Preview of Storymoja Hay Festival

Storymoja’s 4th Annual Hay Festival Invites you to ‘Imagine the World’ By margaretta wa Gacheru, September 7, 2012 The 4th annual Storymoja Hay Festival merits your setting aside four days this month (September 13th-16th) to attend a life-transforming literary event that not only features writers from around the world. There’s also hiphop, hilarity with comedians like Eric Omondi and Tony Mochama, heart-wrenching films like A Small Act by Chris Mburu and Yes Man!by Bret Syfert, and a wide range of workshops on everything from creative writing and poetry to book publishing and money making! This year’s Storymoja Hay Festival, whose theme is Imagine the World,will be centred at the Nairobi National Museum where events will be held everywhere from the Louis Leakey Auditorium, Ford Hall and‘Storymoja’ Amphitheatre to the Sculpture Garden, Discovery Room, Science and Craft Tents and ‘British Council’ Courtyard. The biggest challenge the Festival will pose is figuring out how to attend all the amazing events taking place simultaneously. For instance, writers’ workshops and master classes will be conducted by a range of African poets and novelists, including Ethiopian-Americans DinawMengestu and LemnSissay, Nigerians like Lola Shoneyin, Precious Williams and JekwuAnyaegbuno, Noviolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), LauriKubuitsile(Botswana) and Beverley Namboza (Uganda). A number of Kenyan poets, novelists and journalists will also be speaking, including John Sibi-Okumu andSitawaNamwalie, Billy Kahora and Claudette Oduor, RasnaWarah, OryOkolloh, Sunny Bindra, Paula Kahumbu, MuthoniMuchemi, and Joel Macharia. The Festival’s official launch will be a dazzling ‘Party with the Stars’ on Thursday night. Then on Friday evening, the Kenya Boys Choir will perform.Saturday night will feature Sitawa’s dramatized poetry, Cut Off my Tongue as well as a Storymoja ‘Stir-Up’ including storytelling, an open mic, Afro Hiphop and story-poetry by Anne Moraa and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. On Sunday afternoon, the Kenyan musical Shungwayo will be staged by The Theatre Company The Festival will also be a variety of writers and artists from outside Africa, including Swedish-born Dutch illustratorMaritTornqvist, Scottish novelist Michael Logan, DutchmanAernoutZevenbergen, British-Indian poetImtiazDharker, and Briton Giles Foden, author of The LastKing of Scotland, the film version of which will be screened Saturday 5pm. One of the major highpoints of the Festival will be the Inaugural WangariMaathai Lecture to be given on Saturday at 3pm by the Chinese writer-historian Jung Chang. Another major moment will be on Sunday at 3pm when a host of award-winning writers will take part in an interactive Q&A session chaired by the Google representative John Kampfner. It’s an event meant to mark the 25th anniversary of the original Hay Festival, which was the cultural event that inspired Storymoja founder ‘mother’ Muthoni Garland to establish Kenya’s own ‘Storymoja Hay Festival’. That afternoon will pose tough choices for Festival attendants who follow Kenya politics since the author of Peeling Back the Mask, MigunaMiguna will also be speaking from 3pm in the Louis Leakey auditorium. Finally, the final ‘73rd’ event of the Festival is entitled ‘Minority within a Minorities’and it will feature members of the transgender community of Kenya.

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