By Bukar Bolori
The fourth Abuja Literary and Arts Festival [ALitFest21] presented by the Abuja Literary Society [ALS] is set to take from 25th September to 2nd October 2021.
Now in its fourth year, ALitFest21 has become a landmark of Abuja’s cultural scene. The theme this year is ‘Making Art Work.’ With this theme, we invite speakers and attendees to explore tools, systems and institutions that will help creatives generate sustainable livelihoods from their art while using it to promotes community values.
According to Festival Director, Teniola Tayo, “We would like to take things a step beyond conversations so the idea behind this theme is to programme the festival around finding solutions to the challenges facing the literary space in Nigeria and in Africa.”
Last year, the festival was held virtually and extended its shores beyond Nigeria to other parts of Africa, and the rest of the world. This was a necessity in view of the global pandemic. We were also able to include the African diaspora in our conversations with cross over panels that included Africans and African Americans. The results of that virtual festival far outweighed our expectations and therefore, this year, we propose to host a hybrid festival which is scheduled to take place in two separate spaces: virtual and physical.
The physical space which will follow COVID-19 protocols, would be held in Abuja and will require a token donation for tickets which can be gotten via Afritickets while the virtual space will be on Zoom, registration links will be shared on the festival website: www.alitfest.com and on its social media handles [Twitter @alitfest, Instagram @alitfest_, Facebook @Abuja Literary and Arts Festival].
Proposed activities on the festival’s program include panel discussions, poetry for stage, festival anthology, roundtable on creating a bestsellers list in Nigeria, art exhibition, fiction, poetry and script writing workshops, language translation competition, secondary school debate competition, outreach at camp for Internally Displaced Persons, intensive boot camp for creatives, book chats, poetry grand slam, writing competitions, book and arts fair, as well as a closing music concert.
Pre-festival activities include; a 3-day writing workshop which seeks to empower participants with the skills and know-how that would enable them take their craft to the next level which include improved writing quality, networking, publishing, earning among others. The workshop will hold virtually for selected participants.
ALitFest21 pre-festival activities also include a book drive whereby donated books would be taken and distributed to families at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Abuja. Books are being received at RovingHeights Bookstore, CVS Plaza, 145 Adetokunbo Ademola Cres, Wuse 2, Abuja.
The ALITFEST is an annual celebration of the arts and literature from across the country and continent, since its inception the festival has explored insightful themes; In 2018 “Nigeria to the World”, 2019 “Arts and Social Consciousness” and 2020,” The Art of Empathy”.
It has also seen speakers and panellists that transcends the Nigeria Literary and cultural space which include: Helon Habila, Edwige Dro, Sawad Hussain, Dike Chukwumerije, Kola Tubosun, Tsitsi Dangaremgba, Toni Kan, Dapo Olorunyomi, Chika Oduah, Segun Adeniyi, Ayodele Olofintuade, Chuma Nwokolo, Chris Ngwodo, Abdulkareem Baba Aminu, Editi Effiong, T. J. Benson, Eketi Edima Ette, Osasu Igbinedion, Tunde Leye, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Esther Mirembe Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Layla Ali Othman, Odafe Atogun, Edify Yakusak, Bash Amuneni among others.