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The inaugural edition of the Minna Book and Art Festival (MinnaBAF) held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna between September 18 and 20, 2018. The literary and cultural event themed “Northern Nigeria Creative Development: The Valley and the Boundary” is the first of its kind in Minna and the North-Central region of Nigeria. It served to create awareness, build capacities and promote all forms of arts.

Professor Zaynab Alkali, the first female novelist from Northern Nigeria to be published in English, headlined the festival. Prof. Alkali’s commitment and dedication to writing and literary activities served as inspiration to guests at the festival especially school children who were excited to interact with her. In her Festival conversation, moderated by Professor Asabe Kabir Usman of Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, Prof. Alkali emphasized the importance of self-development through hard work and dedication to writing.

Panel Discussions at the festival were on “New Age Poetry: Issues and Challenges”, “Manifesto of a Political Writer”, “Writing, Culture and Interfaces.” Also discussed were “Fiction: Identity and Representation Across Generations”, and “Trends in African Literature.”

Panelists that included Prof. E.E Sule, Dr. Wale Okediran, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, BM Dzukogi, Denja Abdullahi, and Hajiya Balaraba Ramat Yakubu also discussed issues around topics as “The Core in our Culture: Oral Literature and Beyond”, “The Role of Writers in Environmental Advocacy”, “Challenges of Arts Blogactivity” and “Changing Stereotypes through Writing.”

The festival, which was attended by guests from across Nigeria, also celebrated the life and writings of late Abubakar Gimba, one of the greatest Nigerian novelists ever to emerge from Northern Nigeria with a panel discussion that included his daughter.

Discussants on the various sub-themes were drawn from the academia, publishers, political actors, arts managers, established and young writers and artists.

The three-day festival ended with thrilling cultural night.

 

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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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