The theme for the 2021 Ake Arts and Book Festival is “Generational Discordance.”

In it’s ninth year, the Ake Festival, which was founded by novelist and publisher Lola Shoneyin, is one of the biggest annual gatherings of writers and readers on the continent, with panels, performances, book launches, and film screenings taking place over four days.

The theme of “Generational Discordance” speaks to the ways in which an increasingly globalized world and the rise of digital culture are widening the distance between generations. These are timely concerns and grounds for productive conversations. How can we reach across the divide? How can we leverage existing spaces of discourse such as social media to stage meaningful exchange in spite of the attendant perils of digital culture?

Read an abridged version of the announcement posted on instagram in the quote below. The full statement can be found here on Twitter. Go here to find out more about Ake Festival:

From relationships, love and marriage, spirituality and religion, gender and feminism to politics and activism, the Internet has exposed generational differences. Where earlier generations of Africans are anchored to their cultural identities, our younger compatriots see themselves as part of a globalised world.

From Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z, the pace of societal change means our lived experiences are diverse, but this does not mean that our aspirations are.

Africa cannot afford the luxury of endless culture wars. Engagement and communication, characterised by a willingness to listen, mutual respect, and empathy is what will face down the retrogressive forces and the structures and systems that oppress, asphyxiate, and dehumanise us.

We must eschew the sensationalism and divisive influence of digital algorithms and find a more harmonious continental rhythm that allow us to talk to, and not past, each other.

This year, in addition to lively book chats and panels, Ake Festival will curate 6 intergenerational conversations on themes that impact our lives in very real ways.

The theme for Ake Arts and Books Festival is…


The 2020 festival was themed “Black Magic” and focused on children’s writing and memoirs. The theme for 2019 and 2018 were “Black Bodies | Grey Matter,” and “Fantastical Futures,” respectively.

This year’s festival will be virtual and is set to run from October 28th to 30th.