a-packed-hall-for-the-sensuality-panel

By Day 2 of the Ake Arts & Book Festival, I realized that the best laid out plans can be put aside for impromptu conversations and human interactions.

You see, Lola Shoneyin and her incredible team had succeeded in attracting literary rich minds to Abeokuta and there was a lot to talk about. Conversations from Day 1 carried on until the early hours of the morning of Day 2 such that it was like we never slept.

The night before ended on a sober note with the screening of Clement Abaifouta’s documentary, The Chadian Tragedy. It told the stories of Hissene Habre’s dictatorial rule from the point of view of the survivors. Clement was one of the survivors after spending 4 tortuous years behind bars.

The morning after, I asked him about the happy years before his own arrest and what keeps him going now. Once more, I was awed at the diversity of guests and stories being told at the festival.
panel-discussing-writings-about-boko-haram
One of the most insightful panel discussions during this year’s edition was “Women in a Post-Boko Haram reality.” Chitra Nagarajan, Andrew Walker, and Fati Abubakar have all done a tremendous amount of work documenting the history, happenings, and challenges in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.

The place of western education in the North, economic disparity in this region, and safe houses for Boko Haram wives were among the topics discussed.

Kadaria Ahmed was the moderator, and she later teased majority of the audience for leaving the cinema hall scanty for the fully packed concurrent panel discussion on sensuality in African literature.

a-heated-panel-teju-cole-and-helon-habila-with-kadaria-ahmed

There were more tales from the north in the book chat with Helon Habila (The Chibok Girls) and Teju Cole (Known and Strange Things). These two books are works of non-fiction, so these authors had no characters to hide behind.

Kadaria once more was the moderator, and it was evident that she had thoroughly studied these books with questions that tethered on the border of the accusatory. Both Teju and Helon had comebacks with punch lines when being accused of writing for the New York literati and lightweight material respectively.

A hike up Olumo Rock in the evening and a stage play titled Iyalode of Eti, adapted for the London theatre, was the perfect blend to unwind and get back into the friendly atmosphere Ake is renowned for.

Here are some of the pictures from the hike:
tendai-and-chinelo-rock

will-sebastian-sketch-this-view-copy

laila-lalami-and-the-historic-woman   michael-awed-by-beautythe-happy-rock-dance

Tags: , , ,

Nma rarely forgets the books she has read and attributes the reading bug to the moment she read Kofi Bentum Quantson’s two part novel, Mama Don’t Die. Ever a literary enthusiast, Nma is also a storyteller. She reveals extraordinary details in the lives of ordinary people and creates narratives for imagined stories.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called | Episode 4: Confronting the ‘Devil’ | by Feyisayo Anjorin

tnmdgc-header

The only thing of iron, plastic, or leather-padding matter in the well-lit shrine of Pa Fakunle was the treadmill for […]

Apes and Satellites | by Mame Bougouma Diene | African Sci-fi

untitled-design29

The ChinaCorp mining-satellite shifted across the planetary terminator, separating from its twin in stationary orbit over the Eastern Chinese Republic’s […]

Is the Ake Festival a Bubble? | Okechukwu Ofili Calls for a Reality Check

untitled-design28

The Ake Arts and Book Festival is an amazing event. It assembles some of the best minds in literature and […]

Zadie Smith and Namwali Serpell on Femininity and Writing

zadie-3

Zadie Smith has an uncommon ability to tell stories that capture our hearts. But she’s also shown herself to be […]

My Feminism | Remembering to Scream | By Wana Udobang

untitled-design27

I don’t remember the first time my father hit my mother. But I often remember my brother’s hands muzzling my […]

Greg Ruth Does Something Amazing with Okorafor’s Female Characters

untitled-design-60

Nnedi Okorafor’s novels are universally loved. She builds her fictional worlds and fashions her characters from the most unusual elements. […]