2006 Kwani? LitFest : Ideas, Words, Markets


2006 Kwani? LitFest : Ideas, Words, Markets

The Festival was themed: Ideas, Words, and Markets and took place from the 11th to the 28th of December. Split into two modules, the first half of the festival (11th -21st December 2006) took place at the Heron Hotel in Nairobi and the second half in Lamu. The festival kicked off with the Spreading the Words Conference, a workshop attended by editors and writers of like minded magazines from Africa, North America, Europe and the Indian sub-continental. The festival also saw the staging of public readings by African and North American poets and writers from divergent generations at a number of interesting venues across the city, including the University of Nairobi's Taifa Hall, cultural centers and bookshops.

2006. Festival Structure

1.The Spreading the Words Conference: A 2 day workshop catalyzed by Kwani Trust's desire to enhance the informal relationships and linkages that exist between its journal Kwani? and other literary publications such as Transition, Chimurenga, Tin house, Sarai Reader, Outlook India, Farafina, Awaaz, Wajibu, Sable and Bidoun. 24 participants aimed to forge a collective identity, strengthen existing networks and investigate new linkages on the basis of both individual strengths and commonalities of the journals represented.

2.Creative Writing Workshop: The creative writing workshops were held under the aegis of and in collaboration with the Summer Literary Seminars' (SLS) Kenya programme. Taking place at the Heron Hotel in Nairobi, these were conducted by faculty under the invitation of both SLS and Kwani Trust and were held between the 14th and 21st December

3.Book launches and signings: The festival saw the launch into the Kenyan market of several new titles and the holding of book signings by the following local and visiting writers

  • Kizuizini - Joseph Muthee
  • Tropical Fish - Doreen Baingana
  • The In Between World of Vikram Lall - M.G. Vassanji
  • Half of A yellow sun - Chimamanda N. Adichie
  • Purple hibiscus - Chimamanda N. Adichie.

4.Public lectures: There were a series of public readings held at the University of Nairobi's Taifa Hall featuring M.G Vassanji and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

5. Film screenings: These events were designed as a meeting point for writers and film makers. One of the films presented was a work in progress, titled Juju Factory, by Balufu Kanyinda, and provided a glimpse into the life of Congolese community in Brussels. The other screening was of The in between world of M.G Vassanji, a documentary This is a documentary movie that traces the life of the Kenyan born, (Tanzanian bred and Canadian citizen) writer MG Vassanji.

6.Opening and closing events: The festival's opening and closing ceremonies were received by full house audiences on both instances with faculty, the student body and the general public in attendance. . Both events were held at Club Afrique a stone throw away from the Kenya national Museum. The events featured performances by a visiting performance poet and literary festival faculty member Arthur Flowers. There were also performances by local musicians and poets and the showcasing of the works of a Kenyan artiste of international renown, Richard Onyango, part of whose work is featured in the first edition of the journal Kwani?, and whose work the Trust has subsequently published as part of the Kwanini? Series ( ' The Life & times of Richard Onyango')

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