Welcome back! I started writing about my 2018 Ake festival experience few weeks ago. That is the first post, do read it first before reading this. I was going to make it a post but it was getting too long. Let’s finish this up.
Saturday, 27th of October, 2018
My roommate and I did not make effort to get to Ake Festival’s venue early this day and yes we had breakfast before going ( I couldn’t go through that risk again).
While eating, I tried watching what was going on at the festival via Twitter. They were on time and had started a panel discussion on Entertainment, Education & Technology in The Mother Tongue.
I joined them halfway in the panel discussion, it was more of a Yoruba Language thing, another panel on Divinity and Spirituality in Igbo Tradition was ongoing. I am Yoruba, I attended the Yoruba panel and enjoyed it. It was refreshing hearing people speak unadulterated Yoruba.
Panel discussion on Entertainment, Education and Technology in The Mother Tongue. L-R Kola Tubosun, Tunde Adegbola, Kunle Afolayan and Dayo Olagunju.
The next panel discussion I attended was What do Women Want?, a panel discussion on Recollections of the Biafra-Nigeria War was ongoing. I attended the first panel I mentioned, Wana Udobang moderated while Mona Eltahawy, Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene were panelists. Listening to Yomi and Elizabeth talk about their book, Slay In Your Lane made me interested in the book but girl,( it was not in the budget). These panelists were dropping gems.L-R Wana Udobang, Mona Eltahway, Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene
The next item was the Book Chat hosted by Tolu Daniel. The books were The Sellout by Paul Beatty and Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn. Prior to the beginning of this book chat, some of my bookstagram friends were so gassed. L-R Nicole Dennis-Benn, Tolu Daniel and Paul Beatty
I haven’t read Paul Beatty’s Book but their enthusiasm would make you want to read it. It made me interested in the book chat. This book chat was one of the highlights of the festival. I thoroughly listened and enjoyed. Guess who copped The Sellout and got it signed at the end of the day?
I am really awkward especially signing books because most books I’ve signed were books I hadn’t read. What do I tell the author?
After living off the adrenaline of my bookstagram friends for the book chat, I headed to a panel discussion on Music As a Vehicle For Change, another panel discussion on Is Africa Really Open For Business was ongoing. I left the first panel after a short while, I was not feeling it.
There were films showing in the film room, I did not go after the first attempt. I went for the Book Chat of Dust to Dew by Betty Irabor and Lives of Great Men by Chike Edozien. I joined midway but it was a good discussion.
The next item was a film discussion titled; Chat With Directors, a panel discussion on The Nigerian Social Tapestry From a Male Viewpoint and a panel discussion on Travel Writing. I stayed for a little while in the panel discussion for Travel Writing
but had to leave for a special event; Eat The Book hosted by Ozoh Sokoh (kitchen butterfly). This event was largely influenced and based on recipes and meals consumed in four books by African Writers. I remember Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo, Minaret by Leila Aboulela, Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Men Of The South by Zukiswa Wanner were part of the selection. The food was gooood!!!!
I went back to the Ake Festival venue to join the panel discussion; Through The Eyes Of A Child. Another panel discussion on The Intricacies Of Afropolitanism was ongoing. I came in late for the panel discussion, I was able to pick bits.
In Ake Festival, there is always a veteran in literature celebrated every year. Nuruddin Farah was the writer celebrated this year. Shame on me but I could hardly recall hearing about him before this event.
I had been seeing him around the festival venue, an elderly man who carried a backpack I feared was too heavy for him, always paying attention. The Life and Time Series was hosted by Kunle Ajibade. This was the Nurrudin Farrah’s session. I wish I took note because this session was insightful and wonderful.
I found this quote from the session on pulse.ng
Fiction is never far from the truth. It tells a version of the truth,” the author says. “…A Naked Needle, my second novel became a misogynist bible, contrary to my intention and so I wrote a letter to my publisher for it to be taken out of circulation. We agreed to let it sell out and not do a second reprint. Now if you want to buy it you have to pay $750. You have to be a rich misogynist.
The last event for the day was the play- The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr. If you haven’t read the book, please do. The play represented what the book was about. It was funny, graphic*, fun and brilliant.
We were all satiated with Saturday’s event, especially that play. The icing on our already well made cake.
Sunday, 28th of October.
I went to church in the morning, I missed the panel discussion on Understanding Afrofuturism, panel discussion on The Black Panther Phenomenon. A book chat on Ordinary People by Diana Evans, The Hundred Wells Of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna-Attah. A film show: Her Broken Shadow. A panel discussion on Comics: Into a Fantastical African Future, Lagos: A City of The Future. A film show; Uprooted.
I met the Book Chat on Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti and Tochi Onyebuchi’s Beasts Made Of Night. I read Binti at last year’s festival, the book chat was enjoyable.
There was a film discussion on The Documentary Makers, a panel discussion on The Issue Of Blood, a panel discussion on The Journey Of African Literature which is one of my favorites.
Jennifer Makumbi was one of the panelists, I liked the questions she asked. It made me interested in reading her book. Mukoma Wa Ngugi shared something that I had to keep in my draft. He mentioned he read it somewhere but I heard it from him
A writer is half doubt and half confidence
The final event of the festival was the Poetry Performance by Nastio Mosquito, Dami Ajayi, Wana Udobang, Nick Makoha, Saddiq Dzukogi, Nii Ayikwei-Parkes, Theresa Lola, Ishion Hutchinson and Logan February. It was hosted by the queen; Lola Shoneyin.
Nastio’s performance made me think, Dami’s poetry made me smile, Wana’s poetry gave me chills and butterflies, Saddiq’s poetry brought tears to my eyes, Nii’s poetry made my stomach ache from laughter and Theresa with that gentle voice reminded me of unrealized dreams.
It was bitter-sweet realizing that the festival was over!
FYI: I took a picture here everyday
General thoughts on the festival
I was skeptical about the festival because of the change of venue but they did not pull an Amaka on me.
The venue was a beautiful place to take pictures.
I doubt I’ll ever be able to attend all the events in the festival. A girl needs a break.
It was great meeting my bookstagram people.
As stupid as this might sound, I did not go there to meet people. I’m not a people’s person. I went there to enjoy myself and did not make effort to meet people I did not know before.
It is a great place to ‘be yourself’ as a creative.
I miss the bookstore being at the festival venue. PS; I had a budget prior the festival and it helped not to overspend.
I had a great time! Were you at this year’s festival? How was the experience for you?