This year’s event will take place on Friday 6th to Friday 13th October 2023. Our guest-poets include: Zita Holbourne (UK), Karla Brundage (USA), Hassanal Abdullah (USA), Kevin Dublin (USA), Peggy Morrison (USA), Bengt O Björklund (Sweden), Manfred Chobot (Austria), Dimitris Stamiris (Greece), Christos Koukis (Greece), Nora Atalla (Canada), Mattia Scarpulla (Canada), Lucilla Trapazzo (Switzerland), Dr. Andrea Grieder (Switzerland), Fatemeh Ekhtesari (Norway), Erlend Wichne (Norway), Dr. Evans Mecha (Kenya), Dr. Christopher Okemwa (Kenya), Dr. Joseph Muleka (Kenya), Sitawa Namwalie (Kenya), Bonface Nyamweya (Kenya), Alfred Nyamwange (Kenya), Wanjira Muthoni (Kenya), Antony Wesonga Oduori (Kenya) & Beatrice Jane Ekesa (Kenya).

Kistrech International Poetry Festival 2023 Programme

Date

Activity

Friday 6/10/2023

ARRIVAL DAY

- Kistrech officials will fetch poets from JKIA (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), Nairobi, on arrival and take them to Comfort Hotel, Nairobi.

7.00pm-9.00pm: Social evening and gathering for all arrivals, together with the local poets

Saturday 7/10/2023

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 11.00 AM – 11.45 AM

- Dr. Matunda Nyanchama, Loice Robi Mwita, Karla Brundage, Kevin Dublin, Dr. Christopher Okemwa,

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 11.45 AM – 1.00 PM

- Ambassador of Switzerland Embassy-Nairobi

- An Evening of Swiss Poetry: Lucilla Trapazzo & Dr. Andrea Grieder, featuring Ombiru

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 1.00 PM – 1.45 PM

- Norwegian Poetry: Fatemeh Ekhtesari & Erlend Wichne.

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 1.45 PM – 2.30 PM

- Canadian Poetry: Nora Atalla & Mattia Scarpulla

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 2.30 PM – 3.15 PM

- Poetry from America: Peggy Morrison, Kevin Dublin, Hassanal Abdullah

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 3.15 PM – 4.00 PM

- Austrian Poetry: Manfred Chobot

- Swedish Poetry: Bengt O Björklund

- Danish Poetry: Salim Abdali

GOETHE INSTITUT-NAIROBI: 4.00 PM – 4.45 PM

- Kenyan Poetry: Dr. Wanjira Gakuru Muthoni, Betty Kilonzo

- Kenyan Poetry: Bonface Nyamweya & Derrick Ogato Ong’uti

- Kenyan Poetry: Bonfire the King & Students from Catholic University of Eastern Africa

Sunday 8/10/2023

TRAVELLING TO KISII: 8.00AM to 4.00PM

Itinerary: Stop-overs: Escarpment, Mahi Mahiu,

Suswa, Nturere, Narok, Bomet, Chebilat, Kisii

- Check into Dallas Premiere Hotel by 4.00 pm

Monday 9/10/2023

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 10.00 AM to 10.20 AM

- Welcoming speech by the Vice-Chancellor Kisii University

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 10.20 AM - 11.20 AM

- Poetry from America: Peggy Morisson, Hassanal Abdalla

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 11.20 AM - 1.00 PM

- Canadian Poetry: Nora Atalla & Mattia Scarpulla

- Austrian Poetry: Manfred Chobot

- Swedish Poetry: Bengt O Björklund

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 1.00 PM - 2.00 PM

Lunch Break

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL/KISII UNIVERSITY: 2.00 PM to 5.00PM

Black-Rootedness

- Poetry Reading by Students: Hylet Akinyi, Ruth Jepkorir Koech, Alfred Nyamwange, Bonface Nyamweya, Scholastica Moraa, Nancy Bosibori, Winnievah Gesare, Rodgers Otieno. Kezziah Chepteek Kipkorom, Maleen Juma

- Talk & Debate: Karla Brundage (USA), Kevin Dublin (USA) & Salim Abdali (Denmark).

-Bus Man Poem: Winston Farrell

- University Choir

- Salsa dancers

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 7.00 PM to 9.00PM

- Poetry Reading & Discussions

Tuesday

10/10/2023

POETRY AT THE VILLAGE: 11.00 AM to 4.00PM

- Speeches by Local leaders

- 1-hour visit to families

- Poetry Reading by guest-poets (One Poem Each): Nora Atalla, Mattia Scarpulla, Manfred Chubot, Bengt Bjorklund, Fatemeh Ekhtesari, Salim Abdali, Kevin Dublin, Hassanal Abdullah, Erlend Wichne, Dr. Andrea Grieder, Trucilla Trapazzo, Karla Brundage, Peggy Morrison, Winston Farrell

- African Oral poetry: Obino Nyambane.

- Gusii Cultural Dance: Bogiakumu Women

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 7.00 PM to 9.00PM

- Social Gathering & Poetry Reading

Wednesday 11/10/2023

MOSANDO SECONDARY SCHOOL: 9.00AM to 11.00AM

Poetry Reading by Guest-Poets (Two Poems)

- FORM ONE: Bengt O Björklund, Manfred Chobot, Nora Atalla

- FORM TWO: Mattia Scarpulla, Lucilla Trapazzo, Fatemeh Ekhtesari. FORM THREE: Kevin Dublin, Salim Abdali, Andrea Grieider & Erlend Wichne,

FORM FOUR: Winston Farrell, Peggy Morrison, Karla Brundage, Hassanal Abdullah

KISII UNIVERSITY MAIN LIBRARY: 2.00PM to 2.30PM

-Books donation: Nora Atalla (Canada) & Vice-Chancellor Kisii University.

KISII UNIVERSITY: 3.0PM to 5.00PM

Poetry Workshop

Group 1: Nora Atalla (Canada)

Group 2: Mattia Scarpulla (Canada)

Group 3: Peggy Morrison (USA)

Group: 4: Hassanal Abdullah (USA)

Group 5: Manfred Chobot (Austria)

Group 6: Bengt O Björklund (Sweden)

Group 7: Lucilla Trapazzo (Swizerland)

Group 8: Dr. Andrea Grieder (Switzerland)

Group 9: Fatemeh Ekhtesari (Norway)

Group 10: Erlend Wichne (Norway)

DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 7.00PM to 9.00PM

- Social Gathering & Poetry Reading

Thursday 12/10/2023

A TRIP TO MAASAI MARA: 5.00AM to 3.00 PM

- Watching animals

VICE-CHANCELLOR’S DINNER AT DALLAS PREMIERE HOTEL: 7.00 PM to 9.00PM

- Speeches

- Poetry Reading (One Poem Each): Bengt O Björklund, Manfred Chobot, Nora Atalla, Mattia Scarpulla, Fatemeh Ekhtesari, Kevin Dublin (USA), Salim Abdali, Karla Brundage, Hassanal Abdullah, Erlend Wichne

- Some entertainment

Friday 13/10/2023

- Departure




Message from the Founder of Kistrech Poetry Festival

How fast time runs! How quickly days, months and years fly by! It is already ten years since the Kistrech International Poetry festival began in Kenya. Who can think we are now celebrating ten years of poetic activities this year! True, as they say, time is merely a human conception.

In 2013 we started as a small festival, and that time only a handful of poets attended, who included Prof Sukrita Paul Kumar (India), Prof. Malashri Lal (India), Prof. Porpen Hantrakool (Thailand), Prof. Arif Khudairi (Egypt), Lauri Garcia (Mexico), Onarinde Finiyi foluwa (Nigeria), Sarah Poisson (Lithuania), Jasonas Stavrakis (Cypress), Vytautas Suslavicius (Lithuania), Indra Wussow (Germany) and Asanda Vokwana (South Africa).

That year, we didn’t have a space for the event, transport, publication and any support from anywhere or anybody. I partially funded this inauguration edition by paying for food and accommodation for some poets.  This cost was too high for me considering the meager salary a lecturer earns in Kenya. It made me feel stressed, and contemplated on making this event the last one. 

Come 2014, my wife encouraged me to organize for another edition of the festival. We both decided to give it another try. That year we had participants, including Prof. Kayode Animasam (Nigeria), Erling Kittelsen (Norway), Godspower Oboido (Nigeria), Jenny Maria Tunedal (Sweden), Dr. Evans Mecha (Kenya), Maria Mpaata Melloney (Uganda), Obedia Michael Smith (The Bahamas), Laus Strandby Nielsen (Denmark), and Althea Romeo-Mark (Switzerland). The poets agreed to foot all their expenses, and some even donated a dollar here, a dollar there, towards the costs of the festival.  Definitely things were looking up.

In 2015, we had the following guest-poets:  Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Liberia), Prof. Opal Adisa (USA), Susana Sacks (USA), Katharina Koppe (Germany), Michael Obediah Smith (The Bahamas), Rosemarie Wilson (USA), Dr. Joseph Muleka (Kenya) and Dr. Evans Mecha (Kenya). In 2016, we had Prof. Seth Michelson (USA), Valerie LeBlanc (Canada),  Martin Glaz Serup (Denmark), Daniel Dugas (Canada), Erling Kittelsen (Norway) and Gunnar Waerness (Norway). In 2017 we had the following guest-poets: Anselm Berrigan (USA), Lily Michaelides (Cyprus), Rosemary Wilson (USA), Hilde Susan Jaegtnes (Norway), Nora Gomringer & Philipp Scholz (Germany) and Amir Or (Israel).

In 2018, the Israeli Embassy came in to give a small support to the festival. The Embassy Ambassador also wrote to all foreign embassies in Nairobi to join and support the Kistrech Poetry event. It was very kind of him. That year we had the following guets-poets: Alexandra Salmela (Finland), Ambily Omanakuttan (India),  Canisia Lubrin (Canada), Dr. Diti Ronen (Israel), Frank Keizer (Netherlands), Funke Michaels (Nigeria), Geir Halnes (Norway), Inger-Mari Aikio (Finland), J.K. Ihalainen (Finland), Joanna Lundberg (Sweden), Joanna Rzadkowska (Norway),  Magdalena Sorensen (Sweden), Dr. Molly Joseph (India), Nese Yasin (Cyprus), Patrick Woodcock (Canada), Dariusz Lebioda (Poland), Sona Van (Armenia), Soraya Peerbaye (Canada), Sytse Jansma (Netherlands), Orlando Cerasuolo (Italy) and Christos Tsiailis (Cyprus).

In 2019 the event was attended by Rosemary Wilson (USA), Zhao Si (China), Martinek Libor (Czech Republic) and Maria Mistrioti (Greece). In 2020 & 2021 the event did not take place due to Corona. In 2022 we had the following guest-poets: Karla Brundage (USA), Yolanda Castano (Spain), Chrys Salt (Scotland), Richard Macfarlane (Scotland), Gili Haimovich (Israel), Turczi István (Hungary), Niels Frank Alvarado (Denmark), Maria Dixen (Denmark), & Prof. Dr. Laksmisree Banerjee (India). Our Kenyan poets included Dr. Joseph Muleka, Dr. Evans Gesura Mecha, Antony Wesonga Oduori, Bonface Nyamweya, Bonface Otieno, Ruth Jepkorir Koech & Cornelius Muthuri. 

Over the years Kistrech Poetry Festival has received support from various cultural organizations, which  includes: NORLA (Norwegian Literature Abroad) who have always sponsored three Norwegian poets every year; this year the organization is supporting Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Erlend Wichne;  Scottish Books International who sponsors a poet each year; in 2022 they supported Chrys Salt; the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and Conseil des arts du Canada, who sponsors two poets every year; this year they are sponsoring Nora Atalla and Mattia Scarpulla; Israeli Embassy in Nairobi who sponsors one poet every year; Spanish Embassy, who sponsors a poet every year; Danish Arts Council who sponsors one poet annually; and Kisii University, who always provide a space for the event and caters for ground transport; Other sponsors include Dutch Literature Foundation who finance poets to this festival.

This year the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg have come in to support this festival. They are also supporting two Swiss poets, Dr.Andrea Grieder and Lucilla Trapazzo, to participate in the event. 

We are proud as a festival to have managed to come all the way to the 10th anniversary, without funds and proper support. We are celebrating ten solid years of poetic and artistic experience. The ten years have seen healthy interaction, and learning taking place between local and international poets. The years have seen many student-poets at Kenyan Universities and upcoming poets in Africa, publish their poetry collections and others travelling abroad to attend the international Poetry Festivals. Alot has happened in terms of cultural exchange between countries and regions. We say thanks to all those who, in the last ten years, developed interest in our festival and created time to participate in its activities. Gratitude also goes to those who have given us both financial and in-kind support.