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Mixed reactions trail plan to move Ake festival to Lagos


6th edition now scheduled to hold in Lagos

Mixed reactions have trailed the move by the organisers of the Ake Arts and Book Festival which before now has held annually at Ake, Abeokuta to a new location in Lagos.

In a Twitter post dated for March 9, the organisers announced the shift.

“After 5 glorious years in Abeokuta, we are delighted to announce that the Aké Arts and Book Festival 2018 will take place in Lagos State. Dates will be announced shortly. We thank you for your love and support over the years.”

Reactions on social media however show that some people are not very pleased with the new development.

“No!! Please don’t. The serenity and rusticness of Abeokuta adds to the festival,” Gloria Rhodes-Nash posted.

On his part, Chuma Nwokolo the author of The Ghost of Sani Abacha posted:

“I was at the first Ake Festival and it still occupies a special place. Methinks that the glutton of Lagos does not need yet another literary feast. If any Lagosians really wanted to do Ake, they could get there in the time it takes to make a pot of unugbu. My friend Lola and team have managed to pull off a feat from a “provincial” base and while hard-headed realities of headcount and economics have probably forced this move, here’s a minute of artistic silence to the egalitarian aspirations of all small towns who have secretly desired to best Lagos at the literary beauty pageant.”

As for Obafemi Ilesanmi, he remarked:

“That’s bad news for Ogun state culture and tourism. And you will still call it AKE?”

“I am sad! Ake can’t be Ake if it is in Lagos. It should be in Abeokuta, period. No ifs or buts. I am heartbroken,” Patrick O. Okigbo III posted.

The Ake festival was founded by Nigerian writer and author of ‘The  Secret Ives of Baba Segi’s Wives,’ Lola Shoneyin in 2013 who “wanted a place where intellectuals and thinkers can come together and talk about African issues on African soil.”

The 2018 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival will mark the first time the event is leaving the historic city of Abeokuta.


Lola Shoneyin, Festival Director


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