The inaugural NYrobi Book Fest was hosted at the Alliance Française Nairobi on June 25-26, 2021.
The Alliance Française de Nairobi has always been a home for the arts in the capital of the East African country. It is one of the few spaces which regularly hosts concerts, theatre performances, art exhibitions, book launches and much more. It was the venue for the NYrobi Book Fest, a new initiative to celebrate the culture of reading and writing as well as encourage the sharing of trends and ideas. The event with several activities started on Friday, June 25 and ended on Saturday, June 26.
The festival kicked off with an exclusive launch of J.E. Sibi-Okumu Collected Plays 2004-2014 by playwright John Sibi-Okumu at the Wangari Maathai auditorium on the evening of Friday, June 25. J.E. Sibi-Okumu Collected Plays 2004-2014, published by Jahazi Press, is a collection of the plays that have been written by John Sibi-Okumu. These include Role Play, Minister Karibu, Meetings, Kaggia, Elements, and Dinner At Her Excellency’s.
The evening included speeches by Isaac Awuondo and French ambassador Aline Kuster-Menager before John Sibi-Okumu gave an address as the author. The cocktail that followed was filled with some of the most important names in the Kenyan artistic community which was a great way to kick of a festival. You can watch Sibi-Okumu’s address in full below;
The Saturday program included a storytelling performance by Wangari the Storyteller as well as a panel entitled “Kenyan Literature – From the past to the present.” Apart from these scheduled events, one could interact with their favourite writers and publishers in the different areas of the venue. Here are some images from these interactions over the weekend.
The festival wrapped up with a performance of spoken word and music headlined by Mufasa the poet. Watch part of the performance below;