ALITFEST22: Abuja Literary Society to hold multi-genre festival in September

AS part of efforts to promote the art and literary culture in Nigeria, the Abuja Literary Society (ALS) has announced the fifth edition of its annual festival, Abuja Literary and Arts Festival (ALITFEST).

The festival which is tagged ‘The Thriving Artist’ and scheduled to hold in September, is intended to follow up on last year’s theme, ‘Making Art Work’.

According to the Festival Director, Teniola Tayo, the programme will equip creative individuals with necessary information and resources towards achieving their goals.

The week-long multi-genre festival will take place primarily in person, and with some virtual activities.

“This year, we will be continuing our focus on creative livelihoods by equipping creatives with the information, skills, resources and networks that they need to thrive,” Tayo said.

Activities lined up for the festival include panel discussions, a series of workshops (poetry, fiction and screenwriting), a boot camp for creatives, a poetry grand slam competition, a stage play, an art exhibition, a book and art fair, a fashion show and a music concert. 

The ALS also released an anthology titled ‘On empathy; stories and poems’ made up of short stories and poems from various writers across Nigeria as part of the pre-event activities. 

“This is our first volume of short stories and poems from some fresh Nigerian voices who entered our ALIFEST Arts & Literature Short Story Competition in 2021,” Tayo added.

The ALS disclosed that the top three winners of the previous year’s anthology competition got cash prizes of N200,000, N100,000 and N50,000, respectively.

“In first place, we have Mazpa Ejikem for the story ‘All His Scents’, in second place, we have Favour Ahuchaogu for the story ‘Of Weddings And Funerals’, and in third place, we have Hymar David for the story ‘Spirit Husband’.

“Also in the top 5 were Tega Oghenechovwen’s ‘The Guests Of Mama Nazari’, and Musa Khalid’s ‘The Other Sides Of The Sun’.”

Familoni Olubunmi received a special recognition for the story, ‘A Woman’s Knees are for Suffering’. The story was a favourite of one of the judges, Odafe Atogun, who dedicated his judging fee of N50,000 to Olubunmi. The story was also part of the top 10 entries.

The same goes for Tega Oghenechovwen for the story ‘The Guest of Mama Nazari’. It was a favourite of another judge, Hajo Isa, who also decided to dedicate her fee of N50,000 to the writer. The story was part of the top five entries.

    “We had 451 submissions, and four judges read and judged the screened stories over a number of weeks. Our deep appreciation to our judges – Hajo Isa, TJ Benson, Samson Kukogho Iruesiri and Odafe Atogun,” Festival Director, Tayo, said.

    The Anthology which was commissioned by Abuja Literary Society (ALS), funded by Berliner Kunster Programm (DAAD), and published in partnership with Geko Publishing (South Africa), has six short stories and 10 poems in the collection from poets of all ages, religion and different styles.

    The chairman of the Abuja Literary Society (ALS), Victor Aneliefo, said this about the anthology: “On Empathy: Stories & Poems remind us that our future of narrative and fiction is rooted in Nigeria’s incredibly creative past, but they are in the amazingly imaginative minds of the contemporary, young Nigerian writers.”

    He added that it is “truly a fresh collection that not only exposes but also elevates Nigerian authors as the nurturers of African narrative. This Anthology has to form a critical part of the Abuja Literary Festival, and it needs to make its way throughout the continent”.


    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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