A visit to the ongoing Nairobi International Book Fair

Yesterday saw me visiting the Nairobi International book fair in Nairobi and I have to say that I had pretty decent time. You can still visit it as it ends on Sunday.

I was one of the guests at the Nairobi International Book Fair yesterday when I went to the Sarit Centre. The event, which is the brainchild of the Kenya Publishers Association, has dozens of exhibitors as you would expect as it grows year on end.

As is my tradition at most of these exhibitions at the Sarit my formula is pretty simple; dash around the whole place looking around bookmarking where I will be settling. Going around the fair I noted the place was full of school going children in their uniforms. They would be fine as there were so many people in that place offering literature for children unlike when some us grew up and it consisted of Barbara Kimenye (the Moses series)and the rest was Enid Blyton’s (Famous Five and Secret Seven) writings and a few other folks. The kids there made sense as there were publishers of texts for educational purposes like East African Educational Publishers, Oxford University Press and the like.

Apart from the kids and publishers for their educational needs there was a decent showing from the religious gang with the Christians and the Muslims well represented.

With my circuit done I settled down to the stands of interest for me. They included the Ministry of Culture stand which had a few folks including author Moraa Gitaa whose latest offering is Shifting Sands. There were some other books on offer there like those from author Muthoni Likimani including her autobiography Fighting with Ceasing. Right next to that stand was the one with the people who produced Healthy Woman magazine which was launched in Kenya the other day with some pomp. At that stand was Winnie Gor who I last interacted when she was working for Gina Din.

Also of interest was my good pal Sandra who works with the African Research and Resource Forum. I was a bit concerned for all the worlds celebrities. When I and Sandra were celebrating her birthday a while back we left and the same night Michael Jackson died. I pray no celebrities die after our tete-a-tete.

Also on my radar was Oxford University Press who had a bad year with two of their authors Barbara Kimenye and Frank Odoi passing on. Suddenly I am grateful that I was not published by that company as who knows if this year would have been mine for passing.

There was also the Blackrain printing house which specialises in printing small batches of books which would interest authors going down the self publishing route. They would typically print one hundred books for as low as Kshs300 a pop depending on the needs. This stand was being manned by my old pal Kairo Kiarie who I met in days gone by when he worked for Kwani?

Talking about Kwani? I passed by their stand to say hey. The new offering as told to me by Mike was One Day I Will Write About This Place by its founder Binyavanga Wainana. The picture of the author was peering down at me from the stand like the picture of the President at many public establishments. The book launched earlier in the year and I have been slowly going through its pages. I am now at page 114 after many months of slogging. Clap for me.

I recommend you try out that book fair as you will find something that you will find interesting. Its on until Sunday so don’t saw you weren’t told.

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