The 18th edition of the Lagos Book and Arts Festival (LABAF) opens today and runs till November 13 at Freedom Park (old colonial prison site) on Broad Street, Lagos Island. Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), the four-day programme of events comprises of 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. Since its inauguration in 1999, the festival has grown to a world-class cultural event, fast becoming a high point in the Nigeria’s cultural calendar.

The theme for this year’s edition is The Terror of Knowledge, aimed at addressing rising extremism against acquisition of knowledge and development of the mind. Its inspiration is derived from the immortal words of the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, “Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth”.


Nigerian multimedia artist, Jelili Atiku well-known for his confrontational pieces focusing on issues of human rights and justice will also be performing Hunhun-Un-Un (Maanifesito V). This will be executed in collaboration with Tolulope Ami-Williams, Taiwo Aiyedogbon, Valerie Fab-Uche, Akinrinola Abiodun, Lydia Omoighe, Yusuf Olatunji Ododo, Moyosore Jolaolu, David Joseph and Anthony Ajaero. The performance will begin, November 11 at Freedom Park with a processional walk along Broad Street to Ilojo Bar Ground Zero (opposite Tinubu Square), Lagos, Nigeria. It will end at Freedom Park with an installation of the performance objects in the exhibition Who Will Blink First?, curated by Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo.



In addition, award-winning author Toni Kan will be reading from his new novel, The Carnivorous City, in conversation with Hawa Golakai. Discussions will revolve around crime fiction in cosmopolitan urban locales like Cape Town and Lagos based on the theme Missing Bodies in Crime Fiction.

 This year, the festival is structured to have:

    • 31 Books of the Festival
    • 1 book trek at British Council, Ikoyi
    • 1 pre-festival cocktail to open the festival
    • 1 Publishers’ Forum 10am on Thursday@ Goethe Institut, Lagos
    • 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


Ladun Ogidan is the Deputy Editor of Omenka Africa’s first art, business and luxury- lifestyle magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Covenant University, Nigeria. Ogidan is also Operations Manager at the Omenka Gallery, and Chief Operating Officer at Revilo Company Limited, a leading art publishing company in Lagos. She has co-ordinated several exhibitions at home and abroad.

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