Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o to headline the 2016 Ake festival

Abeokuta, Ogun State will stand still once again as it hosts an outstanding roaster of writers, thinkers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, book lovers and art enthusiasts at the fourth edition of the Ake Arts and Book Festival2016.

We are pleased to announce that our dates for this year are 15th -19th November and the festival will take place at Arts and Culture Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.

This year’s edition is themed “Beneath this Skin’’. Much of what is presumed about Africa/ Africans has its basis in a gaze that is obsessed with cosmetics. Yet, beneath the obvious surface is an infinitely rich and textured world of complex identities, aspirations and desires. This year‟s Ake Festival explores the “gaze‟ and the latitudes enjoyed by those who are gazed upon.

interview2We are delighted to have Distinguished Professor, renowned writer, and literary icon Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o as our headliner at the 2016 edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival. He will sit in conversation with Okey Ndibe about his life and works. He will also be talking about his latest book Birth of a Dream Weaver.


The festival will host 9 book chats which will feature 18 authors like Alain Mabanckou, Helon Habila, Laila Lalami, Teju Cole, Panashe Chigumadzi, Tendai Huchu, Chinelo Okparanta, Noviolet Bulawayo, Jowhor Ile, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Odafe Atogun, Toni Kan and many more.

In our 12 stimulating panel discussions where we will engage both new voices and established ones, we will focus on identities, race, gender, mental health in fiction, the rise and fall of African economies. We will also explore exciting genres such as erotica, horror fiction, and prison stories. At the 2 art exhibitions, we will see the works of Laolu Senbanjo whose “Sacred Art of the Ori” featured on Beyonce’s latest album Lemonade; and Fatima Abubakar who captures the lives of the people of Borno State in a stunning series of photographs.

concertAn acoustic music concert with Brymo, Falana, Adunni and Nefertiti will also entertain the audience at the Festival.
hisseinOur Festival Film is the documentary Hissene Habre: A Chadian Tragedy, an account of the horror inflicted on the Chadian people during Hissen Habre‟s rule.

We will also premier our Festival of Short Films to celebrate this form of visual storytelling and the people who are fuelling its rapid growth in Nigeria. The short films to be screened are: A Mother’s Journey by Sade Adeniran, No Good Turn by Udoka Oyeka and Salt by Umar Turaki.


Drama at Ake Arts and Book Festival 2016 is Iyalode of Eti which has just completed an acclaimed and hugely successfully tour of the UK. Adapted for stage by Debo Oluwatuminu and directed by Moji Kareem, the play was inspired by John Webster’s masterpiece The Duchess of Malfi.

This imaginative and unique reinvention of a classic is set in pre-colonial Yoruba land. Iyalode of Eti is an enchanting, lyrical theatrical experience that is fresh, dynamic, and surprising. Rich language, bold characterisations and thrilling storytelling carry the audience into an atmospheric world that is presented with startling intimacy and electric physicality.

Fiction Writing with  Noviolet Bulawayo, Helon Habila and Sarah Ladipo Manyika

15 November 2016

Graphic Short Stories with Sebastian Loerscher –

14, 15 November 2016

At the much-anticipated Palm Wine and Poetry Evening, attendees will enjoy outstanding performances by, poets like Titilope Sonuga, Lebo Mashile, Ogaga Ifowodo, Micheal Kelleher and Dike Chukwumerije, while sipping on a calabash of deliciously fresh palm wine.
Ake Arts and Book Festival is one of the most exciting cultural events on the continent. It is organised by theBook Buzz foundation with support from its valued partners; The EU, Ogun State Government, Annoying Logo, Etisalat Nigeria and Park Inn, Abeokuta.

Enjoy some photos from the press luncheon held on Monday below:



Full details of the Ake Arts and Book Festival programme is available for download on

We look forward to seeing you at the festival.

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