The Nairobi International Book Fair 2023, was hosted at the Sarit Centre Expo Hall from September 27 – October 1, 2023.
The Nairobi International Book Fair organised by the Kenya Publishers Association has brought together publishing professionals, authors, booksellers, print suppliers, media, and readers from Africa and around the world since the first edition in 1996.
In August, the Kenya Publishers Association announced this year’s edition would be hosted at the Sarit Centre Expo Hall, Westlands, Nairobi on the last weekend of September. As expected, those who attended would get to interact with Publishers, school owners, parents, students, book lovers and book industry stakeholders who attend the event every year. The biggest draw from previous iterations of this event was the 50% discount offers for books.
Here are some of the highlights;
The Rights Café
The one unique offering at this year’s fair was the Rights Café organised by the team at eKitabu. This event saw agents from around the world who buy and sell rights for books engaging with local writers and looking to sign their books. The agents included Asare Konadu Yamoah (Ghana), Bieke van Aggelen (Netherlands), Goretti Kyomuhendo (Uganda), Jessica Powers (USA), Molly Slight (UK), Maureen Masamba (Malawi), Mutesi Gasana (Rwanda), Olivia Snaije, Raphaël Thierry (France), Samuel Kolawale (Nigeria), Stefanie Hirsbrunner (Germany), and Valeria Paolini (Italy).
These agents engaged with Kenyan writers like Ciku Kimeria, Stanely Gazemba, Scola Mworia, Lorna Likiza, Silas Nyanchwani, Eric Rugara, Lutivini Majanja, Carey Baraka, and many others. Many of these writers got appointments and hopefully there shall be deals done in the coming days.
As a merchant’s event aimed at selling books to the public, the book fair hasn’t been famous for doing events with the writers who are producing their books. There were three major panels at this event starting with one dubbed “Up & Coming Kenyan Writers” which had Ciku Kimeria, Eric Rugara, and Lexa Lubanga moderated by James Murua. That event included a performance by the Orature Collective.
Another session was “Getting published, being published in Kenya” with Lutivini Majanja, Carey Baraka, and Silas Nyanchwani moderated by Beverly Ochieng’. That event was similar to the one which was done at the Macondo Literary Festival a few weeks before.
The other session was “Moving African Content: Rights Trading Perspectives, Here and Now” which had Ambassador Gabriella Martinic (Ambassador Embassy of the Argentine Republic to Kenya, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nairobi), Kiarie Kamau (Kenya Publishers Association Chairman, East African Educational Publishers CEO), Sharon Weta (KECOBO deputy executive director), and Raphael Thierry (Ægitna Literary Agency) moderated by Samuel Kolawole (University Press Nigeria Managing director).
The fair started as a marketplace for publishers to the sell their wares to the general public and this year it was no different. Those who came from all over the city and further afield to buy or see books and other publishing services. Some of those who featured were Acme Print o Pac, Association of Jehovah Witnesses, Apnet, Africa Proper Education Network, Bookmark Africa, Bible Society of Kenya, Correct Book, Canon Literature Media, Crimson Communication, African Christian Authors by CLC Kenya, East African Educational Publishers, Economic Industries, General Egyptian Book Organisation, Cultural Council of the Embassy of Iran, Zhejiang Sinour Industry, Jesma Publishers & Education Boosters, Kenya Library Services, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), Kenya Private Schools Association, Kenya Literature Bureau, Kitab Cloud, Longhord Publishers, Margdarshan Productions, Modern Technology Computer Centre, Mentor Publishing, Mountain Top Education Publishers, Moran Publishers, Nuria Bookstore, Onexgla Enterprises, One Planet Publishing, Oxford University Press, Publishers Association of Tanzania, Quarterfold Printabilities, Queenex Publishers, Snapplify.com, Spear Sharp, Storymoja, Spotlight Publishers, Suba Books and Periodicals, Trends Research and Advisory Centre, Teknobyte Publishers, Text Book Centre, Writers Guild, and SAP Print Solutions.
Images from this event are courtesy of our good friends at Maisha Yetu. Check out their website by clicking here.