Welcome to NBO Litfest

Celebrating Stories and Ideas from Nairobi and Beyond!

We are proud to present a literary festival like no other, firmly rooted in Nairobi’s vibrant public libraries. Our festival celebrates art, culture, and the boundless potential of knowledge, all flourishing within these invaluable spaces. 

Our inaugural edition took place in 2021, and the theme “Writing African Cities” marked a momentous occasion: the 90th anniversary of Nairobi’s oldest library, the iconic McMillan Memorial Library. We explored the city’s rich tapestry of narratives and ideas, spanning 90 years of the library’s legacy and a century of Nairobi’s existence. 

Throughout this edition, we delved into the fascinating realm of reimagining spaces with contested colonial and other histories, exemplified by the McMillan Memorial Library. We engaged collective imagination to uncover new perspectives and insights while honouring the library’s storied past.

NBO Litfest is not just a festival; it’s a dynamic platform that unites writers, artists, and thinkers from the region and beyond with the community. Together, we amplify voices, inspire creativity, and ignite discussions that challenge conventions and inspire change.

Join us at the 2023 edition as we continue to unravel the untold stories and ideas that shape Nairobi and its surroundings. 

Theme: Mtaa Narratives

The NBO Litfest 2023 edition theme, Mtaa Narratives, is a call to explore cultural memory and the stories that ground us. Mtaa being kitongoji, neighbourhood, baze, hood, home; how do we negotiate distance from and proximity to our roots? What do we foreground? Are there inflexible ideas about a place?

This edition starts to find its answers by curating a programme across all three of Book Bunk’s project libraries. Each is a colonial building re-engineered to serve their immediate communities as the primary audiences.

A celebration of Mtaa Narratives recognises the importance of place in its complex plurality. It is a critical reading devoid of caricature and misconception to seek expanded renderings of the spaces we love.

Festival Unique Features

Why should you be excited about this year's edition?

Festival Custodian

NBO Litfest is one of Book Bunk’s flagship programmes, leveraging our extensive networks and ongoing efforts in revitalising public libraries and preserving heritage assets. At Book Bunk, our mission is to transform Nairobi’s iconic public libraries into vibrant Palaces for the People, serving as inclusive and accessible cultural, art, and knowledge hubs. To achieve an impactful literary festival, our dedicated team collaborates with talented consultants who play a crucial role in bringing the festival to life.

Festival Curator

Wanjeri Gakuru

Wanjeri Gakuru is a journalist, essayist, curator, and filmmaker. She is the former Managing Editor of the Pan-African writers collective, Jalada Africa. A cross-section of her writing has appeared in Transition Magazine, The Elephant, CNN, The Sunday Times, Nataal, LA Times Magazine, and The Africa Report. Wanjeri has worked as a curator on various literary, film, and art projects, including Love Letters to Cinema (2022) and Mengi Mengi Film Club (2022) in partnership with Book Bunk and hosted at the Eastlands Library. Wanjeri co-wrote the award-winning feature film Supa Modo (2018) and Kenya’s first Netflix TV series, Country Queen.


Festival Manager

Justine Mbugua

Justine, an event production expert with over a decade of experience, is known for resourceful problem-solving and crafting unforgettable experiences. As Head of Festivals at Goodtimes Entertainment Ltd, she has spearheaded iconic events like “Blankets & Wine” and “Africa Nouveau Festival,” extending her creative leadership to events in Kampala and Kigali. She leads the Events Training Program at Perform Music Incubator, inspiring future event producers. Her impressive portfolio includes successful productions like “Tusker Oktobafest (2019),” “Solfest (2021),” “Shoke Shoke Festival (2023),” and “Africa Dance Party (2014).” Her exceptional skills and creative prowess turn visions into reality, creating everlasting memories.


Festival Production Designer

David Oywa

David Oywa is a highly skilled Production Designer based in Kenya, specialising in Television, Film, and Live Events. With over a decade of experience in the field, he boasts an impressive portfolio of six TV production design credits, including Sue and Johnie (MultiChoice, Maisha Magic East) and MaEmpress (MultiChoice, Maisha Magic East). His talents extend to Production Design and Art Direction for diverse live shows such as an Opera, Nyanga The Runaway Grandmother, for Baraka Opera Trust. David is a multifaceted artist interested in architecture, art, DIY projects, and long walks. He explores various artistic mediums, excels in sketching and modelling, and has a keen eye for finding the extraordinary in everyday life.

Festival Graphics Designer

Mwadzame Omar

Mwadzame Omar is an interdisciplinary artist and a self-taught graphic designer based in Nairobi, Kenya. His passion for graphic design ignited at a young age, inspired by old Kenyan ads. Mwadzame’s work revolves around thought-provoking themes such as nostalgia, culture, and politics, which he skillfully portrays through vintage photos and vibrant colours. He has had his first solo exhibition at Nairobi Street Kitchen, a premier food market in the heart of Nairobi. In 2020, he co-launched Sip Simmer, a paint-and-sip event with a focus on educating audiences about gin tasting. He also played a key role in establishing The Gin Trump, a handcrafted Gin kit empowering enthusiasts to create flavorful Gin at home.


Festival Photographer

Al-Amin Mutunga

Al-Amin Mutunga, also known as Wakitanga, draws inspiration from life’s intricate interplay between individuals and their surroundings. His journey as a self-taught photographer is a testament to his passion for capturing people and spaces in awe-inspiring light. After completing his undergraduate studies in Business and Information Technology in 2017, he founded Classic Media; a multifaceted company including a dedicated wing specialising in visual media and production: Wakitanga Visuals. He has worked with clients including PAWA254, ForumCiv, and Kenya Human Rights Defenders among others.

Festival Videographer

Leon Malu

Leon Malu is a Director/Editor from Nairobi, Kenya. A background in animation and motion graphics sparked his interest in creating enchanting visuals. He’s gone on to direct and edit several short films, including UNSTOPPABLE, Crossroads, Okun & Barzee, which was a selection at the Manyatta Short Film Festival 2021. He’s also written, directed and edited several DVCs and Corporate films for Kenyan and international brands. Leon Malu aims to create authentic African stories, with striking aesthetics. He is influenced by storytellers with compelling visions such as Denis Villeneuve, Alex Garland, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott and Hideo Kojima. Some of his favourite films include Arrival, Shutter Island, Annihilation, & Interstellar.