The East African publisher of Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea and Peter Kimani’s Dance of The Jakaranda was revealed at a soiree hosted at Prestige Books, Lavington Mall on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Prestige Books, which supplies many Nairobians with their fix of African and other literature, is probably the most beloved book store in the city right now. It has become a literary mecca with writers from all over the continent doing book signings and readings at this small store on Mama Ngina Street. Some of these have been Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Lola Shoneyin, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Elnathan John, Ayobami Adebayo, Moody Awori, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and many more.
In 2019, the bookshop opened a new branch at the swanky Lavington Mall which we suspect would become very popular with those known for their hatred for the hectic Central Business District. This relatively new store hosted the first literary soiree in a long while in Nairobi with many of the active writers attending. The invite-only event was masterfully conducted by Mshai Mwangola.
We espied writers and poets like Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Peter Kimani, Boniface Mwangi, Caine Prize winner Makena Onjerika who has a new anthology Digital Bedbugs out, her namesake Makena Maganjo who had launched her book South B’s Finest the evening before, poet Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, novelist and publisher Zukiswa Wanner, playwright John Sibi-Okumu, Joseph Ngunjiri who wrote Henry Wanyoike: Victory Despite Blindness, and Rasna Warah. Not only were those who produce the writing that we all so love much in attendance. Packed at the smallish venue were literary enthusiasts like Bookstagramer @this_bookishgirl, Magunga Williams, and others.
Folks were busy chatting and generally having a great time when speeches began. Many of these were about how awesome it was to meet as writers and readers while sharing tips on how to work together. This was when Peter Kimani shared that Ahmed who is the proprietor of the shop they were in is officially the East African publisher of Dance of the Jakaranda. The same goes for Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea.
So there you have it. East Africa’s newest publishing name is Ahmed. From chatting with him we can expect some action in the not too distant future.
Here are a few images from the literary soiree courtesy of our friends at Prestige Bookshop.