On Saturday 5 December the Rift Valley Forum and Kwani? Litfest 2015 hosted Nuruddin Farah for the launch of his book Hiding in Plain Sight. Nuruddin, a frequent guest of the Rift Valley Forum, is the winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the Lettre Ulysses Award, and has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times. His body of work includes two trilogies, Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship (1980) and Blood in the Sun (1986). The novel Hiding in Plain Sight is partially set in Nairobi and explores themes of family, freedom and loyalty. ‘The rewards of reading Hiding in Plain Sight lie in Farah’s sensitive exploration of grief and his depiction of a family’s love for one another…Farah is particularly adept at evoking the way in which the sight of a familiar face or place can trigger painful memories and how comfort can come to us from unexpected sources’ says the New York Times Book Review.
This year’s Kwani? Litfest, themed Beyond the Map of English, also hosted a variety of conversations on language and writing, including:
Language and its changing relations to African experience and writing on the continent, a panel discussion featuring Siphiwo Mahala, Patrick Mudekereza, and Yvonne Owuor.
Capturing African Worlds, a public lecture by acclaimed Ghanaian-Nigerian writer Taiye Selasi about her work and the different worlds of language to capture African experiences. Taiye later joined Yvonne Owuor in conversation with Dr. Sheila Ochugboju.
Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature winners Anna Samwel, Mohammed K. Ghassani, Enock Maregesi and Christopher Bundala Budebah in conversation with Mukoma wa Ngugi.
New contemporary narratives—escaping the straitjacket of genre. Where do fiction and non-fiction meet? A conversation with Wu Ming 1 and Mikhail Iossel, moderated by Billy Kahora.