Ayobami Adebayo and Zukiswa Wanner dazzled Nairobi residents over a series of literary events from February 22-24, 2018. The two were in the city at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut Nairobi.
There was a whirlwind of literary activity in Nairobi this past weekend as two beloved literary personalities strutted their stuff in the green city in the sun. Ayobami Adebayo is the Nigerian writer of Stay With Me which has dazzled many readers as it navigates the 1980s Nigeria in the eyes of young couple having their own problems. Zukiswa Wanner is the author of four novels and two nonfiction books as well as children books. The Kenyan based South African author would be presenting her newest book Hardly Working a travel memoir.
Literary Crossroads: Goethe-Institut Nairobi
The big event of the tour was the Literary Crossroads event that happened at the Goethe-Institut on Friday February 23 moderated by Aleya Kassam. The Goethe auditorium was filled to capacity and people were on the outside having to negotiate with the security guard who was following instructions to avoid overfilling the venue.
The two writers spoke about their books London Cape Town by Wanner and Stay With Me by Adebayo which they did readings of. The discussion moved back and forth between writing craft, motivations, and methods, opinions on the African literary scene, and everything in between. Both of the writers are skilled communicators thus it was a pleasure for the hundreds of those who were crowded in the Goethe-Institut on that Friday evening.
The event would end with Zukiswa Wanner introducing the audience to her newest book Hardly Working. The new book focuses on a five month slice of the author’s life from July to November 2016 where she took a road trip across both Africa and Europe. The book also gives the authors opinions on the literary scene she operates in as well as on a myriad of topics.
The next edition of Literary Crossroads happens in June or July 2018.
Here are some sights from the evening which Goethe-Institut head of library and information services Elizabeth Wichenje anchored. All the images were taken by Julian Manjahi.
Book Signings: TBC and Prestige Books
The tour included book signing events at the Text Book Centre and at Prestige Books. The Text Book Centre, the leading book store chain with seven outlets around the country popularly known as TBC, hosted Ayobami Adebayo at their Sarit Centre Westlands branch on Thursday February 22. There were a few dozen fans who came through to get the writer’s John Hancock and take selfies with her.
The other book signing event was at the Prestige Books on the afternoon of Saturday February 24 which both writers took part in and even more people turned up for. Prestige Book has quietly built its name as the go to space for many of the continents leading literary names. In the last few years they have hosted book signings for people like Lola Shoneyin, Elnathan John, and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
The event on the Saturday afternoon was set to begin from 1-3pm but the folks that came through to get their books signed we so many that they had to keep signing books almost an hour after the official end time.