The city of Lagos is abuzz with talk about the forthcoming Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFEST 2016). The fiesta which holds between October 26 and 30, 2016 at Freedom Park and the MUSON Centre in Lagos will be attended by 35 poets from across the globe. And it features a series of events including workshops, panel discussions, school outreaches, readings and performances.
The festival, which has established itself not only as West Africa’s first international poetry festival but also one of Africa’s annual art and cultural highlights, is supported by Nigerian Breweries, Freedom Park, Muson Centre and a host of media partners.
Poets expected at the fiesta include Kwame Dawes, Ladan Osman, Shailja Patel, Inua Ellams, Ogaga Ifowodo, Maxim Uzoatu, Tade Ipadeola, Toni Kan, Wana Udobang, Dami Ajayi and Niran Okewole.
According to Efe Paul Azino, the festival founder and director, the theme of the festival, “Paging the Future”, will exploit emerging trends in the global socio-political, economic and cultural landscape. He also said this year’s festival brings together an interesting mix of entertainment and intellectual engagement, and will examine the role of the artist in shaping the outcomes of the future .
“It’s four days of reading and performances, master classes and panel discussions. The idea is to bring poetry into engagement with society at every level without losing the aesthetics for which it is renowned,” Azino stated.
This year’s festival, the second edition, builds on the foundation of its successful debut (LIPF 2015), which had as theme, “Borderless Words”. It will conclude with the 50th anniversary of the creation of Lagos State.
“As a result, we are compiling, as directed by Prof. Wole Soyinka, 50 poems by 50 poets. The poems will be blown into life-sized digital banners around Freedom Park, the venue of the festival and one of the city’s art and cultural nerve centre,” Azino explained.