Hay Festival Global and Book Bunk forge new partnership to co-host NBO Litfest

Hay Festival Global and Book Bunk have announced a new partnership as co-hosts of the NBO Litfest, which this year takes place 27–30 June 2024, promoting free expression and cultural exchange. 

Created by Book Bunk in 2021, NBO Litfest is a burgeoning biennial event on the international stage. Taking place over one weekend in Nairobi’s Kaloleni Library, Eastlands Library and McMillan Memorial Library, the next event will bring writers and readers together for an ambitious programme of conversations and performances. 

Through its partnership with Hay Festival Global, NBO Litfest seeks to increase its international presence, expand its audience reach and take place annually. 

Hay Festival, one of the world’s leading cultural charities, was founded in Hay-on-Wye, Wales in 1987, providing audiences with dynamic platforms to come together to share ideas, different perspectives and provoke conversations that can create a better world. 

This new collaboration is the next chapter of the Festival’s South-to-South programme, forging creative connections across the Global South through events and partnerships. The projects are supported by funding from the Open Society Foundations. 

The British Council is supporting the partnership between Hay Festival and Book Bunk as part of its Kenya 2025 season, which celebrates creativity and innovation through the arts, culture and education in the UK and Kenya. 

The upcoming Nairobi event also marks a return to the city for Hay Festival Global, following six years of the Storymoja Hay Festival, which ran 2008-2013.

Hay Festival Global CEO Julie Finch said: 

“As an international charity, we reach millions of people every year through our one-of-a-kind Festivals, Forums, programmes, and digital platforms. We are delighted to partner Book Bunk as co-hosts of the next NBO Litfest and continue our South-to-South series in new and engaging ways for audiences in Nairobi.”

Hay Festival Global International Director Cristina Fuentes La Roche said:

“Together with our Book Bunk colleagues we want to celebrate the best of local and global literature at NBO Litfest 2024, inviting artists, writers and thinkers to share their stories and explore new perspectives and solutions to our shared problems. By forging new connections between our teams in Mexico, Peru and Colombia with this exciting new chapter in Kenya, we deepen our South-to-South project further.”

Wanjiru Koinange, co-founder of Book Bunk, said: 

“This is an important, exciting collaboration for us and we’re honoured to be able to continue to invite the world to experience our city, its storytelling and its libraries.”

Over the past year, Hay Festival has delivered 12 editions in seven countries: Colombia, Peru, the USA, Mexico, Spain, Ukraine and the UK. A total of 1,111 individual events featured 2,018 artists with 315,395 tickets sold and 6.7million web views. Meanwhile, year-round education and outreach programmes reached 15,081 school pupils. 

The world’s greatest writers, thinkers and performers have taken to the Festival’s stages over the years, including Arthur Miller, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, Edward Said, Alice Walker, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Carter, Seamus Heaney, Zadie Smith, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Nadine Gordimer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Martin Amis, Paul McCartney, Desmond Tutu, Jane Fonda, and Hillary Clinton.

Festival events for 2024 are already in full swing. Last month, there were editions in Jericó, Medellín and Cartagena, Colombia, and Panama City, while Hay Festival Forum Seville takes place in Spain 14-17 March. Closer to home, the Scribblers Tour just wrapped last week, taking writers direct to schools across Wales in free events.