Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Okwiri Oduor
Photographs by Aernout Zevenbergen
For 25 years, the Hay Festival has brought together writers and readers from across the world in a celebration of ideas and writing. The festival runs in 15 countries. On the continent, it pitches tent in Kenya
On Thursday the 13th of September 2012, the Storymoja Hay Festival officially kicked off in Nairobi. The theme of this year’s festival is Imagine the World. Perhaps in acknowledgment of this, the festival is held at the alluring National Museums of Kenya.
The first day of the festival was mostly dedicated to children.
Lemn Sissay and Imtiaz Dharker held workshops for writing and performance poetry, while JC Niala and Paula Kahumbu showed children how to make their ow, n puppets.
Young readers got the opportunity to meet authors Lauri Kubuitsile from Botswana and Lola Shoneyin whose book The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives was recently nominated for the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
Caine-nominated Kenyan writer Lily Mabura communed with young writers in a Manuscript Doctor session, and Dutch illustrator Marit Tornqvist fused storytelling and visual arts to kindle enthusiasm about water in both Dutch and Kenyan children.
At the Publish Your Own Book session, little children became great authors when, with the help of writers and illustrators, they produced their very own story booklets in two hours!.
In another workshop, Precious Williams(UK), Dinaw Mengestu(USA) and Ross van Horn(USA) discussed the theme of displacement and identity in creative writing.
Elsewhere at the festival, Kenyan comedian Eric Omondi delivered career advice to young adults, while novelist Giles Foden(UK) held a creative writing masterclass.
The Storymoja Hay Festival runs until Sunday the 16th of September 2012.