August 12, 2010 – The second edition of the Storymoja Hay Festival comes to Nairobi in October this year.
The festival is a celebration of literature, whose main aim is to encourage Africans, and in this case young Kenyans to develop a culture of reading.
It also looks at promoting creativity through prose that celebrates Africa and challenges typical ‘retrogressive’ mindsets.
A prelude to this year’s fest, which is a collaboration between Storymoja Publishers (Kenya) and Hay Festival (UK), took place last weekend at the British High Commissioner’s residence, where guests were treated to poetry performances and storytelling.
Most notable was Muthoni Muchemi, founder of Storymoja, who told the story of a girl from the coast ‘sent’ to Nairobi after being impregnated by a religious man during the colonial era.
She was housed by another religious man, this time Asian, and after a demeaning time there plus a miscarriage, she managed to get a scholarship to study in the UK. The story portrays her as a victim of constant sexual abuse, but the tone changes when she returns from the UK as a widow of the man who housed her. He was a married reverend…
This year, a lot of good shows are promised. There is the internationally acclaimed poet, Shailja Patel; writing, theatre and poetry workshops plus the Storymoja Master Storyteller competition.
The festival runs from October 1-3 at the Railway Grounds. Entrance is Sh500 per day but you can get season tickets for all three days at Sh1,000.