Kwani Trust ‘s 10th Year Anniversary Reflections


Kwani Trust ‘s 10th Year Anniversary Reflections


Kwani Trust celebrates its 10th year Anniversary between 27th – 30th November 2013 by hosting a series of literary, creative and artistic events that reflect on its work and place in the literary history of Kenya, East Africa and the continent.

In this spirit, we host Kenyan Writer, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor whose story WEIGHT OF WHISPERS was published in the first edition of the Kwani? Anthology in 2003, placing Kenyan contemporary literature and Kwani? on the regional and international map. Yvonne will be launching her debut novel, DUST, published by Kwani Trust in East Africa on November 27th 2013, and Knopf in the USA in January 2014.

Highlights  : 
Wednesday 27th November Launch of DUST  

Thursday 28th November
7.30pm: 10th Year Anniversary Benefit Gala, Westhouse (Ticketed at Ksh 5,000)




We also host Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as part of this reflection to give the Kwani? 10th Anniversary Lecture. This will reflect on 50 years of African Literature and the place of contemporary writing during this period.

Thursday 28th November
7.30pm: 10th Year Anniversary Benefit Gala, Westhouse (Ticketed at Ksh 5,000)

Friday 29th November
11.00am : Public Lecture,University of Nairobi
7.30pm: Launch of AMERICANAH, National Museum



Offering a visual art retrospective that reflects on a shared sensibility between photographers, writers and other artists, the US-based Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu will be curating a video art installation to be featured at the closing of the anniversary’s reflections programming on 30th November 2013.

Saturday 30th November
7.30pm:  Video Art Installation & Closing Party 



We award the Winner of the Kwani? Manuscript Prize, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. The Prize was launched in April 2012 and called for the submission of unpublished novel manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the diaspora. She will be awarded 1st prize by Ellah Allfrey, Series Editor of the Kwani? Manuscript Project alongside Liberia's Saah Millimono who won 2nd place, and Kenya's Timothy Kiprop Kimutai who was awarded 3rd prize. 

Thursday 28th November
7.30pm: 10th Year Anniversary Benefit Gala, Westhouse (Ticketed at Ksh 5,000)

A full programme of events will be available online during the week of 3rd November 2013.

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About Kwani Trust : 2003 to Present

Founded by some of Kenya’s most notable contemporary writers including Binyavanga Wainaina and Parselelo Kantai, Kwani Trust is a Kenyan based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing and the growth of the creative industry through the publishing and distribution of contemporary African writing, offering training opportunities, producing literary events and establishing and maintaining global literary networks. Our vision is to create a society that uses its stories to see itself more coherently. Our organisation’s work serves writers and other artists including photographers and curators by leveraging Kwani Trust’s expertise to ensure that writers have the necessary skills, tools and opportunities to achieve and maintain long-term success.

Kwani Trust registered in 2003 ( see a full history here ) after a few writers, artists, filmmakers and journalists had started meeting informally to share their work, discuss the role of contemporary writing and expression in Kenya. Some key questions at the time included:

  • Are Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Meja Mwangi the only writers Kenyan publishers are interested in?
  • Why aren’t new writers being published in Kenya?
  • Why do mainstream publishers remain so uncommitted to new writers and new work? And is this a consequence of a lucrative textbook market?

This conversation grew and continued for months. Within two years, the conversations and its responses through the work of some of the writers was vindicated when the annual Caine Prize for African Writing was launched and awarded to Binyavanga Wainaina in 2002, and thereafter to Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor in 2003. 10 years later, Kwani Trust takes this opportunity to reflect on its internal development as an institution and its place as a literary and artistic organisation within the region and continent. A decade in literature and literary production is a single page in a considerable if not endless history of literary expression and narrative, as old as man himself; or at least as old as man telling stories. But it is that single page that builds up the long history and narrative, and it is that 10-year page that Kwani Trust wants to reflect on during the last 3 days of November 2013.

Beyond reflection, this anniversary programme offers a moment of thanksgiving. Kwani Trust owes a large debt of gratitude to a large number of individuals who have it made its existence possible for the last 10 years. From the writers, artists and literary aficionados at the beginning, to those who carried the dreams of the latter through its early years to the present. To the support industries that make books beyond the individual writers possible, the printers, the reviewers, the bookshops, the academy and others. To regional, continental and international friends and colleagues. To donors, well-wishers, stakeholders. Kwani Trust takes these three days to return thanks to all these individuals and institutions.

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:

Angela Wachuka, Executive Director, Kwani Trust follow @angelawachuka

Kate Haines, Associate Editor, Kwani Trust / follow @katehaines

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