LOLA Shoneyin and the Ake Festival were declared the winners of the first International Aficionado Award on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.
The International Aficionado Award is a collaboration between the Aficionado Community of international publishing professionals, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and the Turin International Book Fair. It is designed to facilitate relationships, support and encourage passionate publishing professionals with the aim of paying homage to the most innovative people, companies, and initiatives through original collaborations that improve the quality of international publishing; give visibility to the most extraordinary features of the publishing world and to all professionals inspired and eager to collaborate for the good of the sector – to learn, teach and share; encourage and establish a sustainable exchange of ideas on issues central to publishing.
The nominees for the first edition were revealed at the Torino International Book Fair on May 11 with Lola Shoneyin and her Ake Festival in the running. They were given the nomination for their outstanding efforts to support the promotion of African literature, both locally and internationally.
The winner for the award was announced by its board of Gaeb & Eggers GmbH literature agent Michael Gaeb, London Literary Scouting’s Rebecca Servadio, Klett-Cotta’s Tom Kraushaar, and, Siltala Publishing’s Aleksi Siltala on Wednesday. The winner is Lola Shoneyin and her Ake Festival.
Board members Servadio, Ravi Merchandani, and Daniel Medin said, “The Aficionado Award was created to recognize unusual collaborations across the publishing world, focusing on the forging of creative and original connections between readers and writers. We were delighted when Lola Shoneyin—festival organizer, writer, publisher, cultural entrepreneur—and her Aké Festival were selected as an entirely worthy and apt winner of this first award.”
Responding to the win Lola Shoneyin said, “💃🏽🎉 #Nigeria 🇳🇬 won. Many thanks to @Book_Fair #FBM24 and @SalonedelLibro. Endless gratitude to my family, my team, @Sterling_Bankng @Ben_Aaronovitch, Adeity and all you amazing people who have supported me these past 11 years.”
The official Ake Festival account tweeted,
“We are genuinely honored to have won this. Congratulations to the entire Ake Arts and Book Festival Team and our creative lead, Ms. Lola Shoneyin”
Shoneyin is to be honored with a dinner in honor of her and her Aké Festival in Frankfurt on Thursday, October 19.