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All is set for the 21st edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF). The event is scheduled to hold from November 4- 10, 2019 at Freedom Park, Lagos.

Aimed at promoting artistic and book culture, LABAF is a unique platform for writers, artists, and people from all works of life to experience arts at its peak and celebrate the significance of books and arts to national growth and development.

Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF)

Often referred to as Africa’s biggest cultural picnic, the Lagos Book and Art Festival is a week-long event held annually. It is a comprehensive open air-carnivalesque “feast of life and ideas’’ that features a mix grill of artistic and cultural events. Some of the activities include exhibitions of books and arts, conversations around books, live reading sessions, performing and allied arts: displays of paintings, seminars on visual, sculptures, mixed media, installations and crafts, children and youth art workshops, live music poetry, dance presentations, drama, among others.

Also, there are programs that precede the last three (weekend) days of the week-long event which include a four-day pre-festival series of events, such as a Publishers’ Forum. Parts of the pre-festival program are Writers’ workshops and Book Treks (writers’ visits to schools and engagement with pupils). Overall, LABAF aims to create a spectacular atmosphere to make books look cool and interesting.

LABAF 2019

This year’s Festival promises to be bigger with more fun and excitement. This year’s theme is: EMERGE: Breaking into the NEW. Considered a sequel to the past two editions of the festival, “ERUPTIONS: Global Fractures and the Our Common humanity’’ (2017) and “RENEWAL: Towards a World that Works for All’’ (2018), this year’s theme is focused on the notion of breaking free from the shackles of social, political, economic and cultural factors that pose a threat to the progress of the individual and the nation.

Furthermore, the theme will reflect on challenges and obstacles confronting the process of nation building, and human capital development which are central to the philosophy of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, and have consistently formed the core objective of LABAF since its establishment in 1999 to mark the return of Nigeria to democratic dispensation after experiencing over three decades of military regimes. The thematic thrust of activities that will feature in the week-long festival will fully examine issues around 20 years of Nigeria’s democracy, political events and discourses around the African continent, and also developments surrounding global politics.

LABAF 2019 is dedicated to the memory of the renowned printmaker, David Herbert Lawrence, who due to a protracted illness passed away in the morning of Tuesday, August 6, 2019. Also, this year’s festival will remember and celebrate the life and times of other popular members of the artistic and cultural world, who have passed on in the course of the year. They include:

Bisi Silva (Art curator)

Okwui Enwezor (Art curator and Historian)

Paul Emema (Scriptwriter, Film Producer)

c(Culture activist and scholar)

Eddie Ugbomah (Filmmaker and art activist)

Molara Ogundipe (Literature teacher and Culture scholar)

Stella Oyedepo (Playwright, Arts administrator)

Jide Ogungbade (Theatre Director and Broadcaster)

Frank Okonta (Filmmaker and Art Patron)

Idowu Nubi (Film editor)

Captured an “arthouse party”, the event will equally celebrate landmark birthdays of distinguished contributors to the Nigerian cultural scene. This year, 14 individuals in different disciplines of the arts, led by Africa’s most eminent and laurelled culture figure, Wole Soyinka (1986 Nobel laureate in Literature), will be honoured at a party which will hold on the evening of Saturday, November 9, 2019  in the Owambe ambience of the FoodCourt of the Festival Village, Freedom Park, Lagos Island.


Lagos Book Art Festival

Featured Image Source: Lagos Book Art Festival

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This article was first published on 14th October 2019


I am a Lion, I love to hit heights that seem impossible so I can motivate others and prove doubters wrong. For me, impossible is nothing. I'm open to learning and I love to read, travel and meet new faces.

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