- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
Storymoja, a venture formed by five writers, focused on publishing world-class contemporary East African writing, will this year return to Nairobi, Kenya to commemorate its 10th anniversary for its annual book festival on 27th of September to 1st of October 2017 .
The event was last year hosted in Accra, Ghana however this year it officially turn 10 years old from the first time it appeared as a Nyama Choma (Grilled Meat) Reading Fiesta in Kenya.
“Storymoja Festival prides itself as ‘the biggest book party’ in East Africa, and as a celebration of books, stories and culture. This year we look to reproduce the feeling of a grand book party, and a celebration of our stories and culture and literature, on a grander, even more ambitious scale,” said Anne Eboso, Storymoja Festival Producer.
“We hope to become the biggest, most stimulating gathering of local & international writers, artists and audiences exploring, showcasing, generating and celebrating the African narrative in many creative and cultural forms. The 2017 program will have a full offering of book discussions, public lectures, master classes & workshops, art & theatre shows, concerts, teen talent, competitions, jobs & careers, schools, children’s, and family programs throughout a five-day program.”
To commemorate the occasion the theme of this year's Storymoja Festival is Black Peace, in remembrance of the ten years that have passed since one of Kenya's dark moments - the 2007/08 Post Election Violence.
In celebration of Black Peace, it will acknowledge ethnic, political and other forms of conflict that exist in the country in a bid to develop a discussion, a celebration of our different culture, creativity and critical thinking.
“It will be interesting to see how this theme will play out in conversations on writing, art, theatre, film, fashion, policy, business & entrepreneurship, tourism, human rights, leadership, environment, disability, technology, women and youth empowerment, health, gender, identity and so on throughout the festival,” said Anne.
In the past, Storymoja has been involved in the publishing of children’s books in a bid to inspire a reading culture in Kenyan kids and was also involved in a start-a-Library campaign with the purpose to get Kenyans to buy local storybooks for libraries in public primary schools and informal schools.
It also unofficially holds the record for the most people reading aloud, which it broke at its event held on June 15, 2015. The Read Aloud session assembled 229,043 children from 1,097 schools across 44 counties to read from one text breaking the World Record for most people reading aloud from the same text at the same time but from different venues.