Aké Arts and Book Festival will return 22–25 October with an amazing free programme of 65 inspiring book chats, workshops, panel discussions and performances from the most exciting voices across Africa and the African Diaspora.

Due to the global coronavirus crisis, Aké Festival will go digital for 2020. This online edition of the festival will be free to access by audiences all over the world, creating an important platform for the intellectually and culturally curious to take part in this celebration of black excellence, resilience and resistance.

The theme for 2020 is ‘African Time’, in recognition of the global anti-racism movement that has gathered momentum and visibility in recent months. Audiences across the world are invited to join luminaries from contemporary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film, theatre, music and visual arts in discussions about some of the most critical issues of our time, including race, gender, identity, equality and mental health, technology, religion and empathy.

Now in its eighth year, Sterling Bank is the Headline Sponsor of the world’s largest collection of African creative voices on African soil for the third consecutive year.  Aké Festival hosts some of the most sought-after, innovative voices in black thought.

According to Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, “Sterling continues to support Aké Arts and Book Festival because we see the creative industry’s potential to generate local and foreign earnings. Over the last four years, we have seen the magic that happens when young Africans come into contact with their literary heroes. Nigerians have won just about every literary prize, but it’s important to support the next generation of creatives. We want them to be inspired, and we consider it a privilege to be able to bring people closer to achieving their creative dreams.”

Lola Shoneyin, Director and Founder, Aké Arts and Book Festival, said:Our world has changed forever; the magnitude of recent world events cannot be ignored. In 1918, African nations were in the clutches of imperial forces that degraded our stories, culture, history, language and belief systems. More than a century later, the COVID-19 pandemic finds Africa struggling with the colonial hangover of poor leadership and a predatory global order. Now is the time for Africa to recalibrate and break the cycle of betrayal by those elected to lead. It may have come later than hoped for, but, for the children of Africa everywhere, this is African Time.”

Over the course of the festival, attendees will be able to participate in 26 stimulating panel discussions, 24 author talks, storytelling sessions, 3 workshops, a concert, 2 exhibitions, poetry performances, films and a stage play. Guests include Wole Soyinka, Maryse Conde, Tayari Jones, Esi Edugyan, Marlon James, Petina Gappah, Kehinde Andrews, Elias Wondimu, Zukiswa Wanner, Molara Wood, Bolu Babalola, Okechukwu Nzelu and many, many more. Discussions will cover a wide range of issues including intersectional feminism, blacktivism and colourism to the burgeoning post-COVID mental health crisis and decolonisation of black spaces. Panel discussion highlights include: Black Women Harnessing Anger for Social Change; Publishing While African; Decolonising Feminism in Africa; and Why African Needs Feminist Giants, The Place of Faith in a Health Crisis and many more. All you need to do is register at akefestival.org.