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KWANI LITERARY FESTIVAL 2008

Kenya will host a literary festival that will bring together authors, poets, editors, literary agents and publishers from Africa and around the world. The festival will be held in Nairobi and on the historical island of Lamu.

Following the success of 2006, Kwani Litfest 2008 is set to bring an even brighter cast of literary icons and events to Kenya during the first two weeks of August for a world-class celebration of African stories.

The event will consist of a variety of interactive events and forums, including creative writing workshops, panel discussions, lectures, book signings and readings.

“Kenya has never been more relevant to global development than today,” notes Binyavanga Wainaina, founding editor of Kwani? Magazine and contributor to Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Granta, and other notable publications. “For the best writers on the continent to gather in a setting that embodies Africa’s greatest hopes and deepest fears is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Nigerian Chimamanda Adichie, whose novel Half of a Yellow Sun charmed the world and won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction; Sierra Leone’s Ishmael Beah, whose book A Long Way Gone thrust the plight of child soldiers into western hearts and minds plus many more prize-winning journalists, authors, influential editors and publishers from across the literary spectrum will grace this years event.

From literary safaris a la Hemmingway to sailboat excursions on the Indian Ocean, plus the usual dose of ‘Afropolitan’ workshops, dinners and symposiums in the teeming capital of Nairobi, Kwani Litfest 2008 will harness all of this country’s vivid diversity.

The festival will be held between the Kenyan capital Nairobi and Lamu, an island off the coast of Northern Kenya. Lamu’s historic Stone town (a World Heritage site) is one of the world’s great cultural treasures- and has been a significant centre for the Swahili culture since the 14th Century.

The Swahili culture was born of the trade between Africa and the Middle East, and as a trading port town, Lamu become an important mercantile and cultural crossroad.

The merging of melding of Afro-Arabic cultures created its own language –Swahili- and many traditional literary forms, particularly poetry. While physically Lamu has changed little over the centuries- the Swahili culture has continued to thrive and develop on the island, and this is what the Kwani Litfest will celebrate.

The role of the written word in conflict situations will be examined by writers fresh from the field, their experiences and insights sure to electrify colleagues and participants alike.

This unique festival kicks off August 1 to 15, 2008 and seeks to bring some of the worlds finest writers and scholars to share their experiences and knowledge with upcoming writers, scholars and editors in East Africa.

For more information on Kwani Litfest 2008 visit www.kwani.org or email Kwani Trust
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