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Tom Tom & Virginia Festival of the Book Writer-in-Residence to Lead Workshop at Boys & Gi

Charlottesville, VA— As part of his writer residency with the Tom Tom Founders Festival and Virginia Festival of the Book, acclaimed Nigerian writer and graphic artist, Roye Okupe, will lead a workshop with local youth on Wednesday, April 5th at 2pm at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia at 1000 Cherry Ave, Charlottesville, VA.

Okupe’s debut graphic novel series, E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams, is superhero story set in a futuristic Nigeria and has been featured on CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, NBC, The Guardian, ABC7, BBC, The Huffington Post, Mashable and more. Okupe will lead an inspirational workshop with local youth from the Boys & Girls Club and City of Promise. Okupe will discuss the lessons he’s learned throughout his career and lead participants through creating their own superheroes.

“Roye’s voice was such a critical presence at the 2017 Virginia Festival of the Book, inspiring writers to embrace their individuality and creativity as a means of empowerment as well as livelihood,” says Sarah Lawson of the Virginia Festival of the Book. “We are thrilled that he’ll now have the chance to share those same ideas with local youth.”

Okupe’s writer residency is part of a collaboration between the Tom Tom Founders Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book, which began on Friday, March 24 at the Virginia Festival of the Book (view photos from this program at, and will conclude with two events at the Tom Tom Founders Festival on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15:

  1. Founders Summit Luncheon, Friday April 14, 12:00pm, Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar – Okupe will participate in the Founders Summit Luncheon: Design and Branding alongside Founders Summit keynote, Craig Dubitsky of eos Lip Balm and Hello Products, and Todd Wickersty of Storyware.

  1. Writer-in- Residence Talk, Saturday, April 15, 4:00pm, Telegraph Art & Comics –  Okupe will discuss his process, inspirations, and entrepreneurial insights.  

To see all of the art programming at Tom Tom Founders Festival visit


The Tom Tom Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival. Supporting high-impact events throughout the year, the Foundation seeks to empower the innovators whose creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to community help ensure a better future for us all. Now in its sixth year, the action-packed Founders Festival is held during the week of April 13 (hometown hero Thomas Jefferson’s birthday) in Charlottesville, VA. Featuring outstanding local music, art, and food, as well as high-stakes startup competitions and high-impact conversations with business, entrepreneurial, and academic and civic leaders, the event attracted more than 38,000 attendees in 2016. Learn more at


A signature program of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) and the Virginia Center for the Book, the Virginia Festival of the Book brings readers and writers together in Charlottesville, Va. for a five-day program of mostly free events including author readings, book signings, panel discussions, programs for children, and more. The 23rd annual Festival was held March 22-26, 2017. The Festival has consistently attracted audiences of more than 20,000 from more than forty states each spring, with an estimated local economic impact of about $4 million annually. To learn more, visit


Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is a creative specialist who holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in computer science from The George Washington University. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Under that umbrella, Roye wrote, produced and directed several animated productions including, but not limited to, 2D/3D animated short films, TV commercials, show openers, music videos and much more. These productions have allowed Roye to attain much prestigious recognitions such as being #5 on Ventures Africa’s list of 40 African innovators to watch (2016) as well as being part of New African Magazine’s 100 most influential Africans of 2016.


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