THE 9th edition of Ake Festival will be held online again as was the 8th and festival director Lola Shoneyin and her team have promised another fantastic programme of events that showcase Africa’s finest creatives. The headliner for Ake Festival 2021 is Tanzanian Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah who will be joined by over 80 writers, thinkers, artists, poets and filmmakers from all over Africa and the global Diaspora. Ake Festival kicks off on Thursday, October 28, 2021.
The theme for the 2021 edition of Ake Festival is ‘Generational Discordance.’ In addition to the line up of lively book chats, panel discussions, films, art showcase and poetry event, Ake Festival is curating five intergenerational conversations on themes that impact lives on the African continent.
Chike Frankie Edozien will speak with Drew Henshaw and Joe Parkinson (authors of Bring Back Our Girls) about the Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram and chronicled the horror they experienced in secret diaries. Audiences are advised to come for the fascinating backstories, and the exploration of culture and online activism.
On the same day, Khadija Sanusi will talk to Nnamdi Ehirim about his stunning debut novel, Prince of Monkeys, riveting coming-of-age tale that looks at politics, religion, class, and friendship in Lagos in the 80s. A group of friends become accustomed to the vicious cycle of bombings, riots and corruption and reinvent themselves.
Also, Abdulkareem Baba Aminu will chat with Yaba Badoe about her new novel, Lionheart Girl, which features a family of West African witches. Sheba’s touch can unravel people’s innermost thoughts. She can shape-shift too, but she is terrified of her mother who can turn into a crow. Follow this tale of ancient magic, blood, friendship and devastating discoveries.
Kinna Likimani will talk to Peace Adzo Medie about one of the most hilarious debuts of the year, His Only Wife. Afi Tekple, a bright young seamstress is persuaded by her family to marry Elikem Ganyo, a wealthy businessman. It is soon revealed that Elikem’s family mainly chose Afi with the hope that she would distract the groom from an inappropriate relationship.
On Day 2, October 29, 2021, Zukiswa Wanner will hold a conversation with the witty E.C. Osondu about his new novel, When the Sky Is Ready the Stars Will Appear, which explores the courage, the tragedies and dreams that inspire young Africans to brave the Sahara and the Mediterranean to get to Europe. They will talk about the fascinating cast of characters, the stories of devotion, friendship and hope.
Joseph Ike will talk to Pulitzer Prize finalist Howard W. French and explore some of the major African historical figures who have been erased from 600 years of Black history, and how the economic ascendancy of Europe grew out of its dehumanising engagement with the “darkest” continent.
The bubbly Kaz Lucas “talks to Nana about her curated interviews with women from across the African continent and its global diaspora who recount their journey to owning their sexualities whilst grappling with memories of child sexual abuse and resisting the religious edicts of their childhood. Nana will inject the courage of these women into our veins!”, organisers insist.
Tobi Lawson chats with Feyi Fawehinmi and Fola Fagbule about the making of Nigeria. From the events of 1804 when the jihadists attacked countries along the Niger river to the characters that cobbled disparate nations into a British colony in 1914. What followed? Slavery, betrayals, riots, all of which are central to understanding modern Black struggles.
And on Day 3,October 30, 2021, Amyn Bawa-Allah talks to Francesca Ekwuyasi about her debut Butter Honey Pig Bread that has taken the world by storm. Be swept into the world of twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. They will talk Lagos, the blurred lines between spirit, body and mind, queer love, friendship and family.
Elohor Egbordi chats with Buki Papillon about her extraordinary debut novel, An Ordinary Wonder, which follows a young Nigerian, Oto, through the heartbreak of living as a boy despite their profound belief they are a girl. This conversation will explore complex desires, family and identity, as well as what it means to feel whole.
Also, Titi Akinsanmi chats with Bisi Adjapon about her stunning debut novel, The Teller of Secrets—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening. A feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her society. This novel is funny, fresh and fiercely original.