Celebrating East African Writing!

The Storymoja Hay Festival Kicks off in Nairobi

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.

Preparations in full swing for the opening party of the 2012 Storymoja Hayfestival at the Nairobi National Museum.

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.

Children’s book authors Lola Shneyin (left on stage) and Lauri Kubuitsile (right on stage – foreground) address the audience at their “Meet the authors” session with pupils from schools in Nairobi at the 2012 Storymoja Hayfestival.

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.

Dutch illustrator Marit Tornqvist, assisted by the Dutch ambassador Joost Reintjes talk to Kenyan pupils about the need for clean water.

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.

Renownded author Gill Foden addresses the audience at one of his workshops on writing at the 2012 Storymoja Festival in Nairobi, Kenya

The Storymoja Hay Festival runs until Sunday the 16th of September 2012.


One comment on “The Storymoja Hay Festival Kicks off in Nairobi

  1. Joyful
    September 21, 2012

    This looks like a fantastic event and it is wonderful that you are getting so many school children involved.


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2012 by in Writer's Blog.
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