Botswana Festivals Kenya Namibia Nigeria

Literary festivals across Africa you can attend in September 2019.

We share with you a list of literary festivals you can attend across Africa in September 2019.

September might be the most hectic month on the African literary calendar this year with festivals hosted in many of the regions. In West Africa, bibliophiles can look forward to the Kaduna Book and Arts Festival 2019, also known as Kaba Fest, where they will see guests from all over the continent.

In East Africa, the Nairobi International Book Fair 2019, the Macondo Literary Festival 2019, and the African Writers Conference 2019 will be hosted in Kenya on the last weekend of the month. Another event, to be hosted in Kisii to the West of Kenya, is the annual Kistrech International Poetry Festival 2019.

Southern Africa has several festivals this month with South Africa hosting the Polokwane Literary Fair 2019, the South African Book Fair 2019, and the Open Book Festival 2019. Other festivals in the Southern African region are the Gaborone Book Fair 2019 in Botswana and the Namibia Book Fair 2019 in Namibia.

Here are details for some of the festivals to look out for in the next four weeks.

  • Polokwane Literary Fair 2019 – Polokwane, South Africa. September 2-14.

Polokwane Literary Fair 2019

Started in 2012, the Polokwane Literary Fair is an initiative of the Polokwane Municipality in collaboration with the National Department of Arts & Culture, and South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Metro FM. It is the only literary festival in South Africa’s Limpopo Province where influential minds and iconic thespians get set out to lead the “developmental agenda” through the arts. From today until September 14th, guests can expect workshops and masterclasses, outreach via focused visits/activations, seminars/conversations, poetry performances as well as reading sessions.


  • Open Book Festival 2019 – Cape Town, South Africa. September 4-8.

Open Book Festival 2019

The Open Book Festival based in Cape Town, South Africa has hosted some of the most prominent writers in South Africa, on the continent and internationally since it was founded in 2011. This year bibliophiles can expect to interact with among others, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Sisonke Msimang, Yewande Omotoso, Barbara Boswell, Chigozie Obioma, Diane Awerbuck, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Fiona Snyckers, Fred Khumalo, Harry Garuba, Lauren Beukes, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Niq Mhlongo, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Masande Ntshanga, Mohale Mashigo, Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa, Efemia Chela, Ekow Duker, and Raphael D’Abdon.


  • Kistrech International Poetry Festival 2019 – Kisii and Nairobi, Kenya. September 6-10.

The Kistrech International Poetry Festival, founded in 2013 by Dr Christopher Okemwa, is the only one dedicated to the poetry form in Kenya. The festival which happens partly at the Goethe in Nairobi before moving to Kisii in the West of the country and other venues. Some of the delegates for this festival are Dr Christopher Okemwa, Adipo Sidang’, Evelyn Ongogo, Margaret Wairimu, Lewis Wamwanda, Cliff Oyugi Kerage, Harisson Omambia Anyango, Robert Onteri Nyabuto and Elly Omullo.


  • Namibia Book Fair 2019 – Windhoek, Namibia. September 6-7

Namibia Book Fair 2019

The Namibian Book Fair, initiated by Yambeka Education Foundation, and supported by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, is a community project that serves as a platform for writers, publishers, readers and enthusiasts from all over Namibia to share and discuss in the importance of knowledgeable reading. The aim of the fair is to help foster an appreciation of the diversity of Namibian literature and language through the power of reading. The fair, now in its fourth year, will take place from September 6th under the theme “Read together, build together.”

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  • South African Book Fair 2019 – Johannesburg, South Africa. September 6-8.

The South African Book Fair was established in 2006 as the Cape Town Book Fair before moving to Johannesburg in 2015 and adopting its current name. In 2016, the South African Book Development Council took ownership of the fair and now runs it alongside the National Book Week of the Southern African country. Some of the writers at the action-packed fair this year will be Dudu Busani-Dube, Fred Khumalo, Dr Gcina Mhlophe, Keletso Mopai, Lerato Mogoatlhe, Phehello Mofokeng, Niq Mhlongo, Refiloe Moahloli, Sabata Mpho-Mokae, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Sihle Khumalo, and Sue Nyathi.


  • Kaduna Book and Arts Festival 2019 (Kaba Fest) – Kaduna State, Nigeria. September 11-14.

Kaduna Book and Arts Festival 2019

Kaduna Book and Arts Festival, which first happened in 2017, is a project of Kaduna State Government, in partnership with the Book Buzz Foundation. The festival, the first major one in that part of Northern Nigeria, will bring together guests from across the continent to take part in panels, book launches, booklogues, an art fair and other activities.


  • Gaborone Book Fair 2019 – Gaborone, Botswana. September 19-21.

The Gaborone Book Fair, founded last year, was one of the best new festivals for 2018. Lovers of the written word who attend the fair will interact with among others Bakang Baloi, Thando Mgqolozana, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, TJ Dema, Brilliant Kodie, Onica Lekuntwane, Abigail Mwikisa, Lerato Mogoatlhe, Bontekanye Botumile, Odafe Atogun, Lauri Kubuitsile, Donald Molosi, Nanjala Nyabola, Phehello Mofokeng, Siya Khumalo, and Rosie Motene.


  • African Writers Conference 2019 – Nairobi, Kenya. September 27 – 29.

African Writers Conference 2019

The African Writers Conference 2019, a project of the African Writers Development Trust, will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme is “Cultural stereotypes in African Literature: Rewriting the narratives for the 21st Century Reader.” The winners of the African Writers Awards 2019 will also be announced.


  • Macondo Literary Festival 2019 – Nairobi, Kenya. September 27 – 29.

Macondo Literary Festival 2019

The Macondo Literary festival 2019 organised by the Macondo Book Society will see writers and other artists who produce art in English and Portuguese converge on Nairobi. Bibliophiles can interact with writers like Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Peter Kimani, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa, Geovani Martins, and Jonny Steinberg.


  • Nairobi International Book Fair 2019 – Nairobi, Kenya. September 26-30.

The Nairobi International Book Fair, which has been running since 1996, is a trade fair organized by the Kenya Publishers Association. The fair this year will have 70 local and 22 international exhibitors from China, Uganda, Korea, Senegal, UAE, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Pakistan, US and Nigeria.


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