‘Fear’ as treat at French Institute’s Nights of Reading

By Anthony Nwachukwu

As part of its drive to share the pleasure of reading and promote literature worldwide, the Institut Français du Nigeria (IFN) last week hosted The Nights of Reading, an initiative of the French Ministry of Culture.

A major annual event, this year’s edition, themed Fear, saw over 5,000 events organised in libraries and French institutes across the world, with over 500 guests at the Nigerian show in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

IFN invited seven performers to read and interpret various literary texts around Fear, including poems and excerpts from books, from Nigerian authors, Nnedi Okorafor and Akwaede Emezi, to Edgar Allan Poe and Rwandan author, Scholastique Mukasonga.

To promote various ways to enjoy stories around Fear, it also included a VR experience with the work, Gloomy Eyes, as well as a game, Unmaze, for the public.

A partner of the event, Roving Heights, also organised a pop-up store with a carefully curated selection of books around the theme, while another partner, Imi, an original concept by the dance and creative centre, Heart Heartist, delivered several improvisation performances across dance, spoken words and music.

Meanwhile, IFN also used the occasion to launch its new restaurant and café, Mambaah Bistro – the sister space of Mambaah Café in Maitama, within the compound.

According to the IFN Cultural Programme Officer, Mathilde Mathilde Lepert, the opening of Mambaah Bistro marks the start of more successful collaborations and events later in the year.

The multifaceted event recorded a rich multi-cultural audience with over 500 people in attendance. The event evolved into a party with a DJ set featuring DJ Pasta. Both the young and the older audience mixed up to showcase their dance moves, creating an electric and happy atmosphere of fun and laughter.

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