Down River Road, the newest literary journal in Kenya, launched at the Kenya Cultural Centre, Nairobi on Friday, February 7, 2020.
In June 2019, Kenyan poet and writer Clifton Gachagua and journalist and writer Franklin Sunday set up Down River Road, a new journal that would publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry and ideas at https://downriverroad.org/. Later in the year, they made a call out for work and many submitted their poetry, prose, nonfiction, and other genres of art. From the dozens of entries, Idza Luhumyo, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, Franklin Sunday, Michelle Angwenyi, Lutivini Majanja, Lorna Likiza, Judyannet Muchiri, Bethuel Muthee, Clifton Gachagua, Alexis Teyie, Kamwangi Njue, Kali Mutabuti, and Binti Mombasa made the cut for the first physical edition. The journal series editor was Bethuel Muthee.
Down River Road launched at the Kenya Cultural Centre in Nairobi this past Friday, February 7. It was slated to start at 4pm but started a couple of hours later. Those who attended listed to contributors reading them out loud over a several hour period. These included the journal founders Clifton Gachagua and Franklin Sunday and series editor Bethuel Muthee, as well as among others Idza Luhumyo and Binti Mombasa.
The evening saw a collaboration between writers and visual artists that we last saw when Jalada launched their most recent edition in December. Today’s collaboration was between the journal and artist Anita Kavochy who is part of the Maasai Mbili Artist Collective whose exhibition was entitled “Works in Progress.”
A huge aspect of the evening was the special DJ set from a clearly inebriated DJ Raph who provided both entertainment for those who were there as well as heckling for the writers who read their work which could be seen as either playful or downright disrespectful.
The evening included an announcement of the next edition of the journal which will have the theme “Ritual” and will be edited by Wairimu Muriithi and Carey Baraka with Neo Musangi as the series editor.
Here is some video we captured from the launch with our trusty cellphone camera.