You have probably heard of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o the famous author who wrote a Nobel Peace prize nominee novel on prison tissue paper! You might have come across the epic satirical piece, How to write about Africa by the late Binyavanga Wainana, but beyond these two how many other Kenyan authors do you know? Probably, not many!
This is why 23 year old English Literature student Lexa Lubanga started the Kenyan readathon! To introduce you to the many amazing, yet unknown Kenyan storytellers.
Who is Lexa Lubanga
Lexa Lubanga is an authentic passionate woman, who propagates Kenyan Literature and African literature in general. She is the co-founder of the Books of Kenya initiative where she aims to promote Kenyan stories through sharing author interviews, book reviews, and everything else happening in the Kenyan book space. Through this platform, she has interviewed the likes of Michelle Omeno, Ida Kemunto, and Mourine Obare among others.
She is also a published poet, who is on the path to publishing her first novel, thanks to the Nanowrimo project. Lexa Lubanga who has a soft spot for historical fiction says her favorite Kenyan author is Meja Mwangi. She affectionately describes Mwangi as “an amazing storyteller who deserves all the attention” In December 2020 she hosted a Meja Mwangi Readathon. Talk of putting your money where your mouth is!
So, What is the Kenyan Readathon?
This is a month-long readathon aimed at promoting Kenyan creatives and their works. The first edition was held in September 2020, with Lexa sharing a long list of Kenyan books from which readers could choose what to read. The online event received a positive response, and for the 30 days of September, readers devoured the spicy dish of Kenyan stories, only pausing long enough to share their progress via the #kenyanreadathon hashtag. Be sure to join this year’s readathon to meet other book lovers, and discover new Kenyan authors. Follow the Kenyan readathon Twitter account here.
Her initiative was not limited to the creation of an online buzz only, she persuaded some Kenyan book stores to bulk stock Kenyan literature which they went on to sell at a discount! Lexa’s dream is to have a bookshop of her own after completing a Master’s Degree in literature in 5 years’ time.
What else does Lexa do?
When she is not running the readathon she finds time for her YouTube channel where she promotes literature through book reviews and recommendations. Lexa also has a personal blog where she writes poetry, short stories, and some personal stuff.