In recent years, Nigeria has experienced (and is still experiencing) massive growth in (spoken word) the literary arts, producing award-winning (writers) poets, awesome poetry and a litany of poetry-inclined events and leading to healthy competition with other forms of art. Many of these events are annual and have become part of the year for most Nigerian poets.
If you are a lover of poetry (and literature) like me and want to have a great time with fellow enthusiasts in 2019, I recommended these 7 events that are poetry inclined for you:
1. BENUE BOOK AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2019
The Benue Book and Art Festival is scheduled to take place in Makurdi, Benue State from the 20th to 22nd day of June, 2019. Organised by SEVHAGE Literary & Development Initiative and SEVHAGE Publishers in partnership with the African Writers of University of Sussex, United Kingdom with support from the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation and Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative. With multiple-award-winning writer Su’eddie Vershima Agema as festival Director, the theme is “Changing Narratives” – aimed at expanding discourse on growth, personal and communal development.
The event will feature workshops, panels, book talks, and a very big book sale with crazy discounted rates and have several renowned writers in attendance. Writers expected at the Festival include Professor Dul Johnson, Dr. Maria Ajima, Chuma Nwokolo, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Odoh Diego Okenyodo, Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu, Innocence Silas Sharamang, Servio Gbadamosi, Richard Ali, Eketti Edime, Bizuum Yadok, T. J. Benson, Bash Amuneni, Efe Paul Azino, Daisy Odey; Agatha Agema (nee Aduro), Maik Ortserga; Jide Badmus and Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto.
There will also be a N100,000 spoken word slam, open to any spoken word artist from around the world, and a short story competition (to be announced).
2. WRR LITERARY FESTIVAL: FEAST OF WORDS
Feast of Words (FOW) is a one-of-a-kind annual literary festival organized by Words Rhymes & Rhythm Publishers Ltd (WRR), a publishing and literary education company. With WRR CEO Kukogho Iruesiri Samson as Festival Director, FOW features poetry/book readings and performances, discussion panels, award presentations, musical and drama performances and with plenty of free food and drinks.
Much-anticipated, FOW is free-entry. The one-day literary festival which will be held for the fifth time this year (at a date and venue yet to be announced) usually holds in in December in Ibadan, Western Nigeria. It enjoys a faithful following among young Nigerian writers from all over the country every year.
In the last edition notable poets and writers Eriata Oribhabor, Diana Iquo, Jide Badmus, Opia Maxwell, Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau, Funke Awodiya, Uchennna Eze, Chiyasa-Ezeezeh Ikwuemesibe, Oppong Clifford Benjamin (from Ghana) and many more were in attendance.
3. FESTIVAL POETRY CALABAR
Poets in Nigeria (PIN) is set to hold the sixth edition of its annual literary festival – Festival Poetry Calabar 2019. It is an event members of the PIN family and other lovers of literature are already looking forward to, even though the theme is yet to be revealed.
During the 2018 edition held at the James Ene Henshaw Foundation in Calabar, the Festival activities included a book chat session, panel discussions, a poetry slam, dance, drama and music. There were also other entertaining activities like Sights and Sounds of Calabar and a rally.
In attendance were poets, writers, literary administrators, journalists and social advocates Odoh Diego Okeyodo, Chuma Nwokolo, Jonathan Abang Ugbal, Hope Obetan, Joseph Okoro, Kalejaye Folajimi and others. Some of the many young spoken word poets who seized the stage and performed beautiful poetry include Poets Isaac Daniels, Bwrite Word, Worden Enya, oddFelix Ayuk, JimPoet Adie, Solutionist Clementina, Chris Fridae, Prince Charley, Afrika, CP Kings, LKG and many others.
4. LAGOS INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL
Since 2015 The LAGOS INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL has brought poets, writers, artists, and thinkers from across the world to Lagos for a week of conversations , readings , performances , workshops and adventure , establishing itself as one of the continent’s Annual Art and Culture Highlights. Founded and Directed by Efe Paul Azino, this annual event is set to hold again, the 5th edition, at a yet unannounced date and venue.
The Festival features poetry, spoken word and music performances, riveting conversations, workshops and masterclasses, etc. with local and international poets in attendance. In 2018, it place at the Old Prison Grounds, Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos from Oct. 31st – Nov. 4th, 2018, with the theme “Wide Awake” with Lebo Mashile (South Africa), Jabir Malick (Senegal), Chika Jones (Nigeria), Julian Heun (Germany) and Tobi Abiodun (Nigeria) as guests and special music by Femi Leye.
5. SOS 4.0 POETRY SLAM
Sound of Sages (SOS) Poetry Slam is a one-day poetry, music and sundry talent event that attracts a young literary audience. It is curated by spoken word artist Bankole Kolawole ‘BankHALL’. The 4th edition of the event, dubbed SOS 4.0, is set to hold in 2019, at a yet unannounced date and venue.
In 2018, the SOS SLAM organized in collaboration with thePoetryCourt (tPC), held on Saturday, December 8 at Shogunle Town Hall, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos, and featured several young poets and notable writers – Iquo Diana-Abasi, Soonest Nathaniel, James Ademuyiwa & Layo Simeon, as judges of the slam which was won by Oludasa Michael Olawale.
6. ABUJA POETRY CONVENTION
The Abuja Poetry Convention is a three-day event convened by Absolute Poetry (founded by Jonathan Oluwatosin) and co-convened/organized by oddFelix Ayuk, Precious Okeke and Adekunbi Lardo.
Targeting at least a thousand participants, activities at the Abuja Poetry Convention event will include poetry readings, a poetry carnival, and an all evening session of alternative music, poetry performances, acrobatic display, dance and an open-field party. Attendees will also be treated to master classes on poetry and other literary genres, panel discussions, a poetry slam, award presentations, and other side attractions.
Hosted by J19, Rhapsodist is an annual event that has grown to be the largest Christian spoken word poetry event in the city of Calabar. Rhapsodist features mainly spoken word poetry but also gives room for other stage arts.
The event which is about to hold for the fourth time has featured poets Moje Ikpeme, Chinwendu Nwangwa, Worden Enya, Agwazia Ifeanyi, Neka GODZBOi and oddFelix Ayuk, rapper Ajebo and comedian Reks (of the House of Reks), among many others. August Chucks, Irra and Fragile of the Port-Harcourt Literary Society are among those that graced the stage in the last edition.
If you are able to make any or all of these events, your year will definitely be made, at least poetry-wise. You are certainly in for beautiful poetry (and literary) experience if you follow this guide.
This article was contributed by Okeke Precious, an undergraduate student studying English Language and Literature at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.