The Quramo Festival of Words aka QFest 2023 was hosted at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria from October 4 – 8, 2023.
The Quramo Festival of Words was first hosted by Quramo Publishing in Lagos, Nigeria in December 2017. Lagosians were treated to masterclasses, book readings, workshop discussions, film, theatre, and an open mic. Since then, there has been a virtual edition in 2020 and physical versions in 2021 and 2022.
The 2023 edition with the theme “Connecting The Dots” was hosted in the first week of October with superb curation by Aduke Gomez and a team directed by Ololade Alaka. Those who attended the events in Lagos emceed by the excellent Gloria Olufeko had an outstanding experience. Here are some of the highlights;
There were creative workshops covering a large group of topics brought by the festival with the support of the Irish embassy in Nigeria. Some of these were on Self Editing by Anwuli Ojogwu; Stories in Visuals class by Morenike Olusanya; Writing To Get The Grant Writing by Linda Bembatoum; Distributing Your Content by Adedotun Eyinade (RovingHeights); Nothing But Bops: Writing form Music and Performance by Dwin the Stoic; Avoid the Block: Wellness for Creatives by Oyinkan Talabi; Videography for Social Media and Content Marketing by Alawode Abisola; Bestseller to Blockbuster – Book-to-screen adaptation by Femi Odugbemi; Show Me the Money class by James Murua; and Scriptwriting – Adapting Book to Stage and Screen by Jude Idada.
There were addresses given to audiences at the Eko Hotel by Marc Brebant of the Alliance Francaise and Bada Akintunde-Johnson the Country Manager of Paramount Africa.
There were several panels from the literary and publishing as well as in the wider creative industry on offer. There was a conversation with the finalists of the Quramo Writers Prize Zainab U. Imam, Chiziterem Chijioke, David Vera Sorochi, and Truth Bakare moderated by Feyi Ijimakinwa. Ngozi Chukwu moderated “Fintech as a Catalyst to Nigerian Creativity” which had Bode Abifarin, Daniel Orudo, Blessing Abeng, and Morenike Olusanya as panellists. “The Travelling Sauce: Cross Border Food Collaborationists” one of the most enjoyable on offer moderated by Michael Balogun had Feyikemi Animasashaun, Chef Imoteda, Obafeyikemo, and Rotimi Alabi as panellists.
Fu’ad Lawal moderated the very fiery panel “Ancient African Art and Culture: The Looting, Return and Preservation” with Jahman Anikulapo, Yahaya Maikori, and Omotayo Adeboye. “Global Rights, Local Rights: Whose Rights?” moderated by James Murua featured publishers Bankole Olayebi, Eghosa Imasuen (Narrative Landscape), Ibiso Graham-Douglas (Paperworth Books), and Lanre Shasore.
Aduke Gomez, the festival curator moderated the panel “Nigeria & Ireland: Commonalities Amongst Former Colonies” with Ambassador Peter Ryan, Oriyomi Jimoh, and Olasupo Shasore. The Narrative Landscape Press curated “Local Culture for a Continental Audience” moderated by Uchenna Emelife had Uche Anaekwe, Iquo Ukoh, and Ayodele Ogundipe as panellists.
It’s a literary festival so of course book chats. Anjola Ogunsanwo moderated “Parallel Universes: Interconnected Short Stories” with Obi Echezona (Tall Tales), Osisiye Tafa (Sixty Percent of a True Story), and Ugochukwu Ugonna (Who Drove Nearly All Lagos Men Mad?). “Telling Our Own Business Stories” curated by RovingHeights, who incidentally were the official bookstore of the festival, was moderated by Damilare Dosunmu and Sade Onabowale while James Murua was in conversation with Kobby Ben Ben (No One Dies Yet).
There were other conversations that couldn’t be considered book chats or panels. One of these was a conversation between publisher Gbemi Shasore with Sarah Boulos the founder of the Society of The Performing Arts in Nigeria. Another was the Chrysalis Conversation hosted by Kemi Ogunleye featuring comedian and singer Chioma “Chigul” Omeruah dubbed “Connecting The Dots – From There to Here and Everything in Between.” That conversation which brought all the emotions had Omeruah speak about her career highs and lows.
Quramo Writers Prize
The Quramo Writers Prize was revealed on Sunday with Chiziterem Chijioke winning the N1,000,000 cash prize and an opportunity to get a publishing contract. Read more about that win by clicking here.
There were a few performances on offer to festival goers. The Connexion poetry slam hosted by Koromone saw many amateur slam poets in a fierce competition for a N100,000 cash prize on Friday evening. On Saturday, lovers of theatre were treated to “Our Story, Our Area” by the Crown Troupe who were directed by Segun Adefila. There was also the Irish evening event “Siamsa X Tales by Moonlight” curated by the Irish Embassy. That event was hosted by Ambassador Peter Ryan and Aduke Gomez.
There were several films screened over the period of the festival with the first day having the following shorts. Kiriji War by Durotimi Akinkugbe, Ewa by Mark Eyesan and Team, Burkina Babes by Kagho Idebhor and Team, Born Different by Ann Sarafina, Certainly Sir by Ms 10PP, Sad Cartoon by Daniel “S.A.D” Alaka, Etido by Oladele Bello, Babushka, Looking for Maya by Regal, Tomati by Esther Kemi Gbadamosi and Animation Nigeria, Friendship and Loneliness by Chukwufumnanya Ochei, and The Broken Mask.