We Are Going to the 2019 Abuja Literary Festival!

The Abuja Literary Festival is back! I attended the Abuja Literary festival for the first time in 2018. I think it was the first edition of the event and my first literary festival. In all honesty, I assumed the event was going to be snooze fest of reading and panel discussions. I specifically picked aspects of the festival to attend that I knew would most likely be fun; poetry slams, movie screenings and a panel discussion on marketing films in Nigeria and to a global audience. But by God! I was wowed! The first thing that was a pointer to the fact that I was going to have a great time was the number of books I saw on sale. It was positively orgasmic to see that many books in one place…and at the price they were going for! It wasn’t too long before I was busting out my card and picking up new ‘buddies’. Oh! I went hungry for a while after that but it was well worth it. The panel sessions I attended were genuinely interesting and the conversations greatly appreciated. I felt everything! If you had been looking at me, you would have seen me nodding my head in agreement with feminists, nearly cussing out a white man who said something along the lines of African writers needing to ‘stick to their own culture’, getting pissed the hell off when people said things that were just plain wrong, and even finding a new crush whose voice was just amazing! (I know! Weirdo!) I was supposed to attend a screening of 93 Days, a film by Steve Gukasshowing how Nigerian doctors led by Stella Adadevoh help curb the spread of the extremely deadly Ebola outbreak in Nigeria. Due to technical difficulties, the movie time kept getting shifted and because I lived in the outskirts of town and couldn’t be out too late at night, I didn’t see the screening. It was a sore point for me and I almost didn’t return to the rest of the festival. Then I heard that Dike Chukwumerije, the renowned spoken word and performance poet and award winning author was going to have a performance. I was elated. Oh! I had never seen Dike perform, nor had I heard about his performance but since I hadn’t seen a play in forever, the thought of being immersed in live performance had me giddy with excitement. It was, without doubt, one of the best moments of my entire year! My goodness! There were a million times I wanted to just jump out of my seat and hug the essence out of him! The play was thatgood! I laughed, cried, danced, reflected and hoped for a better Nigeria. I think this begs to be said again; it was, without doubt, one of the best moments of 2018 for me. So when I heard that the festival was coming back for a second year, I was just about ready to bust out my dance moves. Here is the official poster of the 2019 Abuja Literary Festival. Can. You. See. Our. Logo. Right. There?! Yes! It is with great pleasure that I announce our big news; Shades of Usis supporting the Abuja Literary Festival this year! Can you tell how EXCITED we are?! (If you are new to my blog, you will see a lot of ‘we’ when I talk about the blog. If you stick around, you will figure out why.) Okay…I am going to taper down and explain this better. My entire experience made me really look at the festival as a whole. It is an opportunity to discuss social, economic and political issues from the literary point of view. This is in line with my overall goal with Shades of Us. So I had this A-ha moment where I wondered how I could support this movement, and what it would entail. I spoke to the convener of the event, Buchi Onyebule, and we got talking. It was such a pleasure to have him accept my contribution to the festival. As can be seen on the poster, the theme for the festival is ‘Art and Social Consciousness’ and it would feature panel discussions, book readings, movie screenings, performances and a host of other events. I am eager about the movie that would be screening – as expected – and I want to see what plays would be showcased. This year however, I am not going to cherry pick the events that I would attend. As much as I can, I am going to be totally immersed in the entire festival! I would be there from the opening ceremony to the last hurrah on July 13th. This is where I ask you to be part of the event. I can talk about how great it would all be but… it really wouldn’t do justice to it. You would have to experience it to enjoy it. As you are well aware, putting up a festival like this costs a lot of money. Where you can, reach out to Buchi and ask how you can sponsor an aspect of the festival. You can also volunteer your time to help ensure the entire process is flawless. And the easiest thing you can do is share the posters on your social media platforms to help increase visibility and engagement. I am hoping that if nothing else, you would do that. While I would not have a stand nor do I have a physical product to push, I would most definitely be interacting with as many people as I possibly can. We are keeping the introvert at home for this one! I can’t wait to see you at the 2019 Abuja Literary Festival! If you see me, holla at your girl. Let us talk, interact, share ideas, promote reading and literacy in Africa, and generally just enjoy ourselves. I am excited! Are you?! Ramatu Ada Ochekliye, Founder and Content Creator, Shades of Us

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