The Abuja Literary Society (ALS) is proud to announce the second edition of its literary festival, the Abuja Literary and Arts Festival (ALITFEST).Having held its inaugural festival in early July 2018 as a celebration of the Society’s twentieth anniversary, ALitFest is one of the two literary festivals in Abuja, the first being held by the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF).
Themed “Nigeria to the World,” ALitFest18 was aimed at introducing the festival as well as Nigerian literature and arts to the world and by the end of the festival, marked by a spectacular show by Dike Chukwumerije’s Made in Nigeria theater show, it was clear that the Festival had succeeded.
First, its catchy name helped draw in young and talented literary aficionados from all over the word to attend poetry and prose masterclasses taught by headliners Su’eddie Agema of Sevhage, Dike Chukwumerijie of MIN and Bash Amuneni. The masterclasses, organized in conjunction with the British Council of Arts and Culture, heralded the start of the festival, and the splendour continued with panel discussions on various topics with guest bloggers like Ono Bello and Noble Igwe; writers such as Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Ukamaka Oliksakwe, Ayisha Osori and Odafe Atogun; and an art exhibition by I Can Draw Africa.
This year, with its second edition of the Festival, the young visionaries of the Festival have upped their game (and the cash prize of their poetry slam too) to include events that are sure to draw in more interesting participants and engage its audience.
Slated to run from July 11 – 13, this year’s edition, themed “Arts and Social Consciousness,” is aimed at examining how art and literature can drive social narratives as well as help interrogate ideational in Nigeria and on the African Continent at large. With literary big wigs like Eghosa Imaseun, Toni Kan, Chika Oduah, Segun Adeniyi and Ayodele Olofintuade – all of which are known for using their literary works to comment on social narratives – the festival promises to identify several aspects of contemporary social concepts and how literature and art interact or counteract such concepts.
At the Abuja Exhibition Pavilion, where the three-day festival will hold, ALitFest19 will begin with Writing Workshops where successful graduants will feature in an anthology on gender and ideational conflicts in Nigeria, and continue with its panel discussions featuring writers like Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Rafeeat Aliyu, Tolu Daniel, Eketi Edinma Eket, Chuma Nwokolo and Dike Chukwumerije, the festival offers a wide range of panels on diverse topics from sexuality and birth rates in the 21st century, to the modern day man and expectations with gender diversity, to even, the growing activist movement, #ArewaMeToo.
The second edition of the festival so offers much more promise for young children with writing and art workshops being made available for children as well as an open mic session for emerging voices.
With a film screening as well as a re-enactment of Zulu Sofola’s play – Wedlock of the gods – a festival bar, Dance aerobics and yoga, as well as a poetry grand slam with pricey cash prizes on the agenda, ALitFest19 literally lives up to its name and pledges to illuminate the mind, exalt the soul, exercise the body and of course, provide the society with a chance to exhale, relax and enjoy some of the simple things of life.