The Lagos Book and Art Festival holds from Monday to Sunday November 4-10, 2019, at the Freedom Park in Lagos.
The 20 year old feast, inaugurated on the National Creativity Day in 1999, has grown from a weekend affair to a full week.
LABAF is a comprehensive, carnivalesque ‘feast of Life and Ideas’, featuring a mixed-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 youth art workshops; live music, poetry, drama and dance presentations among others.
There is a Publishers’ Forum, Writers’ workshops and Book Treks.
Overall, it is an ambience created to make books look cool.
This year’s theme: “EMERGE…” is a call on all to break free from the shackles of social, political, economic and cultural factors that inhibit the progress of the individual and the community.
The last five years have seen the Nigerian nation careening towards dystopia and the world at large stuck in a scary adventure in Trumpland.
The conversations at this event will examine the possibility of emerging from this long tunnel. The books of the Festival are largely the type that construct narratives of “Break Out”, the egg-hatching type of break out, into a whole new world.
Some highlights of the 21st LABAF include On Being and Becoming, A Way Out of the Alleyway, the keynote address by Awam Amkpa, Professor of Drama and Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University (NYU).
There’s a panel discussion around The Return of Hope, moderated by Kayode Komolafe, Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay Newspapers, featuring a discussion of, among other books, Utopia For Realists, by Rutger Bregman. There’s symposium Emerge into the New .
There will be visual art celebration of Chinua Achebe’s canon setting novel: Things Fall Apart; the Nigerian launch of ‘Victor Ekpuk: Connecting Lines Across Space and Time, a 300 page, full-colour, monograph edited by Toyin Falola, the widely cited Professor of African history.
Kunle Ajibade, the award winning author of the prison notes Jailed For Life chairs a review conversation titled Obstacles to Emergence framed around Pat Utomi’s Why Not- Citizenship, State Capture, Creeping Fascism; Do not Die in Their War, by Dele Farotimi; The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell
Aduke Gomez, culture grandee, moderates the Narratives of Emergence which is reading and conversations around Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel, and Ocean Vuoung’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous.
The one other panel specifically focused on the Emerge theme is a discussion around Start up nation, the story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor & Saul Singer, Deji Toye moderates this panel by engaging the review skills of Oris Agbokhaevbolo and Dipo Ogunbiyi