Afi at Nyrobi Book Fest 22

The NYrobi Book Fest 2022, the second edition, was hosted at the Alliance Française de Nairobi from June 24-26, 2022.

The NYrobi Book Fest, first hosted at the Alliance Française in Nairobi in 2021, brought Nairobians together many for two days of book launches, discussions, and story-telling performances. For a first-time book festival, it was considered to be a success.

The second edition happened in the last weeks of June and it was even more well attended.  Here are some of the highlights. Please note that due to personal reasons, I could not attend a majority of the sessions and this report is from the few that I did or that had information available online.

Launches

There were panels starting with the festival opener which was the official launch of the Rêver en temps de Guerre which was Jean Pierre Orban’s French translation of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o memoir Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir. The event included a reading by John Sibi-Okumu and a panel moderated by Peter Kimani with panellists Dr Jennifer Muchiri, Prof Peter Wasamba, Zein Abubakar, and Prof Katwiwa Mule.

Another launch was Mystery Publishers’ new poetry anthology Our Stories Redefined” which was anchored by Filmmaker and critic Simiyu Barasa. It had a panel of publisher Vincent De Paul, contributor Jerusha Kananu Marete, and Sharon Maritim who edited and proofread the anthology.

Another event was the launch of Dr Constance Smith’s nonfiction title Nairobi In The Making: Landscapes of Time & Urban Belonging. That event moderated by Caroline Mose had a panel of the book writer as well as Dr Garnette Oluoch-Olunya and Dr George Gathigi.

Children and Storytelling

There was an event of storytelling for kids featuring the team at Zamaleo led by Helen Alumbe.

Discussions

There were also discussions like one entitled “Are African comics meeting the needs of local readers” led by Mutendei Writes (Elias Nabutete).

Exhibition

There was an exhibition where many in the publishing ecosystem showcased their wares to a public who showed up in larger numbers than in the previous year. Some of those who exhibited were Prestige Bookshop, Twaweza Communication, HalfPriced Books, French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA), Kwani Trust, Mystery Publishers, Writers Guild-Kenya, Writers Space Africa – Kenya, Websoft Interactive Publishing Services, Zand Graphics, Drelix Media, Avandu Studio, Msanii Kimani Wa Wanjiru, Mutendi Writers, and Nuria Bookshop.

Here are more videos from the book fest;