Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 24, December 1998 


Nairobi International Book Fair, 2-6 September 1998

Serah Mwangi
Serah Mwangi is Managing Director, Focus Publications Ltd, PO Box 28176, Nairobi, Kenya. Fax +254 2 607498, e-mail:, and a member of the Bookfairs, Exhibitions & Awards Committee, Kenya Publishers Association.

The first Nairobi International Book Fair, organised by the Kenya Publishers' Association, was held 2-6 September 1998 at the Sarit Centre, Westlands, Nairobi. The Book Fair attracted a wide representation of local and international publishers and organisations.

The Book Fair was opened by His Excellency Sir Jeffrey James, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, who said that Kenyan publishers were doing a good job in providing relevant materials for learning, and added that the British government would continue to assist the Kenyan government whenever possible.

Parallel to the book exhibitions were seminars on book development councils and the promotion of book publishing industries in Africa, intra-African book trade and the future of publishing in Africa, and publishing in a liberalised market. Among those who participated in the seminars were various publishers from Kenya, representatives from non-governmental organisations, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the Kenya Institute of Education, UNESCO National Commission, primary and secondary schools, booksellers, librarians, distributors, regional publishers' associations from Uganda and Tanzania, APNET, Readwide (Ghana), the African Books Collective, and the national dailies and weeklies. Recommendations from the seminars will be presented to the various government departments and other concerned organisations for action.

The fair was held in a shopping mall which attracts more than ten thousand shoppers daily. Participants were pleased that the strategic location of the venue enabled them to conduct good business. During the book fair several new books were launched by local publishers.

Owing to the limited time within which the NIBF was organised, it was not possible to do extensive publicity at international level. There was however sufficient publicity through the local electronic media. The committee in charge of the organisation of the Book Fair has embarked on publicity preparations for the next fair both locally and internationally. It will be held in the same venue, 15-19 September 1999.

Enquiries and bookings can be made through the Kenya Publishers' Association, PO Box 42767, Nairobi, Kenya. Fax+254 2 212179, e-mail:

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