On July 17 and 18, book lovers in Sokoto, Nigeria gathered in-person and virtually to celebrate the city’s literary culture. The inaugural edition of the Sokoto Book and Arts Festival (SOBAFEST) was possible through the collaboration of Poetry Club UDUS, Caliphate Arts and Literary Forum, and Book O’Clock Review, “a literary platform in Sokoto that hosts a literary blog, a book club and a bookstore.”

The first day of the event was held at the University Auditorium, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. It began at 11am and featured a conversation between Umar Yandaki and Prof. Atiku Ahmad Dunfawa on the theme: “The Caliphate and its Artistic and Literary History.” There was also a book reading and chat with Prof. Asabe Kabir on her debut novel, Destinies of Life. The Usmanu Danfodiyo University Playhouse staged a play inspired by the festival’s theme of “Changing the Narrative.” A poetry slam was held, in which Abdulbasit Hussein emerged winner. Secondary school students and students of the various tertiary institutions in Sokoto performed poetry. The day ended with the presentation of awards.

The July 18th event was partly virtual. It began at 12:30pm and featured a book reading and chat with A’aisha Abdulkahreem on her debut, “Yar’fari.” A panel discussion titled “Changing the Narrative: How Contemporary Arewa Voices continue to break Stereotypes” featured the Creative Director of Book O’Clock Review Uchenna Emelife, in addition to Sada Malumfashi, Nasiba Babale, and Salim Yunusa. Jude Idada read from his award-winning children’s book Boom Boom. The day ended with a “Night of Performance” held at Khalifa International Schools. Sokoto-based artists performed poetry, spoken words, music, dance, comedy, and much more.

Kudos to the organizers for a successful inaugural edition of SOBAFEST. We look forward to the next edition. In the meantime, enjoy the lovely photos from the event.