The second Global Association of Literary Festivals (GAOLF) Conference invited and paid for a Wisconsin Book Festival representative to attend its November conference in Lagos, Nigeria, recognizing the festival’s excellence in promoting literature.

Book Festival Communications Associate Haley Borgrud traveled to Lagos and joined 22 other delegates from book festivals around the world. The delegates spent a week sharing their knowledge and experiences regarding social media, fundraising, collaboration and other festival operations.

The conference was hosted by the Ake Arts and Book Festival, which is in its 10th year and has brought more than 1,000 artists — including writers, musicians and filmmakers — together to celebrate creativity.

“It was good to get out there and see all those other festivals,” Borgrud said. “My major takeaway is the focus on connection and collaboration — not only with other festivals, but also with authors, journalists and moderators. That’s something I want to emphasize in the Wisconsin Book Festival.”

Borgrud ran a panel discussion on social media and its crucial role in promoting the Book Festival. “It’s very important to maintain your voice as a book festival,” she said. “You have to keep people engaged, and you have to be creative with it.”

Beyond GAOLF’s scheduled events and discussions, Borgrud had the opportunity to explore the Lagos area, which was a unique, immersive experience for her. “Lagos is wonderful,” she said. “It’s a very proud city, and it’s very culturally rich. They really have an emphasis on literature and the arts.”

Borgrud’s position with the Wisconsin Book Festival is funded with an Artists at Work grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Madison Arts Commission.