by Ndidi Ekeh
The 13th Lagos Books and Arts Festival took place at the Freedom Park, Broad Street Lagos on 18 to 20 November. This 3-day event organised by the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA) was packed with activities including book readings, literary discussions, arts and crafts display, children’s art workshops, reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance.
Chude Jideonwo, Editor-in-Chief of Y!/YNaija read a paper prepared by author and marketing strategist, Toni Kan, he traced the history of book publishing in Nigeria focusing on the Pacesetters series.
This edition was tied around re-establishing the importance of reading in Nigeria, especially amongst young people s well as to appreciate the vast potential that digital technology holds for empowering publishers in developing economies like ours.
The first day took off with a kiddies segment, where Chima Ibeneche, Managing Director of Nigeria LNG had a motivational talk with the children. This segment was followed by readings and discussion of various books including ‘The State of Africa’ by Martin Meredith, ‘Dancing on The Brink’ by John Campell, and ‘The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives’.
The next day, a panel was set up to discuss the topic: ‘Books as tools of The Knowledge Economy: Can a book make you rich?’ It was anchored by Dr. Shola Olorunyomi and three books were used as a take off point for the discussion, they were: ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ by Tom Friedman, ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcom Gladwell and ‘The Ascent of Money’ by Naill Ferguson. Nigeria’s economy was discussed, with emphasis on grants given to it and other African nations – panelists discussed why they thought these grants were weakening the political structure of the country, rather than assisting in its development.
Chude Jideonwo, Editor-in-Chief of Y!/YNaija read a paper prepared by author and marketing strategist, Toni Kan, he traced the history of book publishing in Nigeria focusing on the Pacesetters series. He also wondered when a new thriller series would be introduced. Mr Jideonwo also anchored a second panel comprising of four young writers/ publishers to probe the emerging publishing industry, their contributions towards it and plans for its future through the preoccupations of their works.
The evening ended with a combined birthday celebration of notable art and culture icons present, this included Chukwuemeka Ike, Benson Idonjie, Taiwo Ajai-Lyceet, Lindsay Barret, Charles “Charly Boy” Oputa, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, Remi Raji, Fatai Rolling dollars, Tunde Babawale, Sola Oloorunyomi and Duke Asidere.