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Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF), organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) began on the 13th of November, 2023. On this day, LABAF, in conjunction with Adubiifa Network Company, hosted Mr. Akinyemi Cash Onadele, popularly known as Aiye-ko ooto. Aiye-ko ooto is a Nigerian-American playwright, poet, and novelist, who has written 109 titles.

Some of his books include Soused in Vintage, The Outsider, At Sea Without You, and Wishing Well on Black Hills. The session was held in Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park, and moderated by Mr. Toye Arulogun. During the course of the session, there was a presentation of Aiye-ko ooto’s latest publications and an engagement with the audience on his works and thoughts. The first day of the festival, themed Youths Day, saw the attendance of students from the Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos, and youths across Lagos State, who are passionate about literature and arts. Author’s Showcase, the title of the session, was opened with an introductory address to the youths by Mr. Jahman O. Anikulapo, the program chair of LABAF. In his address, he stressed that LABAF is a campaign for literacy, and encouraged the youths to visit CORA Library and Resource Centre to pick books to read and get enlightened. The author of 109 books, Aiye-ko ooto, who also majored in science and is an architect, began the discussion by stating that “literature is more complex than science subjects” as he explained that literature requires the discipline of hard work, creativity and inspiration.

He also stated that in his literary pieces, he subtly talks about humanity, politics and culture. However, he said that he ventured into children’s books this year and wrote two children literature; one for children between the ages of 6-12, and the other for young adults between the ages of 13-18. Speaking about the kind of legacy he would like to be known for, he stated that he would like to be regarded as one of the few people who created youth literature prizes. He also asserted that he would like to invest in a generation that can change the narrative of “aiye-ko ooto” (the world hates the truth). As a writer of 4 screenplays, the playwright highlighted four keys to look out for in writing dialogue for plays. They include: Purpose, Economy, Direction, and Compression.

As he concluded the first part of the session, he said that “a piece of writing must have depths”.

The second part of the session saw an opening speech by the Chairman of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), Chief Kayode Aderinokun. In his address, he expressed optimism that the younger generation will be great in life, if they do what is right. In this session, Mr. Cash Onadele took the students and youths through workshops and exercises on creative writing. He put the audience through what it takes to write a story. According to his statement, the effectiveness of a story requires that the story focuses on a particular setting. He said that a story is powerful when it has its focus on a community or culture, because it provides content and depth. After a thorough evaluation of what it takes to write a story, the author highlighted tips that cannot be ignored during the process of story-writing.

He gave what he called the “12Cs”, with a meaning to each “C”. Afterwards, Mr. Cash Onadele gave the youths in the audience a prize-attached exercise, asking them to write a compelling title of a book they intend to write. It was also mandated that the title strictly follows the features of a literary title, as given by Aiye-ko ooto: C- Concise; R- Relevant; I- Intriguing; M- Metaphor; and E- Evocative. At the end of the exercise, Mr. Wale Adeduro, announced the winners – Solomon Tope, Harry Onyeogo, Mercy Kelani, and Cecilia Williams. Each of the winners was awarded a book written by Aiye-ko ooto – At Sea Without You – worth ten thousand naira each. The book prizes were presented by Chief Otunba Onadele and his wife; Mrs. D]enise Onadele; and Chief Kayode Aderinokun.