Hard times for enemies of knowledge at LABAF 2016

The 18th edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) with the theme ‘The Terror of Knowledge’ begins today (Thursday). The four-day fiesta happening at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, will feature readings and conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and theatre performance, capacity building workshops and exhibitions, and critical seminars for different sectors of the creative industries.

A statement from the organisers, the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA) explained that the theme was chosen to address rising extremism against acquisition of knowledge and development of the mind.

“The inspiration derives from the immortal words of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka that: ‘books and all forms of writings are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth’”, Toyin Akinosho, CORA Secretary General and Jahman Anikulapo (Program Chair) noted in the statement.

As has been the practice in the last couple of years, a publishers’ forum taking place at Goethe Institut, City Hall, Lagos Island, will kick-start the festival’s activities. ‘Raising Standards: Rights, Distribution & Talent in the Publishing Industry. Challenges and aspects of raising standards in publishing in the areas of selling local rights abroad, distribution, and editorial talent’ is the theme of the forum being held  in partnerships with  Quramo Publishing Limited.

On Friday morning  at Freedom Park, actress and filmmaker, Stephanie Linus will share the impact of books on her life with children during the mentoring session tagged   ‘My Encounter with the Book’ while festival’s first colloquium themed ‘How Did this creep in on us? Breeding fields of terror’ follows. The colloquium will feature discussions around Yinka Olomojobi’s ‘Frontiers of Jihad: radical Islam in Africa’ and ‘Eat the Heart of the Infidel: The Harrowing of Nigeria and the Rise of Boko Haram’ by Andrew Walker.

Later in the afternoon, the Authors’ Corner featuring readings fron Nike Campbell-Fatoki’s ‘Bury Me Come Sunday’; ‘Indigo’ by Molara Wood and Razinat Mohammed’s ‘A love like a woman’s and other stories’ will hold at the Food Court, Freedom park.

A jazz night produced in partnership with Ayo Shadare’s Inspiro Productions and featuring young jazz and Afro-fusion artists will wrap up activities on Friday.

The festival continues on Saturday with a symposium, colloquium, conversation, Authors’ convention, film screening and festival party  celebrating landmark birthdays of eminent  contributors to the Nigerian cultural Life: Benson Idonije @ 80; Lekan [email protected]; Sunmi [email protected]; Lindsay [email protected]; Biodun [email protected];Femi Osofisan @70;x;Sunny [email protected]; Olufemi [email protected] and Duro [email protected]

There will be more conversations on Sunday as well as the art stampede themed ‘The Case for the Return’. The curtains will thereafter fall on LABAF 2016 with the smashing poetry slam session themed ‘The Poetry of Change’

Some of this year’s festival books include David Altheide’s ‘Terrorism and the Politics of Fear’;

‘The Spirit of Terrorism’ by Jean Baudrillard; ‘The Yacoubian Building’ by Alaa Al Aswany; and Frazer Egerton’s ‘Jihad in the West: The Rise of Militant Salafism’. Others are  ‘Satans & Shaitans’ by ObinnaUdenwe; ‘Born of a Tuesday’; by Elnathan John; ‘After they Left’ by Edify Yakusak; ‘When LEMON Grows on Orange Tree’ by Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju and ‘Route 234’, a collection of stories based on the Arts Writers Organization of Nigeria (AWON) members’ travel experiences around the world.