What To Expect In the Third Edition Of NBO Litfest

Book Bunk and Hay Festival are co-hosting the third edition of the NBO Litfest from June 27 to 30, 2024. The festival will unfold across three iconic public libraries in Nairobi: Kaloleni Library, Eastlands Library, and McMillan Memorial Library. This year’s iteration is particularly special as it marks a dynamic partnership with Hay Festival Global, promising an unparalleled celebration of literature and free expression in the heart of Nairobi.

NBO Litfest 2024

Founded by author Wanjiru Koinange and publisher Angela Wachuka, Book Bunk is a charitable trust that transforms public libraries into ‘Palaces for The People’: vibrant, inclusive community spaces. The Trust has restored Eastlands Library and Kaloleni Library. Currently, Book Bunk is fundraising for the restoration of McMillan Memorial Library, Nairobi’s oldest library. On the other hand, Hay Festival Global is a charity providing global festivals of stories, ideas, and new possibilities. Originating in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, the festival now spans locations worldwide, including Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Spain, and the USA.

Festival Highlights

Angela Wachuka, co-founder of Book Bunk, reflects on the journey, stating, “The establishment of Book Bunk was borne out of our search for public libraries in which to host literary events. Six years later, we are thrilled to stage these events in these very spaces that are now vibrant centers of creative expression in Nairobi.” Wanjiru Koinange, co-founder of Book Bunk, adds, “We’re honored to be able to continue to invite the world to experience our city, its storytelling, and its libraries.”

Rooted in Nairobi’s vibrant public libraries, NBO Litfest is not just a literary festival. It’s a dynamic platform uniting writers, artists, and thinkers from the region and beyond with the community. This year’s festival promises to amplify voices and inspire creativity. NBO Lifest 2024 also aims to ignite discussions that challenge conventions and inspire change. All these are to foster a rich environment for cultural exchange and intellectual engagement.

2024 NBO Litfest Programme

NBO Litfest off on Friday, June 28, with a day of masterclasses featuring distinguished writers, journalists, and public speakers. They include Bernardine Evaristo, Shafinaaz Hassim, Mercy Juma, Beverly Ochieng, and June Gachui. Events for children and young people include an African Story Box Time with Orpah Agunda, a film screening of ‘Stero’ by director Tevin Kimathi and child actor Kael Wafubwa, and live interactive readings with Taiye Selasi, Amani Muthoni, and Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni. Additionally, Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni will conduct a story writing masterclass, accompanied by live music performances.

Saturday and Sunday (June 29-30) will feature the main festival events at Eastlands Library. Key panels include discussions on the climate crisis with Amitav Ghosh and Elizabeth Wathuti, feminist issues with Joumana Haddad and Djamila Ribeiro, the perils of speaking out with Jon Lee Anderson and Sevgil Musaeva, and AI with Alex Gakuru, Chidi Nwaubani, and Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya.

Identity Discussions

Identity discussions will feature Aminatta Forna OBE, Taiye Selasi, and Ndinda Kioko in conversation with Mercy Juma, and author Lola Shoneyin with historian David Olusoga. Other notable sessions include Nguru Karugu and photographer Sarah Waiswa on breaking taboos. Additionally, Zakaria Ibrahimi and Cyrine Ghannouchi with Nesrine Malik will speak on decolonizing social media, while Djamila Ribeiro and Brenda Wambui will explore Black Feminism.

In-depth craft insights will be shared by Ibrahima Balde and Amets Arzallus alongside visual artist Kamwathi Peterson Waweru content creators Justine Wanda, Swiry Nyar Kano, and Astar, publicist Anyiko Owoko, and poet Nombeko Nontshokweni with Kiswahili author Edwin Omindo and lawyer Deborah Tendo. Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo will also discuss crafting spaces for underrepresented voices. The festival will run daily from 10 AM to 8 PM. Visit the NBO Litfest website for the full festival programme and participant details.

Save a date for an unforgettable celebration of literature, culture, and free expression at the 2024 NBO Litfest in Nairobi.

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