The Abuja Literary and Arts Festival (ALITFEST) is curated by the Abuja Literary Society. #ALitFest is a festival which seeks to highlight literary and artistic talents on the continent by curating an ambient environment for literary activities.
The Abuja Literary Society celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018 by hosting the very first Abuja Literary and Arts Festival. Held from July 5th – 7th of 2018, #ALitFest18 was themed Nigeria To The World. The festival succeeded in achieving its aim of creating an avenue for literary and artistic minds to discuss societal issues and grow. The Festival was graced by renowned writers such as Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Dike Chukwumerije and Ayisha Osori.
View photos from #ALitFest18 here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmiNnirw
In 2019, from July 11-13, the second edition of the Festival, themed Arts and Social Consciousness was held. With panelists Dorothy Njemanze, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Editi Effiong and Toni Kan, #ALitFest19 was aimed at examining the influence of art on the world, and more importantly, how art can be a tool for social consciousness across different ideological leanings.
In these past editions, the Festival has held interactive events such as panel discussions, book readings and writing workshops; non-interactive ones such as film screenings and festival plays; and other stand-alone events such as book swaps, the festival bar and of course, the #ALitFest Grand Poetry Slam.
View photos from #ALitFest19 here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1TdGIqcGpT_yUCKYudbJrCFJVvAWlF-G6?usp=sharing
#ALitFest20 was themed The Art of Empathy and was the 3rd Edition of the festival. For that edition, the Festival welcomed a wider participation to the growing literary community in Africa by going virtual. This allowed us to breach geographical barriers through inclusion and Pan-Africanism.
The Festival chose the theme in hopes of highlighting the importance, beauty and need for diversity and difference as well as the role of the creative in building bridges within and across societies. As such, the panels and events were curated to help participants explore several important societal issues such as tribalism, racism, homophobia, misogyny (also misogynoir), classism and other relevant issues. From the unique perspectives of creative minds, the 2020 edition of #ALitFest sought to help people see the world through the eyes of others.
The Festival program included panel discussions hosted by intellectual panelists from diverse backgrounds including Helon Habila, Edwige Dro, Sawad Hussain, Dike Chukwumerije, Kola Tubosun, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Odafe Atogun. The Festival also offered film screenings, e-yoga, virtual tours and even, a grand poetry slam, all which were offered and available to participants at the click of their screens. The Festival was organized successfully with participation across Africa and the world.
The 4th edition of #ALitFest came up in 2021 and the chosen theme was Making Art Work. The idea behind this theme was to programme the festival around finding solutions to the challenges facing the literary space in Nigeria and in Africa. We took things a step beyond conversations by leveraging on our proximity to policymakers in Abuja to influence policymaking, and proactively equipping creatives with the skills they need to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and others through their art. The festival held from 25 September to 2 October 2021.
The Festival program included a series of workshops (poetry, fiction and screenwriting), a bootcamp for creatives, a roundtable on data availability in the creative space, a poetry grandslam competition, a stage play, an art exhibition and music concerts. We also had a debate competition for secondary school students and a short story writing competition. Through the support of partners, we published an anthology It was a hybrid festival, with physical and virtual programming.
Our aim with the 4th edition was to move all creatives involved closer to the objective of making art work for themselves, their societies and for the Nigerian and African economy.
View photos from #ALITFEST21 here: