On the evening of 1st June, renown Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, launched his book, One Day I will Write About This Place at the Kenya Railway Museum, a unique and interesting venue for an event. Booklovers sat on trains, tracks, sofas, haystacks, stations benches and even the platform floor as they listened to the speakers. A side-stripped train served as a dais for the event proceedings and stage for a DJ set by music group, Just-A-Band.
One Day I Will Write About This Place has already been released in other territories and reviewed by publications such as The New York Times, notable writers like Chimanda Adichie and Teju Cole, and was an Oprah Book Club selection. This is not Wainaina’s first foray into writing. He has written for the National Geographic, the Guardian and Granta online magazine. He also won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002 and is the founder and editor of Kwani?, a Kenyan literary magazine.
The first 250 to buy tickets to the event were guaranteed a copy of the book, signed by Wainaina before and after the event. The event began later than scheduled, a little after 7:00 p.m. There was an introduction by Kwani? executive director, Angela Wachuka, and a speech by Billy Kahora, the managing editor and author of Urban Zoning, which has also been nominated for this year’s Caine Prize.
The interview session was conducted by publisher and literary editor, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (OBE), where Wainaina spoke about his childhood, inspiration and the process of writing the book. It was followed by the reading of an excerpt from the book by the author himself. The event ended with a book signing and a ‘70s-themed DJ set by Just-A-Band, playing music from Tabu Ley, Maroon Commandoes and Boney M.