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The inaugural Minna Book and Arts Festival will be held from 18-21 September in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria. It is an initiative of AMAB Books & Publishing and The Arts-Muse Fair, both of which are headquartered in Minna and have jointly and separately organized a host of literary and arts events in the city. Themed “Northern Nigeria Creative Development: The Valley and the Boundary,” the festival, like the just concluded Kaduna Book and Arts Festival, seeks to highlight the literature, visual and verbal arts created in Northern Nigeria, a region that has not yet seen as many cultural showpieces as the country’s South.

It will be headlined by Zaynab Alkali, the first female novelist in English from Northern Nigeria, and some of the activities will focus on her literary and academic careers. The organisers describe her work as having a “tenacious grip on African cultural identity” and as having “strengthened the force of her social vision in a society undergoing rapid socio-cultural transformation.”

Zaynab Alkali. 

“Minna…has been able to develop capacities in arts and culture, pay host to writers and creative individuals and establish its relevance as the literary capital of Nigeria,” wrote Nana Hauwa Sule, one of the festival officials, via email. “The city has hosted Wole Soyinka, Buchi  Emechita, Ken Saro Wiwa, Atukwe Okai, Pius Adesanmi, Ishmaeel Reed, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Wale Okediran, Prof E.E  Sule, Denja  Abdullahi, Chuma Nwokolo, Ayi Osori, and many others.”

Among the guests for the festival are: Professor A.K. Babajo, Professor E.E. Sule, Professor Asabe Kabir, Dr. Ibraheem Dooba, Dr. Wale Okediran, Dr. Razinat Mohammed, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, B.M. Dzukogi, Denja Abdullahi, T.J. Benson, and Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino.

Interested festival-goers can register online on the Festival Website or at the venue of the festival.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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