Writings of the general word's body

Friday, November 18, 2011

13th Lagos Book & Art Festival opens today

The 13th annual Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) opened today at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. There was a Publisher's Forum, Publishing In The Age Of Microchip, yesterday at the Goethe Insitutute, Lagos, by way of a preamble. LABAF 2011 is on from today to Sunday 20th November. Futher info below:

Babawale To Open The Lagos Book Festival
Tunde Babawale, the professor of political economy who runs the Centre For Black And African Arts and Civilisation(CBAAC), will open the 13th Lagos Book And Art Festival (LABAF 2011) on November 18, at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, in Lagos. Babawale will be delivering a keynote address with the theme: The Book In My Life. The Festival opening session, at 9am, is largely for the young Nigerians (aged 11 to 18), at the Festival for whom the organizers have planned a robust segment. The first of the 10 panel sessions in the adult segment kicks in at 11am. Babawale will moderate that session with the theme: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other. Meanwhile, his opening address to the kids “is expected to be a summary of the journey of the life of a high achieving individual in society”, according to Ayo Arigbabu, the Festival’s Project Director, “with emphasis on how Books have helped him reach where he is today”. Previous such speakers have included Femi Osofisan, the country’s most distinguished professor of drama, who gave a moving speech, in 2006, on how he discovered literature via the Bible and how reading has enabled him to escape a childhood life of poverty. “LABAF is the one book event with a high children participation”, Arigbabu reports. “Last year, we hosted 1200 kids to workshops on paintings, readings, photography; a range of experiences and, most crucially, discussions around books”.

Rolling Dollar, Clark and Idonije To Headline CORA’s Birthday Party
The highlife musician Fatai Rolling Dollar is the oldest of the group of media and culture enthusiasts, artists and scholars who will be honoured at the Freedom Park on Broad Street in Lagos on November 19. And he will be performing with his band. November 19 is the second day of the 2011 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. As a rule, the Committee For Relevant Art(CORA), organizers of the Festival, uses this day to celebrate those culture producers who have had a landmark birthday or the other in the course of the year. “Those who make the list are not just anybody”, says Deji Toye, chairman of the jury that decided on the honorees. “These are people who, in the course of the lives they’ve so far lived, have made significant contributions to the media and arts". The party, this year is for Fatai Rolling Dollar at 85, the novelist Chukwuemeka Ike at 80, the music critic Benson Idonije at 75; the actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett at 70; the culture scholar Ebun Clark at 70; the singer/entertainer Charly Boy at 60; the actor Richard Mofe-Damijo at 50; the dancer/choreographer Yeni Kuti at 50 the actress Joke Silva at 50; the music critic and publisher Femi Akintunde-Johnson at 50; and the culture scholars Tunde Babawale, Sola Olorunyomi and Remi Raji at 50. “We are having a big feast for them and their families”, Toye explains, “under a massive tent”. The Lagos Book and Art Festival is a comprehensive, three day programme of events featuring readings, conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance. It’s a festival of the arts with a high book content.

Oil Executives Debate: Can A Book Make You Rich?
Bayo Akinpelu, former Director at Chevron Nigeria, will moderate a conversation between Austin Avuru, Femi Aisida and Dayo Adegoke around the theme: The Book as The Key To The Knowledge Economy at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Saturday November 20, 2011. Mr Avuru is the Chief Executive of Seplat Petroleum, the Nigerian E&P company which produces 37,000Barrels of oil a day; Aisida oversees Energy and Mineral Resources(EMR) and Adegoke is Managing Director of Mosenergy. Both companies are hydrocarbon consulting firms. The conversation involves reading, reviews and discussions around four books, including Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent Of Money: A Financial History Of The World, and Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat as well as Hot. Flat and Crowded. The discussions are taking place as part of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, a three day festival of the written word, now in its 12th year. The Festival involves drama skits, music, 10 panel sessions around 26 books, and a lavish party for icons of Nigerian culture landscape headlined by Fatai Rolling Dollar.

Toni Kan, Jideonwo and Nwulue On The Thriller Tradition
Toni Kan is an alumnus of Hints, the Romance magazine and perhaps the closest thing in the country (currently) to an incubator of thriller fiction. At 40, his is the generation that grew up reading the Pace Setter series. He’s always believed “there’s a market for fiction, if you write something that grabs people by the collar of the shirt”. Kan’s best selling collection of short stories, Nights Of The Creaking Bed, is a work of literary fiction, but a lot of the stories have the “thriller element”. On Saturday, November 19, 2011, he will be making a 25 minute presentation What happened to The Pace Setter Series- and when will the new Nigerian thriller come?. Mr Kan’s talk will preface a panel session with the theme: Mapping The Future , involving four young authors and publishers under 35, discussing the changing landscape of the publishing industry and express, in detail, their dreams/plans in contributing to the revamp. The programme is being put together by Chude Jideonwo and The Future Award group a well as Onyeka Nwulue’s Blues and Hills Literary consultancy.

Tunde Babawale, Keith Richards To Moderate Two Colloquies
Tunde Babawale, former Professor of Political economy at the University of Lagos and current Director General of CBAAC, and Keith Richards, author of Outsider Inside and Managing Director of Promasidor, have agreed to moderate the different colloquies of the forthcoming Lagos Book and Art Festival , holding at the Freedom Park on Broad Street from November 18-20. Babawale will chair/moderate the first colloquium, entitled Documenting The Governance Challenges: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other-I: He is expected to bring to bear his understanding of the continent’s political economy on reviews, and discussions around three books written by Europeans and Americans on Africa: (a)A Swamp Full Of Dollars- Michael Peel (b). Dinner With Mugabe-Heidi Holland; (c)A Continent For The Taking- Howard French. On his part, Mr Richards, a Briton who has spent 26 years working here will moderate the colloquium entitled Arrested Development: “Why Can’t ‘They’ Get It Right?: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other . The discussion will involve readings, reviews, and discussions around (a)The State Of Africa-Martin Meredith, (b)Nigeria: Dancing On The Brink-John Campbell, (c) It’s Our Turn To Eat- Michaela Wrong.

The City As Character In African Fiction
Asked if she had read The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives, Lola Shoneyin’s witty novel about polygamy, the novelist Abimbola Adelakun responds matter of factly: “I had to, people kept drawing similarities” (to her novel). Still, while it’s so clear that Adelakun’s well received Under The Brown Rusted Roofs is located in Ibadan, with the city’s character sketched out so vividly in the minutae of daily living in those “Agboles”, the plot in Secret Lives is played out in a way that it could have happened anywhere. Or could it? Plus, how comparable is Rusted Roofs with The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, Egypt’s notable successor to Naguib Mahfouz, given that both books are episodic in nature and treat readers to witty and entertaining foibles of residents in each “household”, in a neighbourhood? These are some of several arguments expected to be explored in a panel session on the opening day of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, on November 18, 2011. Titled: How Familiar Is This Town? The City In Fictional Narratives Of The Continent, the conversation involves readings, reviews, and discussions around several novels produced by African writers including (1) Good Morning Comrades (Luanda, Angola)-, by Ondjaki, (2)The Yacoubian Building(Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany, 3 Tropical Fish (Entebbe, Uganda)-Doreen Baigana; (4) The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives (Ibadan)-Lola Shoneyin and Under The Brown Rusted Roofs (Ibadan) - Abimbola Adelakun. This session continues from the series Lagos In The Imagination, focused on Lagos as the primary site of plot narratives in Nigerian fiction, which began at the 2005 edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. A number of panelists are currently reading these several books well in advance to ensure a healthy debate.

Where’s Ike Okonta’s REVOLT?
Organisers of the Lagos Book And Art Festival(LABAF) have commenced a massive hunt for Ike Okonta’s When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and The Ogoni Struggle For Self Determination. It is one of the two books selected for a panel discussion around the theme: Challenging The Present: African Authors And The Global Discourse On Governance, scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2011, the second of the three day feast of the written word. “We wrote Ofirima Publishing House, (the book’s Port Harcourt based publishers) three months ago, requesting for details of how to buy the book and get it delivered to us”, laments LABAF spokesperson Ropo Ewenla.” There has been no response either in terms of acknowledgement of the mail or in respect of the possibilities of our request”. Ewenla explains that Ofirima doesn’t list a phone number on the book, itself a significant, well researched narrative on the National Question, written in elegant prose. “The book has an email address,
ofirimabooks@gmail.com, which we used in reaching out without any luck”, Ewenla complains. “The publishing house is on 13 Agudama Avenue D-Line Port Harcourt, Nigeria”. The event, expected to run between the hours of 3pm and 4pm inside Hall 1 of Freedom Park, Lagos, is meant to be chaired by Dr. Sola Olorunyomi of the institute of African Studies , University of Ibadan. The other book on the panel is Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And What Can Be Done About It, by Dambissa Moyo. Mr Ewenla is anxious: “Time is running out as we hope to have all those on the panel who have not read the book do so. We have deliberately refrained from being enticed by the possibility of making photo copies of the only copy of the book that we have. But then how do we get close to twenty people to read one copy of this book in less than a month?”

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