Main Festival

Sunday 30th June 2024

Children's Corner (Open All Day)

Welcome to an exciting brand new addition to this year’s edition of the festival; The Children's Corner! Our vibrant, engaging space is designed to inspire the little ones to explore the joy of reading. We have a variety of diverse activities on offer including storytelling sessions, interactive workshops, board games, book nooks and more. The Children's Corner is a place where every child can embark on a literary adventure, discover new worlds and let their creativity soar. Join us for a day full of fun, learning, and unforgettable memories!


(Free to access, registration required)

On identity

Presented by BBC Africa

To exist in fear or wracked with guilt diminishes our ability to fully engage with others. While these feelings can be self-propagated, external factors such as hostility, closed mindedness and non-acceptance serve as barriers. How we self-identify shouldn’t limit our ability to safely move through the world. Hear from Ngartia Bryan, Nguru Karugu and Sarah Waiswa, artists whose work bravely expands all the ways we can see ourselves by breaking silences and taboos through poetry, publishing and photography.

Featured Writers : Nguru Karugu, Sarah Waiswa and Ngartia Bryan
Moderator: Beverly Ochieng

Digital storytelling

Supported by Book Aid International

Netizens have come to expect diverse, creative and educational content on a daily basis. Kenyan content creators have not failed them. Merging culture and technology, these creatives have distinguished themselves through engaging digital content and amassed thousands of dedicated followers.
This panel spotlights creative voices working online today. Justine Wanda is a comedian creating pithy, civic education work via her “Fake Woke” series on X and Instagram; Swiry Nyar Kano is the port of call for all things history and Afro-spirituality on TikTok while Astar Njau, hosts “Cleaning The Airwaves (CTA)”, a YouTube channel that features interviews that educate, inspire and entertain.

Featured Writers : Justine Wanda, Swiry Nyar Kano and Astar Njau
Moderator: Anyiko Owoko

AI: friend or foe?

The Information Age advances rapidly, with innovations emerging within years rather than centuries. Early AI software debuted in the 1950s, bringing the concept of human-like programme intelligence within our lifetime. Mainstream AI art and text generators, while praised as a necessary advancement by some, face criticism for plagiarism and lack of authenticity. Are there overlooked benefits or issues in this progress? Technology rights defender Alex Gakuru, Chidi Nwaubani, founder of 'LOOTY,' a platform for immersive artifact experiences and Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya, an Animation Director, offer insights.

Featured Writers : Chidi Nwaubani, Alex Gakuru and Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya
Moderator: Andrés Schipani

South To South Conversations. Africa39: Reflections on a decade

Supported by Open Society Foundations

In 2014, the Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project unveiled 39 promising African writers under 40, handpicked from 200 submissions researched by the late Binyavanga Wainaina. How did these authors fare? Congolese author Richard Ali A Mutu, Ivorian writer and translator Edwige-Renee Dro, South African author and public sociologist Shafinaaz Hassim, and Kenyan writer Stanley Gazemba share reflections on the impact of the spotlight on their writing careers.

Featured Writers :Edwige-Renee Dro, Richard Ali A Mutu, Shafinaaz Hassim, Stanley Gazemba.
Moderator: Cristina Fuentes La Roche

Film Screening & QxA: uNobuntu

Presented in collaboration with Book Bunk’s The Missing Bits Project, supported by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, administered in partnership with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

What do mothers do when they experience abrupt loss? “uNOBUNTU”, is a short documentary that serves as a portrait of the quintessential, post-millennial South African family; a devoted daughter helps her mother fulfil her life-long dream of publishing a treasured 40-year-old manuscript. Watch a free screening of uNobuntu followed by a Q&A with the mother-daughter duo, Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni and Nombeko Nontshokweni.

Featured Writers: Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni and Nombeko Nontshokweni
Moderator: June Gachui

Decolonising perspectives on social change

Supported by The Fund for Global Human Rights

Nearly 15 years post the 'Arab Spring', social movements in the region face rapid economic crises and widening financial disparities. Over the past 5 years, the Fund for Global Human Rights backed researchers developing decolonising perspectives on change. This session highlights Zakaria Ibrahimi's exploration of Morocco's digital realm as both a site of repression and liberation and Cyrine Ghannouchi's study on Tunisia's civil society amidst recent political and public health crises. They will discuss decolonisation with Sudanese-born journalist and author Nesrine Malik.

Featured Writers :Zakaria Ibrahimi, Cyrine Ghannouchi
Moderator: Nesrine Malik

Live Recording: A Palace for The People (Podcast)

Supported by Open Society Foundations

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo OBE FRSL FRSA is the featured guest on “A Palace for The People”, a podcast unearthing pieces of Nairobi’s history that support and feed the restoration process of the McMillan Memorial Library and its branches in Makadara and Kaloleni. This recording session shall be hosted by the Founders of Book Bunk; Angela Wachuka and Wanjiru Koinange before a live festival audience. The trio will explore how the restoration of libraries plays a crucial role in challenging and reshaping the hegemonies of the past, with Evaristo offering her unique perspective on how reviving and revitalising community spaces can foster inclusivity, diversify historical narratives, and empower communities

Featured Writers: Bernardine Evaristo
In conversation with: Wanjiru Koinange & Angela Wachuka

Live DJ

Closing the festival with a massive dance party!

Perils of doing the right thing

Two accomplished journalists with distinguished careers delve into the challenges and realities of their profession. Sevgil Musaieva, Chief Editor of Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda and named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2022, converses with Jon Lee Anderson, an American journalist, investigative reporter, and war correspondent currently serving as a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Featured Writers: John Lee Anderson and Sevgil Musaeva.

Black feminism

Supported by Open Society Foundation

Brazilian feminist thinker, writer and activist, Djamila Ribeiro and Brenda Wambui, a Kenyan feminist, experience curator and policy actor working at the intersections of technology, digital media, governance and human rights, find common grounds between African and black feminisms.

Featured Writers : Djamila Ribeiro and Brenda Wambui