Rwanda writer Karen Bugingo launched My Name is Life with a packed audience at the Alchemist Bar, Nairobi on May 5, 2018. This her debut novel, was published by Rwandan publisher Imagine We.
There was a packed house at The Alchemist, the bar where all the cool things are happening in Nairobi, on Saturday evening as the newest writer from East Africa Karen Bugingo unveiled her new book. This blogger was a mite worried as the “all Rwandans are beautiful” stereotype was in evidence in the room. There were many Rwandans in the audience and their hotness was both for the boys and the girls. The only people who were letting down the beauty averages were this blogger and the sound guy Richard; we huddled together bemoaning our lack of attractiveness until some rather plain white women came in and we felt better. At least there were four of us uglies in there.
The event emceed by Tessie included entertainment from Debbie a singer and a poet called Shuki. You can see a bit of Debbie’s performance below.
The first speech of the evening was given by publisher Dominique Nicky who told us about the journey they went on to get the book to exist when Bugingo approached them three years ago. The publisher had cut its teeth with children’s books thus this would be their most ambitious project. They would give Bugingo the blogger books she would be required to analyse to understand the structure of a novel. Eventually, a book would come from the young Rwandan writer that was launched first in Kigali her home city and later Kampala in Uganda.
There was also a keynote address from Storymoja Publishers Dawn Makena who loved the book and encouraged us in the audience to get our own copies.
The star of the evening Bugingo then got on stage and she would speak about the novel and how she started and the blessings that it brought to her. The book is based on her own experiences as a cancer survivor in a society that knows very little about the disease. She would then read an excerpt from the book part of which you can see below (apologies for the quality of the video; looking for a better recording device).