12th Lagos Book and Art Festival; Nov 11-14; Eko Hotel and National Theatre, Lagos; 9am-6pm daily

12th LABAF: Full Programmes

Scene from 2009 festival

The Lagos Book & Art Festival is a comprehensive, four day programme of events; readings, conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance. It will run from November 11th to 14th November 2010 at the large exhibition hall of the National Theatre, Lagos. (The Publishers’ Forum will hold on the 11th of November at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.) The programme for the event is as follows:

Theme: Literacy and the Notion of Freedom.

Dates: November 11-14, 2010
Venue: Exhibition Hall, National Theatre, Iganmu

Discourse panel at the 2009 editionScheduled Programme of KEY Events

Thursday (November 11) 10am-2pm
1. Publishers Forum: A business forum for publishers designed to add value to their business through critical feedback on processes, input on the most challenging areas they have to deal with and useful networking.

Thursday (November 11) 4pm-6pm
2. Conversation: Wooing the mass market: Two publishers representing old business and new business will share from their current work and their future plans, by discussing a selection from their publishing list.

Scene from the past: the Poet Odia Ofeimun with Curator of the CCA, Lagos, Bisi Silva in a conversation on Lagos at the 2008 edition

Friday (November 12), 10am-1pm
3. The Festival Colloquium(I): Theme: Literacy and Independence
Readings, Reviews, and discussions around 1.Then Spoke the Thunder- Tony Enahoro

2. You Must Set Forth At Dawn-Wole Soyinka; Nigeria: Africa’s failed asset?- Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, In-Dependence- Sarah Ladipo Manyika, To Saint Patrick- Eghosa Imasuen, When Citizen's Revolt- Ike Okonta

Friday, (November 12), 3pm-5pm
4. The Festival Colloquium (II): Theme: A nation of stories
Readings, Reviews, and discussions around
1. Tenants Of The House-Wale Okediran
2. Just Before Dawn- Kole Omotosho
3. Half Of A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Adichie
4. In My Father’s Country-Adewale Maja Pearce

Scene from the past: Muyiwa Awodiya, [publisher of safer Books hares ideas with with the public at the LABAF 2009

Saturday, (November 13), 11am-1pm

5 Town Talk: Can a book make you rich?
A top notch panel of discussants review the role of books in economic empowerment and the financial dynamics of book publishing from the author’s perspective. Books: The Outlier, by Malcolm Gladwell, Minding Your Business By Leke Alder, 17 Secrets Of High Flying Students, by Fela Durotoye

Musical Interlude/Live Performance
Saturday, (November 13), 2pm-3pm

6. Writers AngstFour young authors discuss the pains and joys of writing.

Saturday, (November 13), 3pm-4pm

7- Lagos: 2060
What will be the fate of Lagos 100 years after independence? A panel of discussants will be set up to discuss the future of the mega-city and its continued role in inspiring, infuriating and enchanting writers across generations, taking a cue from the Lagos: 2060 project by DADA books.

Saturday, (November 13), 4pm-7pm

7. Festival Birthday Party
Odia Ofeimun at 60,
Patrick Doyle at 50,
Dele Momodu at 50,
Eddie Aderinokun at 70,
Ambassador Olusola at 75,
Fred Agbeyegbe at75,
Maxim Uzoatu at 50

Sunday, November 14, 2pm
8- Stampede- Theme: Folklore in Literature, Drama and film
A panel discussion on the presence or absence of folklore influences in the literature and film of our time. Books to discuss include The Adventures of a Sugarcane Man: Femi Osofisan’s adaptation of Fagunwa’s Ireke Onibudo, Praying Mantis By Andre Brink The Hiden Star, by Kabelo Sello Duiker, Allah Must Be Obliged by Ahmadou Koroumah

Sunday, November 15, 6pm
Festival Play: The Killing Swamp by Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo: To Commemorate 15 Years Of The Death of Ken Saro- Wiwa

Art exhibition is a strong feature of the festival.
Jahman Anikulapo
For Sponsorship please contact:
LABAF Secretariat
95, Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, Lagos

Jahman Anikulapo,
Programme Chair

Toiyin Akinosho,
Secretary General CORA

Ayo Arigbabu
Project Manager, CORA

LABAF 2010 – The Green Festival 5
Concept: 'Better Tomorrow Project'

THEME: Greening Our Creativity @ 50 -

THEME: Greening Our Creativity @ 50 - On 23 January, 1995, the Federal Government declared that 14 September of every year should be observed as a National Day of Creativity. The declaration was in line with the signing of the Bern Convention for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and was intended as a day "to further draw attention to the contribution of creativity to our national development effort". The observance of the day, therefore, was intended as an occasion for the nation to showcase its immense talents in the arts, sciences and technology.


My Encounter with the Book -
Olaboludele Simoyan [author of “The 8th Wonder of The World - Made In Nigeria”]
9 am – 10.30am Green Creativity Workshops 1 – Workshops follow viewing of a documentary: “Malaria-Cure or Kill?”My Malaria Story” – in Words“My Malaria Story” – in Pictures
“My Malaria Story” – in Dance
[Organised by CATE in collaboration with Science CafĂ© & AMMREN]11 am – 1pm

“Talking Books with CATE”You, Too, Can Write!A roundtable discussion on:
‘The Land of Kalamandahoo’- by Ruby Igwe [for 6-10yrs]
‘The Missing Clock’- by Adeleke Adeyemi [for 9-13yrs]
‘One Little Mosquito’ – by Ndidi Enemor [for 8-12yrs]
‘Cate Saves The Ikopi Rainforest’ – by Sola Alamutu & Peju Dawodu [for 8-14yrs]

10am – 11am
Green Creativity Workshops 2“My Nigeria Story”- Workshops follow participants discussions on the topic: “What Bothers Me Most About Nigeria” “My Nigeria Story”- in Words
“My Nigeria Story”- in Pictures
“My Nigeria Story”- in Dance
“My Nigeria Story”- in Craft

DAY 312noon – 3pm

Presentation of the works from the Children’s Creativity Workshop
The Green Party – Fun! Fun! Fun!12.30pm - 3.00pm Dress Code: SHADES OF GREEN

SOLA ALAMUTU 08023087725


LABAF 2010 Presents The Killing Swamp throughout November...
(As published in The Guardian, November 7, 2010)

THIS is the month of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the civil rights crusader, who was obscenely murdered by the rascally blood-thirsty military government of maximum dictator, General Sani Abacha on November 10,1995. As has become an annual ritual, relatives, friends, comrades as well as foes of the late writer, environmental rightist, and former president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, will remember him and perhaps stage ceremonies to recall his spirit to a life he so much enjoyed, cherished and struggled to make right and judicious.
However, one of the admirers of the spirit of struggle which Ken represents, Dr Onukaba Adinoyi, who confessed recently at a Book Party that he never really had much interraction with the man, has set in motion a grander celebration of the businessman, who, however, made even greater fame as a playwright, poet and novelist.
Dr Adinoyi’s play, The Killing Swamp, which he wrote to honour the injudicious State murder of the activist, will be staged throughout this month at the two major centres of political and cultural discourses of Nigeria.
Today, the Theatre @ Terra, the weekly thatre project, featuring the Renegade Theatre and Laspapi Production, will open the staging of the play at its repertory base at Terra Kulture on Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. The presentation will thereafter run every Sunday through the month of November.
The production is at the instance and facilitation of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, which had chosen the play as its thematic theatrical presentation to mark the 12th edition of its Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF, holding November 12- 14 at the National Theatre in Lagos.
Operatives of the CORA hinted that the Sunday, November 14 staging of the play has been dedicated as the Command Performance to mark the 15th anniverssary of the barbaric execution of the late Saro-Wiwa, “who was a great supporter of the mission of CORA to grow the human capital of Nigeria, and the LABAF dream to push the frontiers of literacy”. The staging is also to round up the three-day festival.
The organisers of LABAF said they chose the Renegade?Theatre to produce the play because of the company’s consistent push at “ensuring that live theatre becomes part of our cultural staple in Lagos. We admire the courage and tenacity of the cast and crew of Renegade Theatre and the managers of Laspapi Production at keeping on stage a theatre performance every Sunday for about five years now”, stated CORA. They also praised the initiative of Dr Onukaba Adinoyi, a University of Ibadan-trained Theatre Artiste, and former Managing Director of the defunct Daily Times Of Nigeria, and ex-Presidential aide, in scripting the play, saying, “it shows a sensivity to contemporary issue in our national and political life. Ken Saro-Wiwa is symbolic of the struggles for emancipation of all the peoples of Nigeria and Africa”.
The Killing Swamp was in the last three finalists of the yearly Nigeria Literature prize, which this year focussed on Drama.
The staging holds at 2 and 6pm daily at the Terra Kulture under the direction of Wole Oguntokun, the house head at the Theatre @ Terra.

Why We Are Honouring Ken Saro-Wiwa with The Killing Swamp

WOLE OGUNTOKUN director of The Killing Swamp and producer of Theatre @Terra spoke to The Guardian's ARMSFREE AJANAKU on the choice of the play for this month.

ON a day in this month 15 years ago, one of the most gruesome and cold-blooded extra judicial killings by the Nigerian State took place. The victim was none other than writer, and environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa, who alongside others now known as Ogoni 9 had life snuffed out of them by the hangman’s noose. That tragic event has inspired a play by Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, The Killing Swamp, which would run as the play of the month at Terra Culture this November. So at 3 and 6pm every Sunday, beginning from today, theatre goers would have the chance to see a fictitious rendition of those harrowing moments, just before the hangman’s noose eclipsed Saro Wiwa’s life.
Coming at a time when the Post-Amnesty programme of the government is giving the peace process in the Niger-Delta a new lease of life, the play seeks to place that tragic event of 1995 in the proper historical perspective. Director of the play, Wole Oguntokun revealed this much when he harped on the need to ensure that the moment was not forgotten.
In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “Even if they are resolving the matter, and that is debatable, we shouldn’t forget the lives that they took, and the crimes that were committed in the process of glossing over the matter at one time. There was an attempt to gloss over, and paper over the cracks in the wall, and Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni people had to pay with their lives.
“So this is a reminder of a great man, a great writer who died in pursuit of a cause he believed, and in defence of his people and their rights. We shouldn’t forget; it doesn’t matter that efforts are being made to resolve the crisis there now. I wrote Who is afraid of Wole Soyinka, a play that chronicled the (Sani) Abacha days it doesn’t matter that the civilian army is here now. There was a time that happened, and we should never forget.” Oguntokun in assessing the script and what it could translate to in a production said it had a great potential.
“I think it is a good script, and as all directors do, you would touch it here and there, and sometimes, you add your own perspective to it. It is a good script, and it is my intention, to as much as possible, remain true to what was written, and to the story the writer told. You know, a lot of us say it in passing and in the comfort of our homes that Ken Saro Wiwa was killed by Abacha in collaboration with some giant oil companies, but the details are always overlooked.
This play doesn’t do that; it is a fictitious rendition of the end of his life, and it is striking that someone thought it to write something, whether fiction or anything else, about how Saro Wiwa’s life ended, the manner in which his life was taken away from him.” Particularly, Oguntokun praised the play for balancing all sides of the Saro Wiwa story. “There are sides that say Saro Wiwa himself was culpable in the death of the four Ogoni chiefs.
This script states all sides. We must remember that these things happen and we should look at why they happened and should also see if the things that caused these problems have been rectified. We should see whether in the light of the damage that has been done, there has been compensation.” Oguntokun said the cast being deployed for the production reflected the need to do a professional interpretation of the script. “We are using Kenneth Uphopho, as Saro Wiwa; there is Shola Roberts Iwaotan, Precious Anyanwu, and Jennifer Osamon. All these people are veteran stage actors; there have all being in the Monologues before, and they are people who can tell the story as well, through good acting. We are not going to put anything shoddy there; it is going to be great.
The Director said a massive turn out is being expected for the production because as he puts it, “the issue of Ken Saro Wiwa remains a salient one, and the Niger-Delta issue remains salient. We hope word will get round, and the play would bring people, people who are concerned and savvy about issues like that. The Killing Swamp is about his life, his style, his death and the circumstances surrounding it. It is an attractive play and an attractive title, and we expect people to turn out.” On the portrayal of the Nigerian State in the play, he said the production would not tone down anything unflattering, insisting that things would be said as they are.
“I was watching Al Jazeera, which I consider objective, the other day and there was this documentary about how we kill cows, and get meat in and it was unflattering, and someone who sat next to me told me not to be upset, and he said: ‘that’s your country.’ There they were slamming cows to the ground and taking the meat through muddy and dirty paths; that is the country. Let’s show it, the truth doesn’t need any protection. Let’s say it like it is, maybe we would be ashamed enough to correct ourselves. If CNN or the BBC comes here and points a camera in front of area boys, you can’t hide them, they are there.”
Unlike some critics who are worried that mainly intellectuals and literary enthusiasts are constituting theatre audiences, Oguntokun is unfazed, insisting that everyone has his own niche. “If you do TV soaps, there are people that love Papa Ajasco, there are people that watch Tinsel, and in films, there is Yoruba home videos, English films and Hausa movies.
And there are the guys doing The Figurines now for a different kind of audience, so you must look for your own people. I am not going to pander to the masses; of course I hope that everybody is going to see my play, but I am not going to lessen the value of my work so that it can be like pure water. There should be some kind of intellectual satisfaction in what you do,” he said.
The Killing Swamp’s presentation for this month is at the initiative of the 12th Lagos Books and Art Festival, LABAF, organised by the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, to which Oguntokun is a member.


The Resurrection of Ken Saro-Wiwa.
A review of Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba’s The Killing Swamp
By Denja AbdullahiThe Ken Saro Wiwa saga is an archetypal story that has been re-enacted in various forms ever since it ended. Poets have written volumes about it, including my very self in a poem I titled Africa Kills Her Son ,after a prophetic short story of the same title by Ken Saro Wiwa himself. A young friend of mine, Ford Manuel, also did a very lengthy poetic piece, long enough to make a poetic volume, which he titled Songs of Saro Wiwa.
Playwrights have equally done their bits on it. Helon Habila has a short dramatic piece published in Camouflage: The Best of Contemporary Nigerian Writings edited by Nduka Otiono and Diego Okenyodo. Dr Uwemedimo Atakpo of the University of Uyo also has a play called The Trials of Ken Saro Wiwa and there may be many more by other writers which we may not be aware of presently.
The story of Ken Saro Wiwa and his environmental rights activism has encouraged a lot of writings about the Niger Delta in prose, poetry and drama. We can even conclude that the NLNG literature Prize for the year 2010 for which the play we are reviewing, The Killing Swamp, was shortlisted came by default as one of the legacies of the Ken Saro Wiwa saga.
Sadly, the Saro Wiwa’s struggle which was intellectual in orientation was brutally suppressed by the Nigerian State and the consequence was the militarization of the struggle and the enthronement of miscreants at the forefront of it. The Nigerian nation, which refused to dialogue with Saro Wiwa, was later to treat these band of ill-educated militants like royalty, granting them amnesty and other perks. That reminds us all of the famous quote that those who make peace change impossible make violent change inevitable.
Another lesson from the Ken Saro Wiwa story is the ethnicisation of popular heroism. After Isaac Adaka Boro,Ken Saro Wiwa should by now have taken his rightful place in the pantheon of the heroes of the Niger Delta but I suspect this is not the case. I wonder is it because Ken was not an Ijaw when even his struggle leading towards the declaration of Ogoni Bill of Rights may have inspired the famous Ijaws’ Kiama Declaration. We should remember that Ken started his struggle as an ethnic minority rights activists before veering into environmental rights activism.
Now to the play.
The Killing Swamp fulfills all the requirements of a classical tragic play as it has the unity of time, space and action. It is simply a re-enactment of the exchange between Ken Saro Wiwa and his executioners just as he is about to be hanged. The unilineal trajectory of the play’s action does not detract in any way from its artistic profundity. The play is another creative attempt at unraveling the motive behind Ken’s struggle and what may be playing out in his mind as he pays the ultimate price.
Expectedly, the reader is not disappointed at the playwright’s portrayal of the final moments of Kenule as some facts that were salvaged from that gory and unfortunate end pointed out that he paid the price with uncommon dignity.
Notwithstanding the play’s fidelity to the dignified stance of Saro Wiwa before his persecutors, captors and eventual murderers, the playwright injected some humour and clearly fictive enactments to show the bohemian humanity of Saro Wiwa even in the face of death (the encounter with Asabe, a female friend and their feigning lovemaking in the shadow of the gallows and other such actions in the play espouse this).
In the final analysis, the play leaves us with all what we had long suspected on the realistic plane, that the Federal government of Nigeria did not kill the Ogoni 9 because they love the Ogoni 4, they only used the internal dissension within the Ogoni to murder their arrowhead in the struggle whose influence has to be curtailed in order to guarantee the continue plunder of their environment in the guise of oil exploration.
The play with its minimal character of four has the right suspense and conflict introduced at the very beginning which sustained the actions till the very end. The dialogue is witty, assured and shorn of the clutter that may slow down the pace of such a play tackling verifiable history. The play is a director’s delight and the near absurdist style used with some few ‘plays’ within the play will be very malleable in the hands of a good director.
The Killing Swamp is highly entertaining piece with plenty of gallows humour which in reality we may not put beyond the real Ken saro Wiwa going by his writings and personality. The man wrote somewhere in one of his books that the tiger said “to cry is to show my teeth and to laugh too is to show my teeth so I prefer to laugh rather than cry”. The strength of The Killing Swamp , a finalist in the 2010 NLNG Nigeria Literature Prize, is its contemporary subject, highly dramatic language and a very humanizing story.
How ironic that those who spearheaded the official judicial murder of Ken Saro Wiwa are themselves today nowhere to be found.Their own stories will never be dignified with any kind of telling like that of Saro Wiwa. If at all it is told it will be in the form of a satirical lampooning of their buffoonery in the tradition of Wole Soyinka’s Play of Giants and King Baabu or in a worst form as that of the Nigerian Nollywood home video movie The Stubborn Grasshopper. All hangmen indeed will die one day!

• Abdullahi, former ANA National General Secretary is Deputy Director, Performing ArtsNational Council for Arts and Culture, Abuja.


‘For CORA, it’s been a cycle of boom and bust’
By Anote Ajeluorou
(Culled from The Guardian, Nov 8, 2010)

The Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA)'s yearly Lagos Book and Art Festival is 12 this year, and has since become a defining part of the art and cultural life of the city of Lagos. The 12th edition opens this Friday at the National Theatre, Lagos. In this interview, CORA General Secretary, journalist and culture landscapist Mr. Toyin Akinosho takes the reader on a historical excursion into the heart of the book matter the way CORA has tried to remake it work these 12 years and why anyone who loves books should be at the 3-day Lagos Book and Arts Festival (LABAF 2010).

Akinosho addressing a session at LABAF 2009

How far has the journey been with the Lagos Book and Art Festival?

We are still learning a lot of things. You must understand what we are trying to
do: We are not a book fair; we are a festival of the arts with a primary focus on books. The festival idea is introduced to make books cool. We bring in drama, music, performance…and have a large children segment.
But to answer your question specifically, we have been through cycles of boom and bust in these 12 years. The idea of one benevolent sponsor that solves accommodation problems and enables us pay proper honoraria for participants is still far. The National Theatre is our major sponsor this year; the venue they are providing, which is the Exhibition Hall of the edifice, would ordinarily cost N2 million for three days.

Have books started to get the attention of people the way you want it?
You remember the famous quote by Cyprian Ekwensi: “Why are you not selling my books in The Go Slow”. The story, according to James Currey, is that one morning in 1981, Ekwensi entered Aig Higo’s office in Heinemann Educational Books in Ibadan booming in a great voice: “Why are you not selling my books in The Go Slow”? He then reported how the Lagos newspaper vendors had found a ready market for the Obasanjo hardback, My Command, as the Nigerian elite were at a standstill in their cars in the Lagos traffic jam.
This is straight from James Currey’s book: Africa Writes Back. Currey says that Heinemann ordered, in the first instance, 10,000 copies of the hardback edition of My Command. Now, My Command is not a soft novel; neither a romance, nor a thriller. It’s a hard, non-fiction work and it’s not a rollicking read. But there was a book economy, in 1981, to support its production.
Just five years after that, Babangida devalued the naira and later introduced the structural adjustment, but his team was too incompetent and in many ways it was too corrupt to handle the other issues that the adjustment demanded. So in the end, he just smashed the economy to bits.
The book industry hasn’t recovered the way other sectors of the economy have since the Structural Adjustment. Let’s for a moment forget about libraries. We know that quite a number of libraries that many of us took for granted when we went to school are no longer there, but libraries aren’t necessarily the best way to look at the economics of book publishing as they are, for the large part, set up by government and their decline can easily be traced to sheer neglect by government.
Bookshops, however, provide you good data. If you find that some of the bookshops that you grew up knowing have gone to seed and others are not replacing them, then you know there’s a large crater where there should be a smooth pavement. The bookshop economy is still not thriving. So, to answer the question: Books haven’t started to get the attention of people the way we want it.

What’s the status of ‘The Book Reading Campaign’?
The good thing is that there are quite a number of organizations that are dedicated to the reading awareness, literacy, writing; the whole book chain campaign. What I think we should do, going forward, is for all of us to be interested in what the others are doing and tap into them and create synergies.
When CORA showed up on the scene in 1991, it was a lull period, the very pit of
depression. So, our quarterly conversations on cultural issues loomed large in the vicinity. Today, we are a part of a whole and we want to insist on bringing quality. The way we can make the most of what we are doing as cultural landscapists is work with others. If you are running an art competition for secondary schools, how do we help you extend the outcome of what you are doing?
If you are interested in a new template for delivering Nollywood, how do we ensure that you get the required help to do it properly? What’s the current status of the research into book reading? Who is doing it? How are cultural journalists using the new media; how are we all improving the business landscape for the arts?


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