52 events that featured in the festival was anchored by youths from age 25 to 40; and this signalled a good prospect for the future of the festival, which is the longest running project of its nature in the country, and perhaps the continent.

The youth-focused programme
Friday, November 8 witnessed the beginning of the Green Festival, the associate festival of LABAF, jointly organised by CORA and Children And The Environment (CATE). The sage and grand word master in person of Professor Babatunde Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka was with us throughout the event on Friday, November 8. He spoke to the gathering of over 300 students on the significance of knowledge acquisition to nation building. He challenged the young ones to always hold the adults, including their parents, to account as actions they take affect their today and their future.

Cultural icons of repute, people who have dedicated their existence to serving humanity and have invested their time in literary activities were in attendance, interacting and mentoring young people. We had the veteran actress and culture advocate, Mrs. Taiwo Ajayi, dramatist, culture communicator, Ben Tomoloju, and theatre and global culture scholar, Professor Awam Amkpa, popular screen actress, Monalisa Chinda-Coker, and actor, motivational Femi Jacobs, author of the motivational memoir, The Rise – both of who mentored children and students on the importance of reading and education. Mr. Treasure Bayode Olawumi, who holds the Guinness Book of Record’s award for Longest Reading session (123 hours in six days), was also on hand to encourage the youth section on the importance of reading to shaping career and personality.

For every youth, who is confounded and keeps asking, “what can I do to make Nigeria better? How can I contribute my own quota?” Lagos Book & Art Festival is a carnival you should never miss. Freedom Park is a place you should never leave while reading is a culture you should never be lax about.

The conversational part of the book segment of the festival focused generally on the 2019 theme of ‘Emerge’, which kicked off on Wednesday, tagged ‘Leaders Are Readers’, which featured two leaders on the economic and social spheres of Nigeria: Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, a popular media tycoon, who is the incumbent Governing Council Chairman of Obafemi Awolowo University, and Mrs. Adepoju Adepeju, the immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture, Ogun State, and former Managing Director of some blue-chips companies, including United Trading Company, UTC. Moderated by Dr. Reuben Abati, public intellectual and former Chairman of The Guardian Editorial Board, the session had the two guests sharing their preferred reading materials, while spotlighting how devoted reading and consistent push at knowledge acquisitions helped to shape their career and accomplishments, just their their worldview got expanded.

A young reader at the Green Festival

On Thursday, November 7, the 9th Publishers Forum was held in the conference room of Goethe Institut. The focus was how to get 200 million people reading in five years, and it featured about 80 publishers, writers, book enthusiasts, literary activists – all sharing ideas and comparing notes about how the culture of reading could be deepened in society to get more people engaging with the written text and thus encouraging mental capacitation. The adult speakers seemed to be admonishing youths: ‘Our time is up; we are rounding up; it is left for you to act for you will suffer what our generation did if you don’t act. And think; you die the day you stop thinking.’ How do we act? Is it not by reading, thinking about what you have read and acting on what you have thought? Now that we know reading is the only essential matter, how do we get more of you reading. Functional and enlivening as the Forum was, it was also full of severe, head-aching big grammar.

The conversations, described as extended dialogues on the theme, continued on Friday November 8 with a keynote by Awam Amkpa, the renowned global networth Professor of Drama and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University (NYU). Moderated by the poet, book activist, Maxim Uzoatu, in the keynote, Amkpa dwelt on how the citizens should own their narrative and be consistent in holding their leaders and rulers accountable. He encouraged young people to see themselves as citizens of the world, who should not be shackled by the boundaries created by the odds in the system in which they found themselves. Board member of CORA, Aunty Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, who chaired the session, excoriated Nigerian politicians for their perennial irresponsible actions, which further create problems for the socio-political and economic development of the nation.

Awam’s keynote which received a loud ovation soon devolved into the fascinating ‘Literature and the Return of Hope’, which canvassed that writing and reading could indeed lead to the restoration of hope in a beleaguered nation as Nigeria. Awam noted that in the midst of the madness that characterises Nigeria’s political landscape, only such offerings as LABAF and other cultural shows offer sanity and ostensibly subvert the system being entrenched by the political class. He, therefore, called such cultural outings and writings that emanate from Nigerians as insurgency in an environment that shuts out education and encourages corruption. He further noted that there was dissonance between the cultural outings in the country in terms of writing and others and the space that receives it.

“In Nigeria, we live in an informal world (LABAF and other cultural offerings) that is more functional than the formal world (government) that has messed things up,” Awam stated. “Nigerians have become the ragged trousered philanthropists who are being screwed up daily, but who also find it in their heart to be generous to those screwing us up.”

This featured reading, review and discussions around three books: Utopia for Realists and How we can get there by Rutger Bregman; Afonja: The Rise by Tunde Leye and We Were Eight Years In Office? by Ta-Nehi Coates. The session was moderated by Komolafe Kayode, Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay newspaper, and featured in the conversation, were culture critic, Kayode Faniyi, author Tunde Leye and literary activist, Kolawole Oluwadamilare.

The second seminar for the day, titled ‘Readers Assembly’ dwelt on the theme, ‘Obstacles to Emergence,’ and discussed the books like Do not Die in their War, a riveting critique of Nigeria’s polity and leadership by Dele Farotimi; The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell and Pat Utomi’s seminal reflection on Nigeria’s awkward political system, Why Not? Citizenship, State Capture, Creeping Fascism and Criminal Hijack of Politics in Nigeria. This session was heated in content and character, as it generated lots of reactions from the audience, especially with the outspoken, no-holds-barred activist, Farotimi, a former student union leader of Lagos State University in attendance. Moderated by the poet-activist, AJ Daggar Tolar, the session also featured reviews and discussion of two of the books by the journalist, Aderinsola Ajao and the writer, Femi Onileagbon.

On Saturday, more conversations were held around the theme ‘Emerge…’ An exciting session was, however, the intergenerational dialogue between older and younger writers, which showed how each set had handled crises brought by instability in the polity, especially military interregnum and the fall in the economic fortunes of the nation. While the older writers, comprising Omowunmi Segun, writer, literary activist; Toni Kan, writer, online journal publisher and Chuma Nwokolo, writer, literary activist – tackled the first subject: ‘How we wangled through – The collapse of the Book Industry, the poetry of hunger and the Jackboots of the military dictator’ as moderated by Molara Wood, writer, culture journalist, the younger writers engaged the topic, ‘How we have Emerged – The new architecture of Literature, Publishing and the return of Readers’ as moderated by Yona Masade, book editor, literary activist, and featured as discussants, Sylva Nze Ezigbo writer, literary activist, Princess Irede Abumere, writer, literary activist, and Rufai Oseni, writer and broadcaster.

Also, a colloquium on ‘Narrative of Emergence’ was anchored by the writer and lawyer, Aduke Gomez. It featured reading, review and discussions around three books, Michelle Obama’s Becoming; My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Arit Shaviz, and the festival’s star book, On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. It had in discussion, the culture critic, Jerry Chiemeke, the culture researcher, Benson Eluma and the writer, Wilfred Okiche.

Another colloquium on Saturday afternoon took on a more positive outlook, as it treated the theme ‘Breaking into the New,’ and featured discussions around two books: Entrepreneurship: the SLOT Ways by Nnamdi Ezeigbo and Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer – both looking at how sheer human determination and innovative thinking have helped bring nations out of darkness and economic stagnation. Regrettably, Nnamdi Ezeigbo, who had been well promoted as a participant in the panel, could not attend, but Oris Agbo and Dipo Ogunbiyi, both literary critics, gave a brilliant discursive session as marshalled by the knowledgeable anchored Deji Toye, the writer lawyer.

Illuminating conversations never seemed to end ate LABAF, as Sunday had its fair share, starting with the ‘Young Writers/Readers Parliament’ session in the morning, where young writers and readers had opportunity to express themselves, as well as discuss the challenges they have towards an active reading life. The session was inspiring seeing the young people in action, speaking and networking freely and demonstrating their skills in reading. The older folks took the backseat and watched their children ventilating on the idea of knowledge acquisition and education. The youths were also opportune to watch Dancing Mask, a well-made documentary by youngish Tee Jay Dan and his Box Office Studio team on the 38-year old journey of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Thereafter came the presentation of Funmi Ilori, another young person, who had been investing her time and resources indoctrinating children in the spell of writing and reading through her i-Read Mobile Library Project. Ilori’s project, vision and commitment, is so inspiring, and gives one hope that Nigeria is full of good, selfless people.

The ‘Key to Knowledge Economy’ seminar, which featured Keith Richard’s new book, Not Quite an Insider, was perhaps the hottest session in all of the panel discussions as speakers, including Ajai-Lycett, Kayode Komolafe, Samuel Kayode Aiyenugba, Toyin Akinosho (moderator) and others tore through the content of the book, and gave critical interpretation of some of the contentions in the book. Obviously, Richards’ perceived, sometimes sweeping assumptions, about the character of most Nigerians did not go down well with many of the contributors, and this fact was brought to his attention, even as he participated via Skype.

The session devolved into Art Stampede, the 28-year old (started in June 1991) quarterly “Artists Parliament” project of CORA, which focused exclusively on how to revive reading culture. Deftly handled by the writer, Chuma Nwokolo, the session showed that there is so much work that needs be done to encourage Nigerians to return to reading. The first thing to do, according to speakers, is to revamp the educational sector, such that education is prioritized by governments at all levels. The session, however, gave special recognition to ongoing private initiatives towards reigniting reading as a staple. Two projects were showcased: ‘Hanging Libraries,’ represented by Oluchi Buchi-Njere, project manager, and Ilori’s iRead Mobile Library. It also had contributions by Dr. Kofoworola, who teaches English at the University of Lagos, who, having lamented the poor attitude of students to reading, suggested that school authorities should be innovative in the way they teach students, so that reading and books in general would gain greater favour with the young ones.

… A Festival For Youths
The Green Festival, which started 14 years ago, kicked off with a huge gathering of students from as many as 30 schools storming Freedom Park on Friday, November 8. Also held at the Green Desert segment of the park, it looked like a continuation of the students’ events that had started since Monday under the aegis of CORA Youth Creative Club (CYCC), but the agenda for the Green Festival was different this year, as it concentrated on campaigning for preservation of the environment, using books and the arts as instruments.

Founded and coordinated by the lady fondly called Green Queen, Aunty Sola Alamutu, the Green Festival had children and students reading from books. Authored by mostly young people, about four of them as young as six years old(!). It was such a hope-giving programme as it shows that young Nigerian are also writing.

As had become traditional with LABAF programming, the Green Festival had a lead celebrity mentor in the person of the popular screen actress, Monalisa Chinda Coker, who anchored My Encounter with the Book, also known as The Book in My Life series.

The session is designed as a mentoring programme to encourage young people to develop the culture of engaging with written texts. The actress spoke passionately to the children and students about how her encounter and engagement with literature has helped to shape her personality and her career. The following day on Saturday, another celebrity mentor, the actor Femi Jacobs engaged the children and students. He used his recently released memoir, Rise, to counsel the young people on how they can rise above life’s adversities to become good, accomplishing citizens. Jacobs, who graciously had to steal time out of a shooting engagement to anchor the mentorship session, carried the children along with the story of his life, which was indeed full of very challenging experiences that at a point made him become a ‘street kid.’ He told the children that their present state was much better than his when he was a child but today, he is an achiever. The actor also gave his book out as gift to some students.

Also, winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2019, children’s category, Mr. Jude Idada, featured in the children’s section of Green Festival in what was termed ‘Writing the Future’, where he spoke about his writing career and style and how his winning work, Boom Boom, came into being. Other writers in the contest such Anote Ajeluorou, author of Igho Goes to Farm also featured and read to secondary school students as part of the programme.

Art Projects
Visual arts had a robust feature at LABAF, perhaps the biggest since inception with nine separate events mounted. It started on Monday with the opening of two major exhibitions around the 85th birthday of the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. The Festival director and CORA Programme chair, Anikulapo, said the two exhibitions had been designed to wrap up the yearlong celebrations of Soyinka’s birthday. The lead project was the Wole Soyinka: Timeless Memories: Elastic effects” mounted on the ground floor of Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery. The project sought to fathom and exhibit, from the purview of the sage himself, 25 most aspects of the old boy from Abeokuta to becoming the icon the world apotheosizes today. The Art project was curated by Adebowale Damola of Asiri magazine. There was also the 85 verses for Wole Soyinka, produced and curated by Femi Coker of Femi Coker Art Warehouse from Badagry, and was mounted at Heroes’ Fame Walkway area of the Freedom Park. Soyinka paid a private visitation to the exhibit on Friday, November 8; and it was here he condemned the pervasive incidences of ‘Fake News’, and abuse of privacy through social media, saying that he had been a serial victim of the two vices.
The visual arts segment continued on Tuesday, with presentation of a book on the art and career of Nsibidi sign and symbols adherent, Victor Ekpuk, edited by the famous professor of history, Toyin Falola, and presented by the renowned collector and art patron, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon. The gathering was qualitative and the discussion that heralded the presentation was enlightening about the artist’s works and artistic philosophy. And it featured such tested speakers as Dr. Kunle Filani, Jumoke Sanwo, and Prof. Jerry Buhari.

On the same day, a seminar superintended by the globally renowned art and architecture sage, Demas Nwoko, in whose honour a symposium was held. It was sheer pleasure to share such quality moments with the enigmatic artist, one of the famous members of the Zaria Art Society, sometimes called the Zaria Rebels, including Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yussuf Grillo, late Uche Okeke and others – fathers of contemporary Nigeria artists.

Also, the festival’s primal Art Seminar was held on the theme: ‘30 Years After the Boom,’ which traces the trajectories of developments in the visual arts scene since the boom of the mid-to-late 1980s that produced most of the popular, and resonant visual artists of today. Listening to this session was a reminder that Nigeria had once had a bubbling art scene that produced a generation of well-honed and well-travelled artists who have been competing fairly in global art circuits.

The seminar was dedicated to celebrating the 60th birthdays of two key members of the generation — Kunle Adeyemi and Buhari – both practicing artists and art teachers.

Another art project was the And the Centre Refuses to Hold: Homage to Things Fall Apart @60. It had a collection of paintings and multi-media works inspired by Chinua Achebe’s classic novel. Curated by Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi of Pan-African Press and Sankofa Centre for Art and Heritage, the exhibition, mounted in the museum section of Freedom Park, paraded about 44 works by 18 artists, and was formally opened on Wednesday, November 6. Soyinka, who had been designated Special Guest of Honour at an earlier showing of the exhibits at thought Pyramid in Victoria Island, Lagos, had a private viewing on Thursday, November 7. He had requested that he wanted a private moment with the works, ostensibly with his late friend and comrade-in-writing, Achebe. The opening was preceded by a conversation, which examined the content of the globally renowned novel in the context of the social issues it addresses as they relate to underdevelopment, dehumanization, culture and pervasive intolerance among Nigerian. It also reexamined post-coloniality in Africa, looking precisely at the struggles of most African nations.

Two performance artists – the world renowned Jelili Atiku and his protégé, Yussuf Durodola, also thrilled guests to the uniqueness of their post-modernist art. While Durodola performed his Majele: When the Load is Returned to the Owner, the Rest is the Rest on Thursday, November 6 to the delight of guests, the master artist, Atiku, on Saturday, November 9, took Freedom Park neighbourhood by storm with his E don Tey Wey We Dey, which took off from the park and travelled the busy Ganiyu Smith-Campbell Streets amidst loud ululation by surprised or ostensibly shocked residents, motorists and okada riders. It was a carnivalesque experience as hundreds thronged the streets as audience members as he made his way back to park. The expressions on the excited faces of children and students when he took his act to their midst at Green Festival said it all. Before his performance that Saturday, Atiku had presented the documentary, The Disciples of Marcel DuChamp, a fascinating film about a community-based site-specific experimental project that was held by a group of international artists with 65 inhabitants of rural town, Les Escaules in Spain during the LaMuga Caula Festival dedicated to the French Modernist, Marcel DuChamp.

Poetry Performances
LABAF gave ample opportunity to poets to express their art. It started with the Poetry of Arrival session anchored by Poets in Nigeria (PIN) in the evening on Tuesday, November 5. It was a mix of poetry and palmwine, as guests listened to young people expressing themselves in riveting poetic offerings with adults and youths as guests. It was coordinated by Eriata Oribhabor, poet and founder of PIN, who said the idea was to position poetry as a veritable form of literature through which citizens could engage with the leaders in the polity.

The duo of Toritseju Ejoh (left) Toyin Oshinaike performing Wat’s Dis All About, an adaptation of South Africa’s apartheid-era drama, Sizwe Bansi is Dead

On Thursday, it was the turn of the Griots & Bards, anchored by the much beloved poet, Adebola Afolabi, popularly called RezTHAPoet. This was poetry and storytelling set in the mode of ‘moonlight tales,’ and it also featured discussion around topics that are of deep interest to youths. The last poetry event was held on Sunday, titled 1000 Poets for Change, which objectives was to see how views of poets could help to influence the direction of society and help redeem humanity from the path of political and economic turbulences. Though there were many young people who wanted to read, the time was too short as promoters of the final events of the festival, the Sakara Music Revival project were already heating up to start. It is advised that LABAF programmers should give greater time to the particular programme so as to encourage free expression by young people. Well, your truly, had opportunity to present a poem on Mama Africa, and it was well received judging from the applause that trailed me back to my seat… yeeeeeah!!!

LILE poetry, drama also featured. Aside the agit-prop pieces such as MAN’ster (think “Man as Monster” by Illuminate Theatre from Bariga), there was also Join Bodi, a street, guerilla theatre by Kininso Koncepts, which canvased peace and unity after the rancorous electioneering season in Nigeria. It seeks to conscientize the people about not allowing politicians to continue to divide them through deception and sponsorship of violence. The runners of DePark Theatre – Ozxygen Koncepts and One Six Production – presented their masterpiece comedy, Wat’s Dis All About, an adaptation of South Africa’s legendary apartheid-era drama, Sizwe Bansi is Dead. Directed by Toyin Oshinaike, who also performed alongside Toritseju Ejoh, the drama got the over 200 guests gathered in the Food Court reeling with laughter, even as they were compelled to think through the various troubles Nigeria is facing.

Capping the drama content of LAFBAF 2019 was the play Jankariwo, Ben Tomoloju’s masterpiece, which premiered in 1985 in the thick of military regime but escaped the usual jackboot clampdown of the boys in khaki. Performed in the presence of the author and other veteran artistes, including Aunty Ajai-Lycett, the performance by members of award-winning troupe, Crown Troupe of Africa, drew endless applause, as it was a good example of total theatre in content and form. Jankariwo, directed by Segun Adefila, indeed captivated the audience on that glorious Saturday night, November 9 at the Amphitheatre.

The series of performances was capped with a night of Sakara Revival music concert, which gave a take-away to both the aged and young alike, who moved majestically to the bluesy melody and rhythm of the still highly treasured old music form.

Honours For Culture Heroes And The Departed
THE festival also honoured the finest in Nigeria’s cultural production life. The list included coctogenarians, playwright, Soyinka (85), actor and filmmaker, Lere Paimo (80), musician, Tunji Oyelana (80), and actor, Segun Sofowote (80). Others were poetry festival curator, Adebayo Lamikanra (70), and those just hitting the diamond age: architect, Theo Lawson, culture administrators, George Ufot and Aremo Tope Babayemi, theatre artistes, Segun Ojewuyi, Mahmoud Ali-Balogun, Norbert Young, Edmund Enaibe, Moji Bamtefa, Awam Amkpa, and visual artists, Kunle Adeyemi, Jerry Buhari, and Olu Amoda.

Reverence was also paid to the memories of departed heroes of the creative industry in a session dubbed ‘Night of the Ancestors.’ Those remembered were Bisi Silva, Molara Ogundipe, David Dale, Okwui Enwezor, Stella Oyedepo, Frank Okonta, Pius Adesanmi, Paul Emema, Jide Ogungbade, Eddie Ugbomah, Idowu Nubi, and Olakunle Olasope.

The festival also featured some externally curated programmes, including the Yoruba Lakotun by the Peo Davies Organisation, a session that was conducted throughout in Yoruba language and, which had Soyinka making a cameo appearance during which he urged educational authorities to ensure that the indigenous languages are given prime attention in educational curriculums. The presentation of the book, Silver Lining, a collection of poems, short stories, essays by eminent members of the literary community, who are members of the Nigerian PEN and other such programmes.

LABAF, indeed, proved to be a platform for creative artists and culture producers to showcase their various projects, especially once such projects deal with the core objectives of the festival – campaign for literacy and human capital resources development of the country and the continent. It is much in the “nature of an African Festival in which everybody brings his or her ware to the open space for communal sharing and participation”, according to the Festival Chair, Anikulapo, who also reminded that the festival aims to live up to its description as the “biggest cultural picnic on the continent of Africa.”

* Multi-talented and skilled writer and performer, Oreofe Precious blogs at

“…Let us use the instrumentality of the published book to light our way out of the dark…” Akinosho. Sat, 16 Nov 2019 19:13:56 +0000

By Toyin Akinosho

How do we break out of the global darkness?

How do we escape Trumpland, Boko Haram, ISIS, and Nigeria’s insistence of ruling as the global poverty capital?

How do we make our way out of the tunnel into sunshine?

Welcome to our 20th anniversary Festival.

It’s the 21st LABAF in the 20th year of the inauguration of this event.

And the fourth one that will span an entire week.

LABAF was conceived as a three day, weekend of book readings, in 1999, the year of our return to democracy.

It was inaugurated as an art filled, open air weekend fiesta, at the then new Jazz 38, close to the Beach in Lekki, hosted by Mr. Tunde Kuboye.

We wanted to raise the consciousness for literacy as a tool for engaging the constructs of democracy. But we wanted to make books look cool.

In the Fifth year, we started filling the week leading to the weekend fiesta. We added the BookTrek, on the Monday leading to the weekend, as an outreach extension service, to take The Book to students in secondary schools.

Then we added the Publisher’s Forum, a full day affair, on the Thursday before the weekend, as a space for publishers to share ideas. As you well know, the more enriched the Publishing sector, the better the book.

In 2004, we started creating themes for the Festival, picking specific books which address the chosen theme and constructing panels to interrogate the theme. 15 years ago, which was also a year into the second term of the first administration of the 4th republic,  the theme of the Festival was What Happened to Our Democracy; Literature in the Service of Nation Building.

2005 came with the theme Narrations of Survival. At the centre of that event was the epic conversation between two of Africa’s notable broadcast reporters and authors. Nigeria’s Chris Anyanwu, author of Days of Terror and South Africa’s Antjie Krog, who had penned Country of My Skull. Their books had captured a terribly dark period of time in each of their respective countries Molara Wood, author and journalist, moderated that discussion.

That same year, in 2005, we incorporated the Kiddies’ Programme. If you are intent on popularising reading, the place to focus most is the mind of the 12-19 year old. We welcomed, as the co-conspirator in this, the Children and the Environment CATE organisation, founded by Sola Alamutu.

At this year’s LABAF, CATE will celebrate its 20th anniversary.. It so happens that it was created in the year that LABAF was birthed. But our paths crossed only six years after it was created, That was 14 years ago, when CATE organised LABAF’s first Kiddies; Programme.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been through a number of themes since 2004.

But the last few years have recurred with darker and darker themes. In 2016 we examined The Terror of Knowledge. In 2017, we reviewed Eruptions: Global Fractures and Our Common Humanity.

Last year, we decided to take a break from focusing majorly on books that testify about the sinister nature of humanity and put to the searchlight on stories of Renewal. That is why we had Renewal: Building a World That Works for All. As we rounded up the most difficult four years in the 20 year democracy, and prepared for elections we took the view that we should get another upbeat theme.

Emerge; Breaking into the New is our guiding theme for this year.

Awam Amkpa, Global Professor of Social and Cultural Aesthetics at the New York University, has flown in from New York to shed several points of light into the notions of Being and Becoming and the larger issue of Emergence. We want to thank Professor Amkpa, whom I have known for close to forty years, for accepting to do this at terribly short notice and those of you who know CORA, you know he is not being paid.

Professor Amkpa’s address will segue into the first panel, addressing The Return of Hope through reviews of Rutger Bregma’s  Utopia for Realists and How We Can Get There, Tunde Leye’s Afonja: The Rise, and  Ta-Nehi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Office?

The first of these texts seeks a path to Utopia; the second reconstructs a past that was deemed glorious and a third, examines a brief flicker of hope in the last few years, the Lagos Book and Art Festival hopes to provide a lamp to the lingering darkness

We continue to examine Emergence with the first panel on Saturday, featuring reading and discussions around Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel,  and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous. With these texts, we argue that the old shapes the new in different ways. One book is a magically narrated autobiography of a girl from a household of meagre means who makes it to Princeton and then to the White House, A second is a candid telling of the story of a people disregarded by Europe as trash, who emigrate back to their ancestral land and pave the streets with gold and a third is a fictional awork by the grandson of a US soldier posted to Vietnam and his illiterate wife from the rice paddies, who takes advantage of sound education to work his way to literary privilege. If these are not stories of Emergence. What are?

I can’t exactly explain all the 26 panels in the 51 events of this Festival. And this afternoon is not about my speech.

We are already in the fifth day of the Festival and 14 of those panels have featured already.

Welcome to the Lagos Book and Art Festival 2019.

Let us use the instrumentality of the published book to light our way out of the dark.

Lagos, November 2019

Copyright Commission: We are fighting piracy head-on Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:26:45 +0000
MDA Ojo, Lagos State Coordinator Nigerian Copyright Commission

The Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) has said that the Alaba International Market in Lagos is still a thriving piracy hub. According to it’s Lagos State Coordinator, Matthew Ojo, the commission retrieved 60,000 copies of pirated films from there as recently as October.

“The copies are still in my office in Ebute Metta,” he said while speaking at the Publishers Forum session, hosted by the Goethe Institut as part of the Lagos Books And Arts Festival (LABAF). “Alaba is such a volatile place. For the operation, we didn’t go in. We stayed outside and laid an ambush for them.”

In the gathering were publishers, book sellers, authors editors and journalists.

Speaking further, he said the Commission also seized more than 30,000 cartons of pirated books at a warehouse in Abule-Osun, comprising books of various titles approved for use in primary and secondary schools.

“The pirates have their own catalogue. They know the recommended texts on the schools syllabus,” he added. “As I speak, we have red flagged some containers at the ports for inspection. We are working with Nigeria Customs Service in this respect.”

When asked why piracy is thriving and the Commission appears to be doing nothing about the theft of intellectual property, Ojo said it was doing the best it could within the limits of the resources available.

“I don’t want to say we are overwhelmed,’ he said. We don’t have enough personnel to police the entire country. For instance, we have roughly a staff strength of 500 nationwide and about 50 in Lagos. Of the Lagos staff, about 15 are in enforcement. The rest work in other departments.”

Ojo revealed that the Commissioned had recently sent a revised edition of the Copyright Act, signed into law in 1988, to the National Assembly for action. “The law at the time did not envisage the developments that have taken place since then, especially the internet and digital publishing. The revised version has taken these and more into account, including the necessary punishment for offenders,” he said.

Publishers and editors discuss the highs and lows of the publishing industry in Nigeria at Goethe Institut, Lagos


Let politicians fight their wars, Nigerians told Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:18:36 +0000 Lawyer and public affairs commentator Dele Farotimi has advised that Nigerians should unite and fight corruption and injustice in the country rather than quarrel over unimportant issues.

“On a daily basis, Nigerians die in the struggle for survival. They die because they need to raise money to feed their children. They die because they need to raise money to pay school fees.,” Farotimi said at the just concluded Lagos Books And Arts Festival (LABAF).

Speaking further, he said people die for avoidable reasons and blame it on God, when in fact the blame should go to individuals in public institutions who steal money that they will not spend in a 100 lifetimes, if they had that long to live.

“And I see Nigerians quarreling over inanities, things that matters none — not in the least bit. They are engaged in arguments that have no bearing on the challenges of their daily lives.

“The reality is that at the end of the day, we are all united by the commonality of our pains. But we rarely ever focus on a common purpose on which we could unite.”

Farotimi, author of the recently published book titled “Do Not Die in Their War”, described Nigeria as a. war zone, more or less.

“There are expatriates living in Nigeria who are paid allowance not unlike what they would have earned if they were posted to Iraq, Afghanistan or any of the live war zones reported all over the world,” he argued, encouraging Nigerians to not get sucked into the supposed conflicts among politicians.

“So when I say do not die in their wars, what are the wars I’m talking about?

“If you are a young man or woman today and you sit down and allow yourself enmeshed in several arguments that sometimes even occasion bloodletting, you’ve merely died in somebody else’s war.

“When you sit down and argue religion or you are fighting over religion, with any other persons, you are simply dying in their wars.

“When you are arguing the difference between APC and PDP, you are merely dying in their wars.

“When you begin to argue the merits or demerits of Obasanjo’s leadership against Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s progressivism, you are merely dying in their wars.

“When you struggle to elicit a difference between six and half a dozen, you are merely dying in their wars.”

What we have in Nigeria is a Mafioso governance

Also speaking on the subject, renowned actress Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett said Nigeria isn’t a democracy, but a system no different than the ones run by the mafia.

“One of the greatest illusions we have and we still hold is believing we have a civilian government. We don’t have a civilian government — we are still being ruled by the guns. The civilians who are in government have guns to their heads to behave. The soldiers just changed clothes, and that’s the reality.”

Nigeria, she added, is in a mess because it has had no proper civil service for decades.

“The rot set in when Murtala Mohammed broke the back of the bureaucracy in this country. A country without a stable bureaucracy isn’t going to go anywhere fast, because politicians come and politicians go; but the bureaucrats are crucial to the survival of the state. And the politicians we have, they have no ethics, they have no integrity, they don’t know the nature of truth and don’t have morality of any kind. They are there for themselves.”

While emphasising that Nigeria is operating a political system it doesn’t know too well, Ajayi-Lycett said she was surprised how the political elite got it so wrong.

For reference, she cited the cases of Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu, Pat Utomi and Omoyele Sowore, all of whom contested the 2019 general elections.

“Why would think they can survive in that climate? They are very bright. They think that because they have the good intention, the education and that they have high visibility, that it is the passport to government.

“All over the world, if you want to contest an election you must have a constituency. What we are doing here, is selection, not election.”

The Nigerian media has aided the rot

In concluding his argument, Farotimi said the Nigeria media should take some blame for not playing the role expected of it in governance.

“Members of the Nigerian press you should be ashamed of yourself. I am sorry, this is not personal. But the press is the gatekeeper, the ones who should ring the alarm bells to forewarn the people when these things are happening; but the Nigerian press has become so complicit in the madness.

“When I read a piece of news in the Nigerian press, I don’t need to read more than two paragraphs to know who has paid for the news. Ninety-five percent of the news you read in the Nigerian paper are opinions that are already paid for.

“Let’s ask ourselves a question: how much of what you read in the Nigerian newspapers is designed to inform anyone, educate their mind and ask them the questions required of rulers? It is unfortunate.”


SOURCE: Opera News (

11 Books Headline the 21st Lagos Book Festival Tue, 17 Sep 2019 19:05:06 +0000 Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Keith Richards’ Not Quite an Insider are two of the 11 books selected for the main panels at the 21st Lagos Book and Art Festival, running from November 4 to 10, 2019.

These are books which speak to the issue of Emergence, the festival’s central thesis.

Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for RealistsTunde Leye’s Afonja: The Rise; Tosin Gbagi’s Locomotif and Ta-Nehi Coates’ “We Were Eight Years in Office”? are up for discussion by reviewers and some of the authors at the Festival Symposium, which tackles the possibilities of hope.




At the Readers’ Assembly, which engages with the subject: ‘Obstacles to Emergence’, the featured books include Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift, Pat Utomi’s Why Not? and Dele Farotimi’s Do not Die in Their War.




Obama’s Becoming and Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land are the resource materials for the panel conversation entitled: ‘Narratives of Emergence’.




The Festival’s colloquium tackles the subtheme Breaking into the New, and discusses two books Nnamdi Ezeigbo’s memoirs: The Rise and Rise of Slot and Dan Senor & Saul Singer ‘s Start Up Nation.

The Festival’s increasingly popular talkshop: Keys to the Knowledge Emenomy, features, this year, a conversation around Keith Richards’ new book Not Quite an InsiderBy Keith Richards

The Festival grounds are the Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, the Food Court and the Esther’s Revenge Hall, of the Freedom Park on Lagos Island.

Fuller details of the LABAF Festival Programme will soon be uploaded on the Festival website.

Watch this space.

 Michael Ologbenla

On behalf of Kennii Ekundayo and the LABAF Communications Committee