CORA Art & Cultural Foundation

...we are 'cultural landscapists.'

The 16th Lagos Book & Art Festival                                                           


 The 16th Lagos Book & Art Festival Programme



Theme:  FREEDOM &THE WORD (Inspired by the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 20th Anniversary of the South African Democracy and 15th anniversary of Nigeria’s 4th Republic, this festival largely interrogates how the published text has interrogated the notion of human freedom)


Main Festival Dates: November 14 – 16, 2014

Venue: Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos.


Pre-Festival Events: November 10-14, 2014



4-7pm @ British Council, 20 Thompson Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The Book Trek at the British Council, 20 Thompson Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos. Young readers and book lovers assemble at the British Council to discuss some of the books of the festival and of course, have literary fun!

Special highlight: Presentation of the work of finalists of the Book Review contest for secondary school students of Ejigbo Local Government Area.


THURSDAY 13TH NOVEMBER 10am – 5pm @ Freedom Park


THEME: Fantasy Vs. Reality: Writing for Young Adults.

(In partnership with British Council).



10am – 4pm -- The 4th CORA Publishers’ Forum

(In Partnership with Goethe Institut, @ Goethe Institut, City Hall, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos Island.) Theme: The emerging market pathways for books

How do publishers profit from the intersection of the e-book phenomenon and the old order print publishing?

The CORA Publishers’ Forum was conceived in 2010 to provide a concentrated space for key publishers in Nigeria to gain critical insight into their current operations within the context of the challenges facing their industry, brainstorm on their findings and identify key steps that can be taken as individual businesses or as a collective to improve their bottom line. At CORA, we picture ourselves as midwives to the different facets of the creative industries in Nigeria, therefore what we hope to achieve through the publisher’s forum is the blossoming of the nation’s book industry.

We like to see the Publishers' Forum as a 'focus group' or a strategy session with key facilitators as guide. The forum is targeted at principals of publishing houses who seek to grow their market and are willing to engage in creative thinking towards identifying strategies that can make this possible for them whether within a collective or through their individual operations. Our expectation is that cogent strategies would emerge from the session which can be immediately implemented or could be built upon in future.

Taking the conversation about book marketing forward from where we left off two years ago, the Publishers’ Forum will interrogate what new opportunities have emerged in the intervening time.




DAY 1: Friday November 14, 2014.

FRIDAY 14TH NOVEMBER 10am – 5pm @ Freedom Park


THEME: Performance Poetry.

(In partnership with British Council).


11am: The BOOK IN MY LIFE: Wole Soyinka mentors Children

Footprints of David to stage Childe International directed by Seun Awobajo/Adefila)



1pm; @ Kongi Harvest’s Art Gallery

Theme: Soyinka: Freedom and Nation Building

Keynote: Biodun Jeyifo


2pm: Panel Discussion; @  Kongi Harvest’s Art Gallery

Theme: Soyinka & Nation Building

Featuring: The Man Died, Ake, Ibadan, Isara, You Must Set Forth At Dawn

Plus: Public presentation/Launch of new reprints of Ake, The Man Died and Ibadan-The Penkelemesi Years by BookCraft Publishers

Through his prodigious literary production, and his regular commentary on socio-political and cultural developments around the world, Professor Wole  Soyinka, to whom the LABAF2014 is dedicated, has worked consistently towards the unshackling of freedom of expression for all irrespective of race, class or gender. Reflecting on his literary and public intellectual career in the year he marks his 80th birthday is most auspicious, especially as the festival’s theme reflects the 25th anniversary of the Fall of The Berlin Wall; 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy and the 15th year of Nigeria’s end to military rule. Thus the various programmes of DAY ONE of the three-day LABAF focus on discussing the life and career of a man whose life-long engagement has irrepressibly been concerned about human Freedom(s). Under the theme: SOYINKA: FREEDOM & NATION BUILDING, Professor Biodun Jeyifo, eminent Literary scholar, and leading critic of Soyinka’s work, will give a keynote on the contribution of Soyinka to the quest for Freedom and Justice for our collective humanity. A panel of eminent writers and critics, who would be engaging various works of the 1986 Nobel laureate for Literature, will follow this. Moderated by the Executive Director of The News Magazine, Kunle Ajibade himself a writer (author of the memoirs Jailed for Life), the panel will reflect on Soyinka’s major non fiction narratives focusing on the theme of nation building and the democratic ideal: The Man Died, Ake, Ibadan, Isara, You Must Set Forth At Dawn and Ibadan: The Penkelemesi Years.  The panel discussion will be followed by a public presentation/launch of reprint of four of the memoirs by BookCraft Africa Publishers.



4pm; @Kongi Harvest’s Art Gallery:

Theme: The Intervention Series: Soyinka as a Public Intellectual

Keynote: Prof. Chidi Anselm-Odinkalu, Chairman, Nigeria Human rights Commission


The first symposium of LABAF2014, this second session for DAY ONE will feature an eminent panel of human and civil rights activists and public commentators reflecting on the various lectures and public commentaries of Prof Soyinka on Nigeria (and global) affairs, which have been compiled in the INTERVENTION Series and published by BookCraft Africa. The session will feature a keynote by Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Chairman of the Nigeria  Human Rights Commission; and a panel discussion that will parade eminent names. It will be moderated by the Journalist and NGO activist, Tunji Lardner (Jnr).



Time: 4pm; Food Court.

(in Partnership with CASSAVA REPUBLIC PRESS)



6pm; @ FoodCourt;

(in Partnership with LAIPO group)

Theme: The Soyinka Drama and Poetry:

Curated and produced by the writer, activist, Ayodele Olofintuade, Joy of Reading is one of LABAF’s flagship programmes designed to get members of the public – guests to the festival – actively engaged in the beautiful art of literary expression – readings and performances. This edition will feature readings from some of Soyinka’s plays that explore the notion of freedom and humanity – Dance of the Forest, Madmen & Specialists, King Baabu, Beatification of an Area boy, The Road. The Reading will be followed by a discussion that would have nearly all members of the audience participating. This is produced in partnership with LAIPO Productions.



Theme: Homage to the Poet

Time: 7pm; 

Venue: Amphi Theatre

Wole Soyinka is the quintessential poet. His entire creative output is steeped in poetry drawing deeply from his Yoruba cultural roots, with significant exploration into global literary traditions. The session is designed to explore the resonance of Soyinka’s poetry with the new, and relatively younger poets who will also be presenting their own works in reading, spoken word and performances. This night of poetic tribute to WS)is produced in partnership with Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC – organisers of the periodic big-stage spoken word concert, Wordslam… Feast of Poetic Flights.


Event: DRAMA

8pm; @Main stage

Staging of ALAPATA APATA by Crown Troupe of Africa.

Alapata of Apata has been described as Soyinka’s most political play in recent years, perhaps because the play touches on extant issues in contemporary Nigeria political discourse and fact that some of the characters in the play can be easily identified among political actors of today. 18-year old Crown Troupe of Africa led by the multi-talented performer, Segun Adefila is one of the most engaging performance troupes in the country today with strings of successes in major theatrical projects. Their interpretation of even popular scripts are known to be remarkably eclectic; drawing on the experimental norms of avant garde theatre with robust deployment of the agitprop format.



DAY 2: Saturday November 15, 2014.



Time: 11.45am;

Venue: Kongi’s Harvest Gallery

Theme: In Search Of Freedom

This six-person panel will talk around the struggle for freedom around the world, using, as reference, five books that have tackled the subject in South Africa (David Welsh’’s The Rise and Fall of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom), Germany (Peter Schneider's The Wall Jumper) Egypt Ala Al Aswany’s Chicago and Nigeria (Wale Adebamwi’s Trials and Triumphs: The Story of TheNews). Panelists will interrogate the length to which these authors have gone to explain the challenges posed to those struggling to be free in these societies and examine the insights and drawbacks of the books as contributions to notions of freedom. The panel includes:Yinka Oyegbile; Adewole Ajao; Toni Kan; Yemisi Fadahunsi; Kola Tubosun; and Chuma Nwokolo.



Time: 11.30am – 1.30pm;

Venue: Esther’s Revenge, Freedom Park

(In Partnership with the BRITISH COUNCIL)

A panel discussion on the vast potential left untapped in books targeted at young adults. What do young adults want to read? Are they more interested in fantasy than reality? What does it take to write for young adults? The panel will discuss this and many more issues concerning writing for young adults.



Time: 1.30pm – 3pm @ Esther’s Revenge, Freedom Park

(In partnership with British Council)

A panel discussion on speculative fiction.



2pm; @ Kongi Harvest’s Gallery

Theme: Key To The Knowledge Economy

Reading and Discussions around CAPITAL In The Twenty First Century, by Thomas Picketty and Winner Takes All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World by Dambisa Moyo

Thomas Picketty is the 21st Century version of Karl Marx”, so argues a Nigerian Marxist intellectual. But how true is that comment, given that in the introduction of his best-selling book Capital In The Twenty First Century, Picketty writes that Marx didn’t quite get it? “Economic theory needs to be rooted in historical sources that are as complete as possible”, writes Picketty, a scholar at the Paris School of Economics, “and in this respect Marx did not exploit all the possibilities available to him”. In any case, Professor Picketty also has problems with Capitalism, which is why the Nigerian communist sees him in his corner. The Frenchman analyses a huge collection of data, from 20 countries, going as far back as the 18th century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. Mr. Picketty’s findings have been generating debates in the world’s leading capitals. At the LABAF, our panelists will examine how much of this 670-page effort and result explains the nature of the global economy today and will compare this book with another work; one that is a narrative by an African intellectual. Dambisa Moyo’s  Winner Take All China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World examines the commodity dynamics that the world will face over the next several decades. In particular, the implications of China's rush for resources across all regions of the world. Ms. Moyo presents her research of the financial and geopolitical implications of this in a world of diminishing resources and argues that we are in the middle of unprecedented times.

How do these books, reviewed together, help us to understand the world’s economic growth in context?

What do their explanations mean for a businessman in Lagos, Johannesburg, or Cairo? A Four-man Panel, powered by Nigeria’s leading financial daily BusinessDay, will seek to provide answers.



Time: 3pm; @ Kongi Harvest’s Gallerry

Theme:  The Aftermath: What Happens After The Freedom

(in collaboration with GOETHE INSTITUT, Lagos)

This panel will examine the challenges that freedom brings, referencing, four books that have deliberately or unintentionally engaged with how governments and people in countries where freedoms have been won, moved on with the task of nation building, and establishing indices of happiness. How have the Ogonis fared in Nigeria’s 15 Years of democracy? (Ike Okonta’s When Citizens Revolt). How do white and black South Africans live with each other after the latter’s hard won struggle against apartheid? (Antjie Krog’s A Change Of Tongue). What economic freedoms do black South Africans have? (Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine). How far have the Germans come after the coming down of a wall erected, right in the middle of a city to separate them for 44 years? Wladimir Kaminer’s Russian Disco.

Do these books sufficiently explain the environment after the struggle for freedom?.



3pm – 5pm; @ Esther’s Revenge, Freedom Park

A lot of intrigue and drama surrounds the circumstances that saw Lagos become a crown colony of the British empire….intrigue and drama facilitated with all sorts of legal twists and turns. By conducting extensive research through archives in Nigeria and abroad, some of these facts have been captured for posterity in a new book from Q Books (an imprint of CLRN Publishers) titled: ‘Possessed: A History of Law & Justice in The Crown Colony of Lagos’. ‘Possessed’ is authored by a senior advocate of Nigeria- Olasupo Shasore who served as Attorney-General of Lagos State from 2007 to 2011 and is also the current President of the Lagos Court of Arbitration.



Time: 4pm:

Venue: Food Court, Freedom Park

Theme: Ankara Romance pre-launch:  

(In partnership with British Council & Cassava Republic Press)

Cassava Republic Press will be launching a new digital romance imprint and you are going to get a snippet of this at the 16th Lagos Book & Art Festival. We will have the Ankara publisher, and a couple of the authors, sit in on a panel about digital books and genre fiction. Join us.



Time: 5.30pm: @ Kongi’s Harvest Gallery

Theme: Celebrating Whiteman:

Reading from Lagos: A Historical and Cultural Companion

A session of keynote on the contributions of the late Editor of West Africa magazine, Sir Kaye Whiteman, to journalism in Africa. The highlight will be reading from his book: Lagos: A Historical and Cultural Companion; and some of his writings in Nigerian newspapers, accompanied by an exhibition of photographs of his numerous Lagos visits, especially in recent years. The music band will also play his musical composition with Tunde Kuboye... Oyinbo, Where You Deh Go?. 

* A possible formal presentation of the Nigerian version of Whiteman’s book under the title A City of Imagination published by Cassava Republic Publishers.



Time: 5.30pm; Esther’s Revenge, Freedom Park

Theme:  A Century of New Voices: Contemporary Nigerian Writing Across the Genres

Curated and produced by Rotimi Babatunde

This is designed to interrogate the content and quality of writings by some of the new voices that have emerged on the Nigeria literary scene in recent years. Caine Prize winner, Rotimi Babatunde, was early in the year given the task of identifying some of these new, young voices, who could manifest as the most resonant for today’s generation of writers. He moderates a conversation on new Nigerian writing, involving Abubakar Ibrahim (Prose), Ukamaka Olisakwe (Prose), Dami Ajayi (Poetry) and Segun Adefila (Drama).This conversation is a free flow discussion about new writing in Nigeria; the subjects, the subtexts, the context.



8pm; @The Freedom Park.

Feature: Jazz & Highlife Night

A musical conversation among three bands.

Celebrating the literary scholar Ayo Banjo at 80; the filmmaker, Adegboyega Arulogun @ 80; the sculptor/conceptual artist, El Anatsui @70; the columnist and essayist, Olatunji Dare @70; and the Dramatist, journalist Ben Tomoloju @60.



DAY 3: Sunday, November 16




Theme: Book & The Youth Empowerment.

Time: 12am- 1.30pm:

Venue: Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park

Moderator: Sage Has.son

Are “They”The Turning Point Generation? Reading and conversations around Okechukwu Ofili’s How Stupidity Saved My Life, Chude Jideonwo’s Are We The Turning Point Generation? Ayo Sogunro’s  The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales     (and other texts published by writers under 35, focused on motivating young people).



2pm; @ Food Court, Freedom Park

Veteran art journalist and music critic Benson Idonije is better known for his insightful articles on jazz and big band music in Nigerian newspapers. What many might not know about him is that he was the first manager that the music legend Fela had. Benson Idonije has written a book on the legend and his music and will be presenting the newly published ‘Dis Fela Sef’ (published by Festac Books) at the 16th Lagos Book & Art Festival.



4pm; @ Kongi’s Hall 1, Freedom Park

Theme: A slice of Nigeria’s Democratic struggle

The Supreme Price, by Joanna Lipper, is a feature length documentary film that traces the pro-democracy movement and the lives of M.K.O. Abiola... in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles.

To be followed by the Art Stampede on Importance of Documentation to Quest for Freedom

* Produced in Partnership with iREP International Documentary Film Forum.



7:00pm; @ The Main Stage, Freedom Park

Theme: 100,000 Poets and Musicians for Change

Being hosted at LABAF for the third year running, 100,000 Poets and Musicians for Change is a universal movement that offers Poets, Musicians and other Artists the Platform to express themselves freely against the prevalent socio-political, and economic ills that pervade the world in particular and fight against every other thing that inconveniences humanity on the whole. The message is peace, equality, justice and pursuit of the overall happiness of humanity irrespective of race or color whatsoever is of primacy. The medium is the artistry of the poet or musician/artist as the case may be which is seen as a viable weapon for effecting change in a world almost gone chaotic. The Movement is headquartered in San Francisco, USA where it is superintended by the founder; Michael Rothenberg. Motto: Poets and Artists Worldwide Unite for Peace and Sustainability.

Produced by Efe Paul Azino & Samuel Osaze. 

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