Nairobi International Book Fair

Nairobi International Book Fair
Kenya is notorious for its low literacy rates. 38.5% of the country’s adult population is illiterate. There are wide regional disparities: literacy levels are substantially lower in certain regions. Various cultural organizations strive to promote reading and literacy by organizing various events. One of such events is the Nairobi International Book Fair.

The Nairobi International Book Fair is organized by the Kenya Publishers’ Association, an umbrella organization of book publishers in Kenya. Its main goal is to encourage the widest possible spread of printed books throughout Kenya, as well as to promote the importance of books for education, entertainment, and personal development.

The Kenya Publishers’ Association established the Nairobi International Book Fair more then two decades ago to promote literacy, creativity, free flow of ideas, and Kenya’s rich cultural heritage. The event also serves as a meeting point for publishers and other industry professionals where they can discuss issues related to the country’s publishing industry and ways to stimulate its development.

The Nairobi International Book Fair is held annually at the Sarit Center Expo Hall. It attracts more than 26,000 visitors, which is quite impressive. However, most of them are from the Nairobi area, where literacy levels already are the highest in the country.

What does the fair has to offer? Its program includes an extensive book exhibition featuring exhibitors from all over Kenya and abroad, book launches, various workshops and seminars, debates, children’s activities, and the Text Book Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature award ceremony.

Most exhibitors are from Africa, but the Nairobi International Book Fair also features publishers from Asia, Europe, and North America. Some publishers hold clearance sales, offering books at huge discounts. Entry to the event is free because accessibility is one of the fair’s main principles.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nairobi International Book Fair




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