How The Third Edition Of NBO Litfest Went Down

Book Bunk and Hay Festival successfully co-hosted the 2024 edition of NBO Litfest in Nairobi’s Kaloleni and Eastlands Libraries. This partnership expanded the festival’s reach and impact, incorporating more Pan-African and international participants to engage in dialogues with East African writers, creators, and thought leaders on socio-cultural issues.

Tagged as ‘a festival of ideas,’ the festival’s third edition brought an unparalleled celebration of literature and free expression to the heart of Nairobi. It united over 50 writers, artists, and thinkers from Kenya, Africa, and beyond with the community. Themes of protest, civic engagement, and social change were explored in 30 sessions, including masterclasses and panel discussions.

NBO LitFest Highlights and Notable Guests

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

L-R_ Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo Book Bunk Founders_ Wanjiru Koinange Angela Wachuka

Additionally, prominent writers Aminatta Forna OBE and Taiye Selasi discussed the need for new narratives, particularly for authors of African descent working abroad, with BBC Africa’s Mercy Juma. Author Lola Shoneyin conversed with historian David Olusoga about rethinking black history’s impact. Editor Nguru Karugu, photographer Sarah Waiswa, and poet Ngartia Kimathi explored identity, while Djamila Ribeiro delved into Black Feminism.

NBO Litfest Children’s Festival

The Children’s Festival on Friday featured filmmaker Tevin Omwanza and children’s book author Amani Muthoni. Their program that included film screenings, live interactive readings, and play groups. This segment aimed to inspire and engage young minds through creative activities.

Orpah Aguda Reading Session

Community Engagement and Activities

Apart from the children’s festival, NBO Litfest included book signing sessions with authors, a Nairobi flea market, and live music performances featuring Kenyan singer Sanaipei Tande. These activities added to the vibrant and interactive atmosphere, making literature accessible and enjoyable for all attendees.

Sanaipei Tande on Stage

The 2024 NBO Litfest was more than just a celebration of literature; it was a platform to discuss pressing social issues. The discussions challenged conventions and inspired change, fostering a rich environment for cultural exchange, political awareness, and intellectual engagement. NBO Litfest 2024 successfully highlighted the power of literature and dialogue in addressing socio-cultural issues.

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