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Highlights from Ake Arts and Book Festival day 2 are here! – Food Travel Arts Culture

The sixth edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival holds from Friday, 26 October to Sunday, 28 October 2018.

Lights, Drums, Action! Let’s get right into it.

Panel Discussions

The panel discussions were more traditional, especially in the morning. We had panels in Igbo and Yoruba speaking about Divinity and Spirituality in Igbo tradition and Entertainment, Education and Technology in the Mother Tongue. The Igbo and Yoruba panels were formed in response to the dying traditions, cultures and languages — a call for the preservation of Nigerian languages. Filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan was present at the Yoruba panel. Later on, another panel on recollections of the Biafra-Nigeria war took place, where the panelists discussed texts about the consequences of the failed Biafran state.

What Do Women Want, a panel featuring Wana Udobang, Elizabeth Uviebinene, Yomi Adegoke and Mona Eltahawy.

The author of bestselling novel, Headscarves and Hymens, Eltahawy said: “When we talk about fantastical futures, this is what I want: Destruction of the patriarchy and Spaces where we have conversations about our bodies.”

After the amazing concert from the previous night, fans were excited to hear from the panel, Music as a Vehicle For Change, which featured poet Dami Ajayi as the moderator, Salewa Abeni, Tomeletso Sereetsi and Brymo. They had a lot to say about modernising traditional music and the implications of actually bleeding into a song.


Other exciting panels include: The Nigerian Social Tapestry from a male viewpoint, Travel Writing, Through the Eyes of a Child, and The Intricacies of Afropolitanism.

Book chats

The two book chats had authors from home and abroad. The first with Paul Beatty, American author of The Sellout, and Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes The Sun.

“When I start writing, I never imagine the response because that’s a set up for writers block. But now I feel it’s a love letter to Jamiaca. I really want Jamaicans to read it and see where we are now,” says Dennis-Benn. “Jamaican women have no agency over their bodies. I wanted us to see that parallel. I wanted to humanize the characters and for us to have conversations about colourism which is even common in Nigeria and Ghana.”

“It’s usually the oppressors that need closure. This is not something we talk about a lot,” says Beatty.

The second book chat revolved around ordinary people dealing with extraordinary battles. Betty Irabor, author of the memoir Dust to Dew and Chike Edozien, author of Lives of Great Men, both share what it meant struggling with clinical depression and living as an African gay man, respectively.

Eat the Book

This special event had stomachs grumbling and people drooling. Ozoz Sokoh, popularly known as Kitchen Butterfly, takes us on a journey through the African continent — North, South, East and West — with four dishes grabbed from four books written by African authors. Samosas and mango chutney as starters from the novel Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Eastern), Asaro and Efo Riro as main from Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Western), Braai as main from Men of the South by Zukiswa Wanner (Southern), and finally, Profiterole as dessert from Minaret by Leila Aboulela (Northern).


The same films from yesterday showed and unfortunately, Rafiki wasn’t on screen today as well. However, there was a film discussion featuring film directors Sade Adeniran, Bolaji Kekere-Ekun and Gordon Napier, moderated by author, TJ Benson.

Life and Times Series

Headliner, Nuruddin Farah was present at Ake to speak about feminism, his published works, his writing process and what it means to be a writer 48 years after his first book.

He spoke about being thrown out of countries, dictatorship, the implications of Islamic terrorism for Islam and patriarchy.

“Fiction is never far from the truth. It tells a version of the truth,” the author says. “…A Naked Needle, my second novel became a misogynist bible, contrary to my intention and so I wrote a letter to my publisher for it to be taken out of circulation. We agreed to let it sell out and not do a second reprint. Now if you want to buy it you have to pay $750. You have to be a rich misogynist.”


Stage play, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, adapted from the titular novel by organiser, Lola Shoneyin, returns to the Ake stage. Adapted by Caine prize winning playwright, Rotimi Babatunde and directed by Femi Elufowoju, the play made use of profound acting, dance and music to bring the book to life. We won’t divulge much, just watch out for our review!

You can still catch the last day of the festival!


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