Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF 2007)

I forgot to write about the 2007 edition of the Lagos Book & Art Festival. It ran from a Friday through to Sunday (Nov 9-11), but I was only able to go on Saturday.

It was held at the National Theatre, I suppose in part to showcase a national treasure that has been at the centre of much hoopla this year, stemming from the government's intention to sell it.

I haven't been to the National Theatre since secondary school and although I hear about events being held there once in a blue moon, I didn't seriously think that it was somewhere that people still used. I suppose my decision to attend the festival was partly out of curiousity to see this great landmark of old (well, aside from the fact that I attended last year and was looking forward to it anyway).

I'm quite ashamed to say that I got lost both getting there AND leaving (well, at least when I was leaving it was dark and so I had somewhat of a valid excuse). The time actually spent there was quite enjoyable. I easily located the part of the theatre being used for the festival from the crowd of cars parked outside and people milling around.

I got there during the final session of the day - a panel discussion entitled Writing in - Tales from the Diaspora, which (according to the program) featured Ayo Arigbabu, Henry Akubuiro, Toni Kan, Chuks Ohai, Tolu Ogunlesi. Also participating were Wole Oguntokun and Chude Jideonwo, who moderated.

The discussion flowed from musings on what defines writing as Nigerian; who was a Nigerian writer; which writers of Nigerian heritage could be said to be 'writing in' and who were writing 'authentically Nigerian'; what the hell made for 'authentic' Nigerian writing anway; and at the end of the day did all this matter? In response to the last question, which was posed by a member of the audience, the writer Toni Kan quipped that afterall that was what they had been brought together to debate.

I visited the few stalls that had not yet packed their wares up and bought two books that I know that I will not read for at least a year. After the day's proceedings wrapped-up, I spent some time chit-chatting with participants and guests alike outside and met two bloggers. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by me.

1 comment:

Standtall said...

Have you read those 2 books yet? U said u might not read them for a yr or so. So, it’s almost a year now and another event is coming up. Have u read them? Lol