Book Bunk and Hay Festival are co-hosting this year’s edition of NBO Litfest, taking place from June 27 – 30 June 2024 at three public libraries in Nairobi: Kaloleni Library, Eastlands Library, and McMillan Memorial Library.

This year marks a special iteration of the festival, as Book Bunk partners with Hay Festival Global to bring an unparalleled celebration of literature and free expression to the heart of Nairobi.

The festival timings for all days will be from 10 – 8 PM. 

For more information on the 2024 NBO Litfest, visit NBO Litfest

Ahead of the festival, Angela Wachuka, co-founder of Book Bunk said they were honoured to showcase Nairobi for the world.

“The establishment of Book Bunk was borne out of our search for public libraries in which to host literary events and 6 years later, we are thrilled to stage these events in these very spaces that are now vibrant centres of creative expression in Nairobi.”

Wanjiru Koinange, co-founder of Book Bunk added, “We’re honoured to be able to continue to invite the world to experience our city, its storytelling and its libraries.” 

Rooted in Nairobi’s vibrant public libraries, NBO Litfest is not just a literary festival; it’s a dynamic platform that unites writers, artists, and thinkers from the region and beyond with the community. 

This year’s festival promises to amplify voices, inspire creativity, and ignite discussions that challenge conventions and inspire change, fostering a rich environment for cultural exchange and intellectual engagement.

The festival has an exciting programme that begins on Friday 28 June with a day of masterclasses featuring writers, journalists and public speakers at the height of their craft, including Bernardine Evaristo, Shafinaaz Hassim, Mercy Juma, Beverly Ochieng and June Gachui. 

Events for children and young people across the festival days include an African Story Box Time with Orpah Agunda; director Tevin Kimathi and kid actor Kael Wafubwa showing their new film ‘Stero’; live and interactive readings with Taiye Selasi, Amani Muthoni and Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni and story writing masterclass with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni plus live music. 

Saturday and Sunday (29 – 30 June) will present the main festival days at Eastlands Library. 

Some of the world’s biggest questions will be tackled in panels hosted by:

  • Author Amitav Ghosh and activist Elizabeth Wathuti on the climate crisis; 
  • Human rights activist Joumana Haddad and Brazilian writer Djamila Ribeiro will take on feminist fury.
  • Award-winning journalists Jon Lee Anderson and Sevgil Musaeva will explore the perils of speaking out.
  • Technology rights defender Alex Gakuru will join artists working in the digital realm Chidi Nwaubani and Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya for a discussion on AI.
  • Questions around identity will come to the fore as writers Aminatta Forna OBE, Taiye Selasi and Ndinda Kioko talk to Mercy Juma about the Africans in the diasporas.
  • Author Lola Shoneyin will talk to historian David Olusoga about the impact of his work in rethinking black history.
  • Editor Nguru Karugu will talk about breaking taboos with photographer Sarah Waiswa and poet Ngartia.
  • Writers and activists Zakaria Ibrahimi and Cyrine Ghannouchi will talk to Nesrine Malik about decolonising perspectives on social media.
  • Djamila Ribeiro and Brenda Wambui will explore Black Feminism.
  • Offering insights into their craft, writing pair Ibrahima Balde and Amets Arzallus will join visual artist Kamwathi Peterson Waweru to explore how art helps us tell the hardest stories. 
  • Content creators and digital storytellers – Justine Wanda, Swiry Nyar Kano and Astar talk will talk to publicist Anyiko Owoko about their approach and craft.
  • Poet Nombeko Nontshokweni, Kiswahili author Edwin Omindo and lawyer Deborah Tendo will share insider publishing tips.
  • Author Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni who helped her mother, Nombeko Nontshokweni fulfil her lifelong dream of publishing a treasured 40-year-old manuscript in South African documentary ‘uNobuntu’ will also be present.
  • Booker Prize-winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo will discussing crafting spaces for underrepresented voices.

 View the festival programme and participants for more information.

Book Bunk and Hay Festival Partnership will widen the scope and impact of NBO Litfest. 

The collaboration adds more pan-African and international participants in dialogue with East African writers, creators and thought leaders about global issues. 

This presents an opportunity for NBO LitFest to grow while continuing to highlight the importance of public libraries as safe spaces for discussion and critical thinking.