The annual Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) is a four-day culture picnic with a high book content.In the four days leading to the Festival, the pre-festival events will take place in several venues in the city, ensuring that for a week, Lagos will have fun-filled activities which focus entirely on books. These locations are namely, Freedom Park Marina,,Goethe Institut ,British Council.

LABAF2016: CORA Book Trek Hosts Molara Wood at Quintessence, Ikoyi

LABAF is a culture picnic primed to attract families and a public that seeks cultural entertainment. The first edition of LABAF was held in 1999, the festival has since grown to be a world class – albeit home-grown – cultural event that has become a high-point in the nation’s cultural calendar. All the last seventeen editions have been filled with side attractions guaranteed to entertain and delight. Live performances from some of the best bands in Nigeria, galleries displaying art, theatre performances, and a series of art, craft, textile, dancing workshops.

The festival features scores of book stands, symposiums on literature and book parties. There are at least four drama skits and full theatre productions on the festival grounds throughout the three-day duration of the Festival.

The idea behind the festival is to popularise and engender a passion for books across Nigeria. Ours is not a Book Fair; we rather like to describe it as an art festival with a high book content.

The festival is a comprehensive, four-day programme event; which includes readings and conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and theatre performance, capacity building workshops and exhibitions, and critical seminars for different sectors of the creative industries. It will run from November 10 to 13 at Freedom Park (old colonial prison site) on Broad Street, Lagos Island.

The Lagos Book and Art Festival is in its 18th  year, established in 1999, the year of the nation’s return to democracy, to call attention to the importance of literacy. Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), it is CORA’s homage to the written word.

For this year’s edition of the Festival, we expect to host over thirty publishers. Also we expect at least 10 exhibiting artist groups and sundry craft shops. The Festival is the one book event with high children participation. Last year, we hosted over 1500 children to workshops on painting, reading, photography; a range of experiences and, most crucially, discussions around books.

The theme of this 18th outing is: THE TERROR OF KNOWLEDGE. Through this theme, we hope to address rising extremism against acquisition of knowledge and brain empowerment.

 This year, the festival is structured to have:

  • 31 Books of the Festival
  • 1 book trek
  • 1 pre-festival cocktail to open the festival
  • 1 Publishers’ Forum
  • 1 Visual Art Exhibition
  • 1 Festival Colloquium
  • 1 Festival Conversation
  • 10 book events
  • 11 Children’s’ workshops
  • 3 workshops for teachers
  • 2 festival plays
  • 3 Music concerts / art parties (one hip-hop, one jazz, one high-life)
  • A total of 35 events

Among the panels (Colloquiums, Conferences, Seminars, Symposiums, conversations etc) that have been designed to illuminate the theme of TERROR OF KNOWLEDGE are:


Theme: How did this creep in on us? Breeding Fields of Terror

Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Featuring discussions around/ and reflections on 

  1. FRONTIERS OF JIHAD: Radical Islam in Africa by Dr Yinka Olomojobi, which investigates ‘how’ and ‘why’ radical Islam finds a breeding ground in Africa. Subsequently, the study analyses the solution to this impasse emanating across the continent;
  2. EAT THE HEART OF THE INFIDEL”: THE HARROWING OF NIGERIA AND THE RISE OF BOKO HARAM by Andrew Walker, which says, “For decades, Nigeria’s politicians and oligarchs fed on the resources of a state buoyed by oil and turned public institutions into spoons for the pot. When the going was good it didn’t matter. But now a new ravenous force threatens Nigeria.

(In Collaboration with  the BRITISH COUNCIL)



Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Ft. Reading and Discussions around:

  • TERRORISM AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR by David Altheide. It argues that politicians and decision-makers bear much of the blame for the promotion of fear among citizens, resulting in the loss of civil liberties in return for greater protection.
  • THE SPIRIT OF TERRORISM, by Jean Baudrillard, which argues that the new terrorist mounts a powerful symbolic challenge which, when combined with high-tech resources, constitutes an unprecedented assault on an over-sophisticated and vulnerable West.


Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Reading and conversations around

  1. JIHAD IN THE WEST: THE RISE OF MILITANT SALAFISM by Frazer Egerton; showing how the ubiquity of modern media and the prevalence of movement have allowed for a transformation of existing beliefs into an ideology supportive of militant Salafism against the West amongst Western Muslims.
  2. INSIDE TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS, by Frank Cass, a collection of essays describing the internal life of terrorist organizations in fascinating details. They show how no description of terrorist behaviour is adequate …



Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Reading and conversations around works of Two Novelists whose novels imagine how otherwise dignified individuals transform into terrorists-

  1. THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING by Alaa Al Aswany, a bewitching engagénovel of contemporary Cairo that also examines with wry sense of humour how the vagaries of the human heart is afflicted by sex, romance, and power.
  2. Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John, is a novel set in northern Nigeria, which explores life, love, friendship, loss and the effects of extremist politics and religion on everyday life.

 Aside these seminal books on theme of terrorism, the festival also reflects on other issues in our contemporary society, through events such as:

# PUBLISHERS’ FORUM The 7th Publishers’ Forum, held in association with Quramo Publishing Limited

Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Theme: Raising Standards: Rights, Distribution & Talent in the Publishing Industry.  Challenges and aspects of raising standards in publishing in the areas of selling local rights abroad, distribution, and editorial talent.

(Facilitated by GOETHE INSTITUT)


Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

The Book in My Life (sometimes called My Encounter With The Book), usually has a popular but accomplished artist talk to students and young adults on the importance of reading books, acquiring knowledge, and how these have helped to shape of the eventual character of the artist. In the past it has featured Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, Pat Utomi, Richard Mofe Damijo, Julius Agwu and Ali Baba. This year, the multiple award-winning actress and filmmaker, Stephanie Linus has agreed to headline the event. Due to its popularity, the programme has been extended to hold every day of the last three days of the festival. Other mentors are also being consulted.


Reading and Discussions around Joseph Stiglitz’s

THE GREAT DIVIDE: UNEQUAL SOCIETIES AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT THEM, in which  Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz examines the causes and consequences of an unequal society and offers solutions for what we can do about it.

#CONVERSATION 2- Theme: THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY AND ITS REWARDS; Ft. Readings/discussions around AFRICA MUST BE MODERN MODERN,  in which the culture scholar, public affair commentator, Femi Taiwo, argues and analyses, what he describes as Africa’s hostility towards modernity.


Readings and conversation around

  1. SATANS & SHAITANS, by Obinna Udenwe, which takes the reader into the state of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, suicide bombings, family secrets, betrayals, political assassinations, and treachery. It is a novel of morality, choices and consequences, political and religious powers, terrorism and jihad.
  2. AFTER THEY LEFT, by Edify Yakusak, chronicles the life of a young woman, Mafeng and her two young children, Kim and Jugu, as they barely survive a mob inspired massacre. Separated from their mother, the children are forced to wander the jungles and hilly back roads of Plateau state, while their mother is kept locked up in the hospital. The children also come in contact with an international trafficking organization on their journey to safety.


Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Featuring: Performed readings from the following books by actors, writers and activists:

  1. BURY ME COME SUNDAY AFTERNOON, by Nike Campbell-Fatoki; which depicts the struggles of a young ambitious and hardworking Nigerian abroad with the same insightful candour as it does the tale of a brilliant but broken woman struggling with mental illness.
  2. INDIGO, by Molara Wood, which explores, among others,  themes of loss and longing, past and present, home and away, mysticism and modernity, trauma and healing, truth and lies, masculinity and a woman’s place.
  • A LOVE LIKE A WOMAN’S AND OTHER STORIES; Razinat Mohammed’s collection of eleven short stories with varying themes centering around human relationships; rending images of everyday life, told from a Woman’s angle.

Featuring: Readings and conversation around books by young authors who published their first novels between 2014 and 2016
Diekara Oloruntoba Oju (When Lemons Grow on Orange Trees; Kraftgriots, 2016), Angel Okwuosa (Homebound; Amazon, 2014). Others in consultation; .Obinna Udenwe (Satans& Shaitans; Amab Books, 2016), and others still being unearthed.


Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

This event is powered by Joy Isi Bewaji, the popular activist, and all-round media personality. This is a special festival edition of her equally popular project #TheConversations; and it will engage the following posers: Why is feminism hard to accept? Why is the movement to create equality between the sexes controversial? What are the gaps in communication? How strong are the shackles of Patriarchy?  What causes gender marginalisation? What breeds misogyny? How do we address sexism?  What are differences between gender roles and gender rights? What variation of feminism is the Nigerian woman confronted with? What roles do religion and culture play in gender prejudices. There are the celebratory and performative programmes including the

BOOK TREK: Series of book reading events staged across the city.

JAZZ IN THE PARK, produced in partnership with Inspiro Productions, organisers of the LAGOS

Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, and featuring the best of young jazz and afro-fusion artists

#THE FESTIVAL PARTY, a full night of musical tributes celebrating landmark birthdays of distinguished contributors to the Nigerian cultural Life: Benson Idonije @ 80; Lekan Animashaun@80; Sunmi Smart-Cole@75; Lindsay Barret@75; Biodun Neyifo@70;

Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2016: The Terror of Knowledge

Femi Osofisan @70; x; Sunny Ade@70; Olufemi Taiwo@60; Duro Ikujenyo@60, and others just coming into the 60+ age bracket

FILM SCREENINGThe House of Nwapa( Nigeria/France/2016/90 mins), a documentary film on Africa’s first female novelist. Director/writer/producer: Onyeka Nwelue. Also, a string of narratives and interviews, featuring Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, children’s literature writer, Mabel Segun, German anthropologist, Sabine Jell-Bahlsen, Manipuri translator of Things Fall Apart and Efuru, Professor Mani M Meitei, Professor Leslye Obiora and former Heinemann editor, James Currey — chronicling the story of Flora Nwapa, considered as Africa’s first female novelist published in English.

ICEBREAKER COCKTAILS to birth the 2016 fest will feature poetry readings, dance skits, performances.

LAGOS OF THE POETS, a tribute session to host state, Lagos, on its 50th birthday anniversary will feature young poets from around the state—Ajegunle, Bariga, Ejigbo, Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe—will converge in Freedom Park, to give expression to their relationship with their section of the city. It is powered by the Culture /advocates Caucus in association with Poets in Nigeria and AJ House of Poetry. In association with Lagos@50 Creative Task Force


Theme: The Case For The Return

Keynote: Director General, Nigerian Book Development,

Discussants: Lagos State Commissioner For Education, Director General National Library Commission 



The Festival closes with a smashing poetry jam session. Being hosted at LABAF for the SIXTH year running, 100,000 Poets and Musicians for Change is a universal movement that offers Poets, Musicians and other Artists the Platform to express themselves freely against the prevalent socio-political, and economic ills that pervade the world in particular and fight against every other thing that inconveniences humanity on the whole.

In this edition however, poets will dig deeper into the whole idea of CHANGE from the perspective of poetry and public intellection. Produced by Efe Paul Azino & Samuel Osaze.

Visit the Lagos Book and Arts Festival Here for more details and Updates. CLICK HERE