The Benue Book and Arts Festival (BBAF) is scheduled to take place in Makurdi the capital city of Benue State in Nigeria from 20th to 22nd June, 2019. It is being organised by SEVHAGE Literary & Development Initiative and SEVHAGE Publishers in partnership with the African Writers of University of Sussex, United Kingdom and the University of Sussex; with support from the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex; Eunice Spring of Life Foundation; Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative, Adinya Arise Foundation, Women’s Right to Education, Arojah Concept, Words Rhymes & Rhythm Publishers and Praxis Magazine.
BBAF will feature workshops, panels, book talks, theatre productions and a very big book sale with crazy discounted rates. There will be three writing workshops on Fiction (with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim), Spoken Word (with Efe Paul Azino) and Poetry (with Chuma Nwokolo). Special workshops will be held: one each for prisoners, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and a third for photography.
Themed: Changing Narratives, BBAF 2019 is focused on building narratives can help expand discourse beyond the conventional, particularly in the light of growth, personal and communal development.
The writing workshops will be open to everybody. Interested participants will have to send a mail indicating their interest, the particular workshop and sample of their writing in the genre to email@example.com. Selected participants will be notified and asked to pay a non-refundable fee of N2,000 for the workshop.
There will be a Spoken Word Slam worth N100,000 and open to any spoken word artist from around the world and two new books – Su’eddie Vershima Agema’s Once Upon a Village Tale (Shortlist, ANA Prize for Children’s Literature 2018) and Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu’s Scarlet – will be unveiled.
Writers expected at the Festival include multiple award winner, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (author of The Whispering Trees and Seasons of Crimson Blossoms); Professor Dul Johnson (author of Why Women Won’t Make it to Heaven and Winner, ANA Prize for Fiction 2017), Dr. Maria Ajima (award-winning writer and critic, leading voice in Northern Nigerian literature); Agatha Agema (nee Aduro) (author of The Enchanting and other poems); Adedayo Agarau (author of For Boys who went); Ahmed Maiwada (author of We are Fish); prolific author, Chuma Nwokolo (author of Diaries of a Dead African); Isaac Attah Ogezi (award winning playwright and national legal adviser of the Association of Nigerian Authors); Innocence Silas Sharamang (Double Winner of the Korea Nigeria Poetry Prize), Servio Gbadamosi (ANA Prize for Poetry 2015 and Shortlist, Wole Soyinka Prize 2018); , Richard Ali (literary administrator and author of City of Memories); short story writer and social media influencer Eketti Edima Ette; Bizuum Yadok (poet and author of King of the Jungle; T. J. Benson (award winning author of We won’t fade into darkness); spoken word maestros Bash Amuneni and Efe Paul Azino; spoken word diva and amazing poet, Daisy Odey; Jide Badmus (engineering poet and author of Scriptures), Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (multiple award winning poet); bestselling author, Alexander Ochogwu; publishers and editors, Amara Chimeka and Maik Ortserga; award winning poet and media enthusiast, Aondosoo Labe; short story writer and award winning poet, Debbie Iorliam; lyrical spoken word artiste, Oko Owi Ocho; poet Torkwase Igbana; literary administrators Odoh Diego Okenyodo and Sam Ogabidu, poets in their own right; among several others.
The Festival Director Is Su’eddie Vershima Agema. Su’eddie is the founder and Team Leader of SEVHAGE Publishers and SEVHAGE Literary and Development Initiative. These leading literary powerhouses seek to change/improve narratives for sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa through the agencies of words, actions and empowerment. He is the author of over four books including the poetry collection Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile (Winner, Association of Nigerian Authors 2014/Nominee, Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature 2018) and the short story collection, The Bottom of Another Tale (Shortlist, ANA Prize for Prose 2014 and Shortlist, Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories 2015). A former chairman of ANA (Benue State Chapter), Su’eddie is currently President of African Writers at the University of Sussex and is working towards (also, open to) building more opportunities for writers (with a focus on emmerging writers) through collaborations and other programmes in the works.