Programme Click on individual date to get the details. All events previously advertised at the University of Nairobi will now take place at the National Museum


Day 1: Sunday 9th December 2012

Venue: Kifaru Gardens
Time: 2.00pm - midnight
Free Entry

Kwani Trust Chairman, Mr. Tom Maliti, invites guests to the festival opening of the 2012 Kwani? Litfest, featuring an opening speech on The Horn and its relationship with East Africa by IGAD Executive Secretary Eng. Mahboub Maalim

Time: 3pm - 4.30pm
Poetry by
Hadraawi, Warsan Shire & El Poet. Hadraawi in conversation with Said Jama Hussein

Time: 4.30pm - 5.30pm
Music by
Waayaha Cusub and Kabon band

Time:7.15pm - 8.00pm
Readings by
Binyavanga Wainaina, Helon Habila, Yvonne Owuor & Kojo Laing

Time: 8.00pm - midnight
DJ Set by DJ Zelalem

The festival opening & keynote address is presented in partnership with IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development)

Day 2: Monday 10th December 2012

Venue: Goethe-Institut Nairobi, Monrovia Street
Time: 2.30pm - 8.00pm
Free Entry

Screening of Nairobi Half Life
Time: 2.30pm - 4.00pm
In this fast-paced comedic drama, a young aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of success. Much to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he leaves for Nairobi: the city of opportunity. He quickly understands why it is nicknamed “Nairobbery”, as he is drawn into a new world of violence, even as he tries to keep his acting dream alive. Separating the two worlds proves to be a contest for him as he struggles to survive in this unknown world

Panel Discussion: Art and Literature in Societal Reconstruction
Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Writers & analysts from the Horn discuss the place of art & literature in the reconstruction of society. Ayan Mahamoud, Ahmed Abbas, Said Jama Hussein, Joseph Eluzai, Meaza Worku & Yusuf Hassan (MP, Kamukunji)

Readings: Moving Africa
Time: 5.30pm - 7.00pm
2012 Kwani? Litfest Moving Africa participants from Cameroun, South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Namibia, Rwanda & South Sudan read from their work

The participation of 8 writers, film makers, photographers & artists from across Africa in the 2012 Kwani? Litfest programme is generously supported by Goethe-Institut as part of Moving Africa, the Pan Africa exchange programme:

Day 3: Tuesday 11th December 2012

Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium, National Museum
Time: 2.00pm - 7.00pm
Free Entry

Panel Discussion: Narratives of The Horn – The Place of the Story
Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Chehem Watta, Meaza Worku & Jama Musse Jama in conversation

This panel discussion is presented in partnership with Oxfam ( and the University of Nairobi (

Public Lecture: On Eritrean Writing – An Overview
Time: 4.30pm – 5.30pm
Alemseged Tesfai presents a history of writing in Eritrea and speaks with Dr. Kimani Njogu about his work in this context

This panel discussion is presented in partnership with and with generous support from CEWARN (

Performance by Warsan Shire
Time: 4.00pm - 4.30pm

Keynote Lecture: On the contemporary Novel in Africa
Time: 6.00pm - 7.00pm
Helon Habila shares his thoughts on the contemporary African novel, its emergence from older traditions and its future

Book Swap : Habesha Restaurant, Argwings Kodhek Road
Time: 7.00pm - 11.00pm
Free Entry
An evening of book swaps & poetry performances by poets from Ethiopia, Kenya & Somalia. Mingle with Kwani? Litfest guests & enjoy the best of Ethiopian & Eritrean cuisine while exchanging books with litfest guests and readers.  Book donations for Akili Dada, a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds. Kindly bring any books you can spare!

Bookings: Eat Out Kenya 0711 222 222 or click here

Day 4: Wednesday 12th December 2012

Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium, National Museum
Time: 2.30pm- 8.00pm
Free Entry

Please note that this discussion has been cancelled by John Githongo. We apologize for any inconvenience caused
Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Panel Discussion: Narratives of Peace & Conflict – The Place of the Arts, Culture & Literature
Time: 4.30pm - 6.00pm
Writers Alemseged Tesfai, Said Jama Hussein and political & cultural analysts talk with CEWARN’s Director Dr. Martin Kimani about narratives of peace & conflict in the Horn region. What are the main narratives that drive peace and conflict in the region? How can cultural & literary contexts understand and impact on these issues?

This panel discussion is presented in partnership with CEWARN (, and with generous support from CEWARN ( & Oxfam (

In Conversation: Kojo Laing with Billy Kahora
Time: 7.00pm - 8.00pm
Kojo Laing speaks with Billy Kahora on craft and technique in his work

Day 5: Thursday 13th December 2012

Venues: Louis Leakey Auditorium, National Museum
Time: 2.30pm – 7.30pm
Free Entry

Nawal El Saadawi Keynote Lecture – Writing & Politics
Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium, National Museum
Time: 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Nawal-El Saadawi on the role of the writer in the politics of the Nation 

The Nawal El Saadawi press conference & public lecture is presented through the generous support of Oxfam (

Reporting The Horn
Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium, Nairobi Museum
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Region-based correspondents & journalists from the horn discuss reportage of the region. Moderated by Tom Maliti in discussion with Rasna Warah, Guled Mohamed & Lillian Odera

This panel discussion is presented through the generous support of Oxfam (

Diaspora Horn Panel
Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium, National Museum
Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Sayadiin Hersi, Awes Osman, Warsan Shire & Jamal Mahjoub discuss living in and writing their homeland from the Diaspora

Day 6: Friday 14th December 2012

Venues: Hotel Intercontinental,Louis Leakey Auditorium (National Museum) & Kuona Trust
Free Entry

Nawal El Saadawi Press Conference, Hotel Intercontinental
9.00am -11.00am
Nawal El Saadawi briefs the media on her work, her visit to Kenya and contemporary politics in Egypt & North Africa

Preview of the Kwani? Mobile App
Time: 12.00pm - 1.00pm
Join Kwani Trust in previewing content for our new mobile app, and learn about features in use during Litfest including uploading of content from festival venues

This event is powered by Zuku

In Conversation & Reading : Nawal El Saadawi
Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium (National Museum)
Time: 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Nawal El Saadawi discusses craft, style and voice in her writing with Kenyan Writer, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The Nawal El Saadawi conversation & reading is presented through the generous support of Oxfam (

Performance & In Conversation
Venue: Louis Leakey Auditorium (National Museum)
Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Mumbi Kaigwa & Ogutu Muraya star in Meaza Worku’s Desperate To Fight, a witty and paradoxical story about relationships, love, and marriage from the heart of the gender struggles in contemporary Addis Ababa. Marta, thrice-divorced, is tormented by the sounds of a newly and seemingly happily-wedded couple living next door, and wrestles with her past and the memories of her former husbands. Desperate to Fight was developed, in part, at the 2011 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab on Manda Island in Lamu, Kenya

Art Exhibition, Artists Panel & Cocktail Party
Venue: Kuona Trust, Likoni Close , off Dennis Pritt Road
Time: 7.00pm - 11.00pm
Free Entry
A collaborative exhibition between Kuona Trust and Kwani Trust of art work by artists from The Horn of Africa from Tuesday 11th – Sunday 16th December. Join us for the cocktail party launch of the exhibition with music, food & conversations.

Music by Electrique Afrique


This art exhibition is presented in partnership with Kuona Trust (

Day 7: Saturday 15th December 2012

Venues: Louis Leakey Auditorium (National Museum) & KICC Helipad
Free Entry (National Museum)
Ksh 1,000 (KICC Helipad)

In Conversation: A selection of Kenyan Writers on the Contemporary Novel
Venue: Amphitheatre (National Museum)
Time: 10.30am - 12.00pm
Kenyan novelists discuss their work

In Conversation: Helon Habila
Venue: Amphitheatre (National Museum)
Time: 12.15pm - 1.15pm
Helon Habila in conversation with Binyavanga Wainaina about his work

Lecture & In Conversation: Jamal Mahjoub
Venue: Amphitheatre (National Museum)
Time: 1.30pm - 3.00pm
Jamal Mahjoub, chief Judge of the Kwani? Manuscript Prize, speaks the judging process for the prize, editing Literary Sudans, an anthology of writing from Sudan & South Sudan, and the contemporary novel

Kwani? 07 Launch
Venue: KICC Helipad
Time: 7.00pm
Entry : Ksh 1,000 for entry ticket and a copy of Kwani? 07
Kwani? 07, the Majuu issue, chronicles travel outside our borders physically, mentally & spiritually. Join us for the take-off at the KICC helipad on a diaspora journey historically and geographically through fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography, illustrations and info-graphics. Featuring a perfomance from Warsan Shire plus readings by visiting writers and others from Kwani? 07, and DJ sets by DJ Andre (Capital FM) & Ntone Edjabe (Pan African Space Station)

Funding Partners

Programme Partners