Kenya: 2024 NBO LitFest held at Kaloleni and Eastlands libraries

Themes of protest, civic engagement and social change were among 30 sessions (including masterclasses and panel discussions) held at the festival this year.

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Book Bunk and Hay Festival successfully co-hosted the 2024 edition of NBO Litfest that was held in Nairobi’s Kaloleni and Eastlands Libraries over the past weekend (28 – 30 June 2024). The partnership widened the scope and impact of NBO Litfest adding more Pan African and international participants in dialogue with East African writers, creators and thought leaders about socio-cultural issues.

The festival’s third edition tagged “a festival of ideas” brought unparalleled celebration of literature and free expression to the heart of Nairobi, uniting over 50 writers, artists and thinkers from Kenya, Africa and beyond with the community. Themes of protest, civic engagement and social change were among 30 sessions (including masterclasses and panel discussions) held at the festival this year.

Book Bunk Founders: Angela Wachuka and Wanjiku Koinange featured Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo as a guest on a live recording of “A Palace for The People” podcast at the festival. A cross section of creatives at the height of their craft who spoke at the festival include Kenyan creatives and content creators: Magunga Williams (storyteller), Justine Wanda (Fake Woke series) and Astar Njau (Cleaning The Airwaves) who tackled digital storytelling in a conversation moderated by Anyiko Owoko (VIP ACCESS Podcast/Anyiko PR).

Writers Aminatta Forna OBE and Taiye Selasi talked to BBC Africa’s Mercy Juma about the need for new narratives, especially regarding authors of African descent working abroad. Author Lola Shoneyin talked to historian David Olusoga about the impact of his work in rethinking black history. Editor Nguru Karugu talked to photographer Sarah Waiswa and poet Ngartia Kimathi about identity, with Djamila Ribeiro exploring Black Feminism.

Tevin Omwanza (Filmmaker) and Amani Muthoni (Childrens’ book author) featured at the Children’s Festival on Friday within a programme that included film screenings, live interactive readings and play groups. Other activities included book signing sessions with authors, Nairobi flea market and live music performances that featured Kenyan singer Sanaipei Tande.

2024 NBO Litfest was more than just literature but a platform to discuss pressing social issues. The discussions challenged conventions and inspired change while fostering a rich environment for cultural exchange, political awareness and intellectual engagement.

Bernadine Evaristo with Muthoni Muiruri who is the founder of Soma Nami books.
Bernadine Evaristo giving a masterclass on fiction.
Actor and producer Sihle Isipho in a story telling session with children.
Children’s festival at Kaloleni Library.
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