Muthoni Garland, the founder of Storymoja and twice short-listed Caine Prize author, is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover and as such started the Storymoja Festivals which have been held for the last seven years.
One of its main objective is to nurture and grow African reading and writing as well as promote a sustainable reading culture. This year, the festival makes its first regional stopover in Nakuru at the Kenya National Library Services on the May 28 – 30.
After many years of holding festivals in Nairobi, why pick Nakuru as the first regional stop?
In line with our growth and expansion plan, our rollout for regional festivals was scheduled for 2015. Last year, we received overwhelming interest from Nakuru County and its environs with 12 institutions attending the annual international festival in Nairobi.
Storymoja Festivals always feels like they are geared towards school children. Is the Nakuru event going to be the same?
The schools programme has continued to grow over the years with the first two (out of three) days dedicated to student groups.
What are your plans to get more adults to participate?
Part of the programme in both Nairobi and Nakuru involves Creative Masterclasses. The sessions are designed to provide insights and inspiration for educators, parents, mentors, writers, visual and performing artists against the backdrop of books and literature. We invite authors, professionals and other creatives to lead these sessions.
What can people expect at the Nakuru festival?
Joseph Bokea - he was 11 when he wrote his first book - fantasy novel called Magic. Joanne Ball-Burgess - she is a dancer, singer and author and an expert at fusing the arts and writing into curricula to assist all types of student learners. Kenyan musician Makadem - his songs speaks of the fluid nature of modern African culture. Swahili writers Ken Walibora and Wallah Bin Wallah will have Swahili literature workshops for both students and teachers.
What is the overall goal of the Nakuru festival?
Our vision is to become the greatest international gathering of voices celebrating African stories, creativity and critical thinking. Nakuru is vibrant as a base for the creative arts and local culture. By aligning the Festival with Nakuru, we see great possibilities to grow together.