By Bernard Mulwa
The Nairobi International book fair is set to kick off on Wednesday, 28 of September running up to Sunday 2 of October at the Sarit Center Expo in Nairobi.
The event, now in its 23 edition, is organized by the Kenya publisher association. This year’s book fair comes as a great relief for Kenyan publishers still recovering from the devastating effects of Covid-19. The pandemic and the attendant restrictions meant that Nairobi International book fair was not held in 2020 and 2021.
“We are excited that we are holding a physical book fair in Nairobi, after being unable to do so the last two years owing to Covid-19 disruption, says Mr. Kiarie Kamau, the chairman of Kenya Publisher Association at a news conference today in Nairobi. Publishers were hard hit by this disruption, sales plummeted and some industry players were forced to close shops, staffs were retrenched. However, most publishers demonstrated resilience and they are slowly and gallantly soldiering on.
Mr. Kamu, who is also the managing director of East Africa educational publishers, noted that the Nairobi International book fair is the regional market place for books, bringing together publishing professionals, authors, booksellers, print suppliers, media and readers from Africa and around the world. “This is the biggest book fair in this part of the Africa, perhaps the only one which comes close is the Cairo International book fair” he said.
The theme of this year’s book fair is ‘Publishing in the new era’ which is a representation of current realities, both locally and internationally.
During President William Ruto inauguration, the President announced that he will form a taskforce to look into ways of improving the competence-based curriculum-CBC. As producers of educational materials, publishers will no doubt form the core group that will determine what changes, if any, will be included in the new system of education.
“Publishers have continued to collaborate with the ministry of education to develop high quality books for the new curriculum, CBC,” explains Mr. Kamau, he added that Kenya Publishers association is already preparing the memorandum to be presented to the taskforce.
The biggest attraction during the book fair will be the unveiling of winners in the various categories of the Jomo Kenyatta and Wahome Mutahi literary prizes, which are co-sponsored by the Madison Insurance group.