With Ake, Lola Shoneyin Brings It All Under One Roof | Mimi Mwiya
I keep telling the Namibians one of the chief reasons I’m in Nigeria, is the vibrant literature culture. So far, I haven’t done too well in attending literary events, I thought attending what is possibly the biggest one of the year might help me feel a bit better about that unintentional lie. So November 17th, found me in a car to Abeokuta for the Ake Annual Book and Arts Festival.
The car I was in had me, my friend Kenzie, and three people I was meeting for the first time. One of the strangers asked everyone in the car why we were going for Ake and when it was my turn to answer, I said, “I’m curious. I want to see what the fuss is about.” I only just kept from saying, ‘I saw pics from last year’s Ake, it looked like this really big readers and writers’ hangout, and I sometimes like a good party.’
I got to Ake and I turned out to be pretty bad at picking which of the panel discussions I would enjoy and after my second failed attempt, I gave up. Instead, I went around doing what I do best: exchanging stories with people.
I met a guy who told me he was at Ake to find a girlfriend. He knows he wants to be with a book lover, someone he can attend book festivals around the world with. And when you think about it, what better place is there to meet such a person, than at a festival that brings artists, authors, writers and readers from all over the world, under one roof?
I met a Brazilian woman who, on the last night, told me, “I don’t deserve to go back to Brazil. I don’t deserve to experience Nigeria for just 5 days, I deserve to stay longer!” I told her if there was only one other person in the world who felt being in Nigeria longer was what they deserved, that night the universe had placed her next to her.
At Ake, in just the 2 days I went for, I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones, while making some incredible memories with both groups.
Whether you are an avid reader hoping to meet and rub shoulders with your favourite writers, or an aspiring writer hoping to grow your writer’s network, or someone who just wants to get high off conversation with like-minded people, or someone on the hunt for a significant other who shares your interests… With Ake, the formidable Lola Shoneyin brings it all to you under one roof.
Featured Image: TJ Benson from This is Africa