Michael Logan: World views from Kenya
‘Writing is a solitary pursuit, if you discount the close relationships you build with your characters – which you must in order to avoid the slippery route to twitching in the corner and talking to invisible people. That is why I found the StoryMoja Hay Festival, now in its last day, such a delight. It’s a rare pleasure to spend four days mingling with people who have so many intelligent and well-reasoned worldviews to share and to discover different ways of thinking and working that will inform how I approach my writing in the future.
Added to this, the writers in attendance were simply lovely people who graciously dispensed advice, both in workshops and informal settings, to the enthusiastic young writers who could well become the next generation of African greats.
I was particularly happy to spend time with Lola Shoneyin, who displayed a charming habit of scampering around in circles as she boomed out her infectious laugh; Precious Williams, in equal parts funny, smart and devilish; and Dinaw Mengestu, whose fierce intelligence crackles behind his wry demeanour. Getting the opportunity to mingle with these writers makes the lonely process of clattering away on a keyboard for long hours worthwhile.
And for those writers who have yet to make the trek down to Nairobi for this event, I can only urge them to do so. StoryMoja Hay Festival is growing every year, and the city’s lingering reputation of being a dangerous place to visit is no longer valid. Nairobi is a bustling, vibrant metropolis bristling with energy and ideas. Come and see for yourself.’