PEN Kenya Members Discuss Literature on Kenyan Radio


The Books Café is a literary discussion programme broadcast on the KBC English service, hosted by Khainga O’Okwemba, poet and President of PEN Kenya. In the latest episode, he interviews Professor Chris Wanjala, a literary scholar and Chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of PEN Kenya.

Professor Chris Wanjala gained his PhD from the University of Nairobi in 1978 and has enjoyed a long career at various Universities and Research Institutes as an academic, critic and poet. He is the founder of the Kenya Non-Fiction and Academic Authors Association (KENFAA).

The topics of discussion in the programme include the relationship between ‘popular’ and ‘serious’ literature in Kenya, the importance of dialogue for the cultivation of African literature, and literary conferences of historical significance such as the 1962 Conference of African Writers at Makerere University, Uganda, and the 1971 Colloquium held at the University of Nairobi.

The discussion covers the work of a range of writers including Chester Himes, Charles Mangua, and David Mailu, as well as Christopher Okigbo and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, touching also upon the debate about the relationship between ‘African’ and ‘World’ literature.

To listen to the programme, and to previous editions of The Books Café, click here.