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Hold on, Ake Festival. KABAFEST is here!

Yes, we are delighted to announce the inaugural edition of the Kaduna Book & Arts Festival (KABAFEST). It will take place on 5-8 July 2017 at the Gusau Institute in Kaduna State. The government of Kaduna State, the Book Buzz Foundation, and the Gusau Institute are joining hands to put together a festival celebrating the wealth of literary and artistic creativity in Northern Nigeria.

The 4 days of the festival will feature book chats, panel discussions, film screenings, poetry performances, art exhibitions, and food-tasting.

Sudanese novelist Leila Aboulela is headlining the festival. She will be joined by literary icons such as Zainab Alkali, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Toni Kan, and others. Popular Nigerian poets Titilope Sonuga and Efe Paul Arinze will also be there, including literature professor and critic Carmen McCain.

Click HERE to see the full lineup of events.

According to the organizers, the festival was inspired by the need to create “new and exciting opportunities for social and cultural interaction…in the Northern region of Nigeria.” The North has been politically polarized for the past few years, a situation that has led to civil unrest. The festival is part of a state-run initiative “to foster tolerance and understanding” on the basis of the belief that “dialogue about books, culture, the Arts” can be a uniting force for communities.

The organizers are opening up the events to students. Secondary school students will have the chance to compete in a poetry contest. University students and students in other tertiary institutions can attend the event for free if they apply online before July 5. They can also apply online for a N10,000 book grant. There are 150 of these grants available, and it is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. So hurry. Click HERE to see how to apply.

Leila Aboulela will run a writing workshop designed for women writers only. The workshop is free. There are only 20 slots. There is information HERE on how to apply.

Registration is currently open for the general public at the cost of N500. Click HERE to register.

Here are the festival’s social media handles. Follow for updates:

Twitter: @kabafest
Youtube: Kabafest channel
Facebook: Kaduna Book & Arts Festival.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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