I could sum up my account of the Ake Arts and Book Festival in just one word: phenomenal.
Ake really expanded my cultural appreciation and literary horizons.
One of the important things about a festival like this is that it’s a stimulus, a point of reference. Ake does this very effectively.
What I love most is how the number of younger people that attend Ake Festival keeps getting bigger
I have never attended a conference in Nigeria that is so organically connected
– Niyi Osundare
Speech is defeated in expressing the sheer and rippling joy that I feel, coming to Ake this year. Thank you!
The painful part of Ake Festival coming to an end is having to say goodbye to the bookstore.
A friend called his time at Ake Festival ‘golden’. Another said he has never been so proud of an event in his country. I call it ‘a timely renaissance’. We’ve unanimously and succinctly put it in one sentence: Ake Festival was our best life experience.
– Ibrahim Aliyu
There was a telling poetry to the organization of the whole Festival: the panels, the book chats, the play, the movies, the fora, both formal and informal, and their diverse participants jelled like vital parts of a splendid symphony. AABF is a precious and timely gift.
Ake was a place of growth and I grew, in more ways than one.
Ake festival is an equal treat for the senses and the mind.
From the diverse and amazing line up of writers to the insightful programming of events and panels, the sheer joy in the written word, an audience as invested and hungry for literature as any worldwide, the workshops for younger and developing writers, the full range of genres and styles from literary to performative, the sense of family and of welcome, and that special city, Abeokuta. Certainly one of the best world literary festivals I have attended. I will be back again and again.
A truly amazing experience, the school visits. I’m sure for the students, but also for myself. I think back to being 12-15, and how great it would have been to have writers, film-makers and activists speak about writing (in its various forms), reading, activism, and providing alternatives beyond 'so-called' traditional career routes.
It was not just the euphoria of going back to Nigeria, but the expectation of being in the presence of authors, writers, poets and artists I have admired from the distance.
The thing about the spirit of Ake is that everyone felt valued and important. There was so much bonding, such togetherness. We all knew exactly why we were there.
All of the artists in this exhibition have taught me something about the nature of this amazing country called Nigeria-from small windows into private worlds to commentary on national or global issues, cultures and experiences, to development challenges and aspirations, to devastation and hope to the links between the past, present and future.
Few experience rival the shared creative space provided at the AABF Palm Wine and Poetry night. With some of the continent’s finest poets, enthusiastic eyes and ears lapping up every word. The poems came unfettered. I won’t forget it.
– Efe Paul Azino
There are many other festivals in Nigeria but none has attracted the international line-up of Ake. I went with Teju Cole to two local schools, met the head teachers, spoke to children. We both read from our works and discussed the importance of reading.
The Ake organizers had given us a pack of books to leave at each school, in order that they start a library. The children we visited in their classes of over 100 students per teacher were the lucky ones.
As cultural events go, this one was extraordinary in several respects. It drew numerous writers and “culturepreneurs,’’ from Nigeria, Africa, and the diaspora Africa world. Panelists explored some of the questions that are pertinent to cultural production in Africa and beyond. There were readings, and author visits to secondary schools.
Ake Festival was an entirely incredibly stimulating and satisfying experience. I met authors and publishers from all over Africa for the first time and enjoyed the buzz created around reading and writing.
If there is one festival you have to attend in your entire lifetime, make the literary pilgrimage to Abeokuta’s Ake Festival. Arguably Nigeria’s finest.
–Femi Elufowoju Jr.
I have met such incredible, eclectic, energetic open-hearted people at Ake Festival. I am so proud to have performed here. It is definitely a festival of international standing.
What made Ake spectacular was not just that it hosted dignitaries and giants of African literati but that it accommodated an interesting blend of people. Discussions and chats at the festival were insightful and more than once, Ake shut down social media-sphere with interesting controversies.
The warmth of Nigerians, the synergy of all arts! Ake Festival was a creative get-together. More strength!
–Beverly Nambozo Nsengiyunwa
The panel discussions were cathartic, fulfilling and overwhelming-just the kind of education we’ve yearned for.
The Shadow of Memory event was a wonderful and educational experience that I would repeat again in a heartbeat. I got to meet the legendary Wole Soyinka and lots of other famous writers.
This is an opportunity for the Ekiti State to be inspired by the guests that have been invited to speak at the festival. Effective Scholarship demands that students have books that broaden their horizons, yet academic texts can be very difficult to access in Nigeria. I am confident that our students, especially those in the humanities, will find books at the festival that will make their learning experience more meaningful.
–Dr Kayode Fayemi