Imagine the world

Waza dunia

19–22 September 2013

Due to the tragic events of 21 September 21 2013 at Westgate, events planned for the evening of 21 September and all events planned for 22 September during the Storymoja Hay Festival were cancelled. The Festival made available some of the cancelled shows, in a mini-festival on 2 November.

The Vagina Monologues was performed at Nairobi National Museum on 24 October, and Silence is a Woman was performed at the Michael Joseph Centre at Safaricom House on 25 October.

In addition, on 2 November a day full of conversations and theatre performances took place at the Nairobi National Museum. More information on these events...

Listen to a recording of the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, who lost his life in the attack, reading his poetry on the BBC.

The Telegraph

The New Yorker

Wall Street Journal

University World News

The Guardian

The Guardian

Hay Festival StoryMoja


Kofi Awoonor

It was with great sadness that we learned that the Ghanaian High Commission in Nairobi confirmed news of the death of the poet and statesman Kofi Awoonor in the Westgate Mall siege. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

We were honoured to be graced by his appearance at Storymoja Hay Festival 2013, and deeply humbled by his desire to impart knowledge to the young festival audience. Professor Awoonor was one of Africa's greatest voices and poets and will forever remain a beacon of knowledge and strength and hope.

In honour of the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, Storymoja and the Hay Festival held a memorial tribute at the National Museum on 23 September 2013. A report can be read on our International Hay Festival blog.

Listen here to the BBC's recording of Kofi Awoonor reading his poetry.

For news and tributes click on links below:

The Telegraph           Ghana Presidency           Ghana Business News

The Guardian       The Guardian       The New Yorker

Wall Street Journal            University World News

Watch the Google Hangout videos from Storymoja Hay Festival 2012.

  • 2011 Artists

    2012 audio library

    Speakers in 2012 included Jung Chang, Lemn Sissay, Dinaw Mengestu, Giles Foden, Precious Williams, Billy Kahora, NoViolet Bulawayo, Tony Mochama and many more. Don't worry if you couldn't make it – many of the events were recorded so you can listen again.

    Listen to 2012 events

  • Hay Festival and Oxfam

    We have been working together for over four years. We know that festival-goers love the Oxfam bookshop at Hay – and we raise lots of money for our work with poorer communities worldwide. Throughout East Africa, including northern Kenya, Oxfam is helping people to grow more food for their families. Find out more about the GROW campaign at:

  • Hay Festival Writers' Blog

    Read our Hay Festival Writers' blog for their impressions of The Storymoja Hay Festival 2012. “The weekend was brimming with unstoppable literary madness.” – Beverley Nambozo.

    Read the blog

  • Jung Chang

    The inaugural Wangari Maathai Lecture, honouring the name of Kenya's great Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of The Green Belt Movement, was given by the Chinese author and historian.

    Listen to the lecture in our audio library


Follow us on Twitter...


  • Teju Cole
  • Peter Godwin
  • Mukesh Kapila
  • Alexander Ikawah
  • Dilman Dila
  • Atinuke
  • Richard Crompton
  • Nii Ayikwei Parkes
  • Álvaro Restrepo
  • Mara Menzies
  • Surgeon Poet
  • Jenny Valentine
  • Dr Auma Obama
  • Mongane Wally Serote
  • Paula Kahumbu
  • Binyavanga Wainaina
  • Warsan Shire
  • Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg
  • and many more...


  • Hay Festival Nairobi 2013 line-upThe Telegraph
  • “Being at the festival on this third day felt a little like being on a (children’s) ride: every encounter demanded some kind of intellectual or imaginative realignment, a shift of viewpoint.” The Telegraph
  • “The Storymoja Festival is the main thing on my mind – the literary extravaganza that we saw in Nairobi over the past weekend.” Nairobi Living
  • ‘Culture could be just the thing that saves us’ at Storymoja 2011