Book Festivals, also known as Literary festivals are regular gathering of writers and readers, usually on annual basis. Book festivals are held in several countries of the world, featuring a variety of presentations, readings by authors, as well as other events, delivered over a period of several days. Book festivals promote books of authors and fosters love for literature and writing.
Over the years, several Nigerian bodies have brought together a number of authors and lovers of literature in several literary events, including book festivals. Below are three book festivals held in Nigeria:
Port Harcourt Book Festival
Formerly known as the Garden City Literary Festival, the festival began as the brainchild of Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who thought it up as a means to propel tourism numbers and heighten literacy awareness in the city of Port Harcourt and its neighboring areas. Originally scheduled for September 8 each year, to coincide with United Nations’ International Literacy Day, the festival has continued to expand and has been highly rated since its debut.
The inaugural edition was a three-day event, held on September 24 – 27, 2008. 2015 edition of the Port Harcourt festival to be held in October, will be packed with activities such as the book fair, interactive sessions with authors, writers’ workshops, children’s events, symposium, discussions and drama performances.
Lagos Book & Art Festival
The Lagos Book & Art Festival, brain child of the Committee of Relevant Art, is dubbed “Africa’s biggest Culture Picnic”. LABAF is an art festival with a heavy book content and is a testament to the commitment of CORA that the only way to translate the ‘teeming’ population of Nigeria into a true human resource is to develop their mind. It is an international event with participants drawn from scholars, writers, artists and journalists from all over the world.
The Lagos Book and Art Festival is an advocacy idea aimed at promoting the idea of people reading books; gaining knowledge, freeing themselves from ignorance. There are reading workshops for teenagers; panel discussions on contents of selected books; cross cultural exchange between Nigerian writers and writers from elsewhere in the world; book exhibitions and sales by publishers, book sellers, embassies etc; art and craft sales and art exhibition. The festival held in November at Freedom park, Lagos Island, is a comprehensive four day programme of events that sees an increase in audience year after year.
Ake Arts & Book Festival
The Ake Arts & Book Festival is a brand new cultural event in Nigeria. The festival is the brainchild of Cassava Republic author Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. The six days festival, held every November at Abeokuta, bring writers, artists, bloggers, industry heavyweights, public school students, reporters, and book lovers from all over, to experience what some call the book festival of the year.