Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm | Sat 9am - 3pm
Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm | Sat 9am - 3pm

Macondo Literary Festival 2023

About the Festival

The Macondo Literary Festival celebrates African histories and futures featured in fictional and non-fictional works, bringing together, for the first time on the continent, Brazilian, Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone African writers in conversation across and beyond the limits of language. It is organized by the Macondo Book Society.

Program (Kenya National Theatre)

Various Workshop Venues
Starting at 10 am

(Prior registration only)

1) Drawing our stories — with Chief Nyamweya
2) Character Interiority — with Makena Onjerika
3) Exploring your niche through poetry and storytelling — with Slim Shaka


4.30 pm

Opening ceremony featuring:
• Two opening roundtables with our guest artists
• Short readings from the works of our guest authors by The Orature Collective with Mshai Mwangola, Aleya Kassam


10am – 11am

Rhyme and Space

A silent, immersive spoken word poetry experience that celebrates our history, the power of language and the beauty of silence, Poets will perform wilh digital images and augmented reality. A multi-sensory performance that transports you to another dimension.
A performance by Creative Spills

12 noon – 1pm

Visual Novels: African World- Crafting & Imagined Histories

Macondo foregrounds the rich world of the African graphic novel as a powerful and significant literary form. A generation that inhabits technology-enabled futures has been creating fascinating story worlds that
colourfully challenge assumptions of what form the African story takes and what place it ‘occupies in real and imagined worlds. What do history and home mean to them?
With Mutendei Nabutete, Salim Busuru and Gado
Host: Grace Kerongo

2pm – 3pm

Writing generations, writing countries, writing home*

Their novels speak families vividly, the individuals and the collective, over generations. As historical novels, that means they also speak countries. Engage with novelists Leila Aboulela, Hemley Boum and Jennifer Makumbi on their extraordinary writing of our histories, and how significant their work is for our futures.
Host: Oduor Obura

4pm – 5.30pm

Let’s talk Africa*

For the first time, writers of all of Africa’s language writing zones are gathered at the festival. How do they transcend the language ‘worlds with their stories? What do we as an imagined continental whole have in common?
What can it mean to be African today?
with Aminatta Forna, Youssef Fadel, Djamila Ribeiro, Yvonne Owuor
Host: Mshai Mwangola

6 pm – 7.30 pm

Film Screening: The Battle of the Sacred Tree (1994)

A film by Wanjiru Kinyanji (1:20) Traditional beliefs come into conflict with missionary zeal in a Kikuyu village where life revolves around a sacred tree that exerts a strange povéer over everyone around it. This delightful Kenyan comedy tells the story of a free-spirited, strong-willed woman who defies social convention.

Ukumbi Mdogo

10.30 am – 11.30 am

Meet the author: Hemley Boum (Cameroon)

An accomplished novelist, poet and essayist, winner of the Grand Prix Literaie d/Afrique Noir, Hemley is finally introduced to an English-reading audience vith Days Come and Go, her first novel to be translated into
English. What else have we been missing?
Host: Beverly Ochieng

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Meet the author: Youssef Fadel (Morocco)

“To be a write, you have to be against the state” Does this statement resonate with you? Credited to be one of the most important writers of Morocco, a funny one on top of it, and one who comes up with the most beautiful tiles for his novels, welcome Youssef Fadel on his ist visit to Kenya and spend time with him discovering his world.
Host: Oduor Obura

2.30 pm -3.30 pm

Africa Book Launch: Kalaf Epalanga (Angola/ Portugal)

He tied to buy Lisbon for half price. He makes music, wins awards with his band, but says that he’s neither a singer nor a musician. Who is Kalaf Epalanga? Wh roles do crioulo, kizomba, kuduro and cachupa play in the life of a man who, of course, is a writer at heart? Celebrate with him the publication of
is first novel o be translated into English, “Whites can dance, too”
Host: Aleya Kassam

4.30 pm – 5.30 pm

Meet the author: Kossi Komla-Ebri (Togo/Italy)

“Our identities are never static, but dynamic. They are formed and transformed continuously, in the encounter and
relationship with the other” This is what motivates this Togolese-Halian author, who once was a surgeon, and once founded the Network of the Black African Diaspora in Italy. Discover the diversity, the humor and the humanity of his writing

Host: Aleya Kassam

*Available as livestream on our YouTube channel


10 am – 11 am

Kenya Writes

This session, started in 2022, continues our serial spotlighting on some of the exciting writing coming out of Kenya today. Authors Carey Baraka, Lutivini Majanja and Silas Nyanchwani share their writing journeys and imagine East African writing futures.
Host: Beverly Ochieng

12 noon – 1.30 pm

100 Years of Samosas: An East African Story

In this storytelling performance, Aleya Kassam shares the epic story of one family across the generations, re-making home, one samosa at a time. Because even as home changes, the samosas are always there.
Developed in Story Sosa Season 1
Followed by a conversation with Zahid Rajan about the Asian community in East Africa and their relationship to home(s).

2pm – 3pm

One day I will write about this place*

Few events have a more disrupting impact on a person than migrating to another land.
How does the process of home: creating unfold in a strange’ land? How does the human quest for a story of the world we can inhabit in safe intimacy unfold in a place of initial discomfort? Are you making a home in another language? We discover the migrant experience with three writers who are living it and discuss a glossary of words informed by a shared experience: leaving home.
with Kossi Komla-Ebri, Kalaf Epalanga, Jennifer Makumbi
Host: Natasha Kimani

4pm – 5pm

Aminatta Forna’s Window Seat*

She is one of the most accomplished writers of our time. Her writing has been about memory, displacement and what constitutes us as humans. Lets share the window seat with Aminatta Forna to take a gaze at what kind of home making in our stories is possible.

Host: Mshai Mwangola

6pm – 7pm

Juliani in concert at Macondo!

Ukumbi Mdogo

10.30 am -11.30 am

New Daughters of Africa

200 women writers of African descent are featured in this extraordinary anthology, published three decades after the pioneering Daughters of Africa. A conversation between Beitish-Montserratian novelist Yvvette Edwards and Kenyan Caine Prize winner Makena Onjerika whose short stories appear in the collection.
In collaboration with Stimmen Afrikas
Host: Natasha Kimani

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Imagine, Future, Maps

Here are gifted story-crafters who project cosmologies, re-imagine pasts to engage the present and summon the future: Given the prevailing winds of time transforming what most had come to believe the world to be, engaging these writers’ world-buiding and future-sculpting flair, what unexpected, refreshing, meaningful stories, ideas and questions can they conjure to renew the ‘energies of our Africa nows and tomorrows? How does Africa become the main protagonist in a story of the future?
With Jennifer Makumbi, Masande Ntshanga

Host: Gamette Oluoch-Olunya

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

The home in a story

How do writers create elements of home in a story? Where does the inspiration for it come from? Do they use their own memories of Home in a story, and how do they invent the idea of home for others? Does the story ever become a home to the writer during the creating process? How do story characters make I through the door and find a place on the writer’s page?
With Leila Aboulela, Youssef Fadel, Yuvette Edwards

Host: Ismail Enashe

4.30 pm – 5.30 pm

The Displaced/ Unplaced “Other”

Two thinkers and writers who share a home, their country, with a community that historically dominated or still dominates people of African descent. Against this consciousness, how do they think, write and (dream home? What are commonalities in their experiences of inhabiting South Africa and Brazil? Masande Ntshanga (South Africa) and Djamila Ribeiro (Brazil) in conversation.

Host: Ismail Enashe

The Organizers

The Macondo Book Society, a non-profit organization founded by journalist Anja Bengelstorff and award-winning Kenyan author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, seeks to organize regular literary festivals that promote literature and authors of and from Africa beyond linguistic borders, to initiate and encourage the engagement of a wider public with literature and its creators as a means of societal growth.

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