Nairobi | June 2007 : Sunday Salon

Nairobi | June 2007

Al Kags is the publisher of The Quarterly Colour Series of Poetry, a poetry ebook series that is now distributed virally to over 160,000 people all over the world. He has been writing since he was twelve and has been a regular columnist and feature writer in various publications both in Kenya and Internationally. For a day job, Al Kags is the Chief Executive of Multiple Choices, the first web 2.0 communications company in Africa and a facilitator for Brandscape Online Foundation, specializing in new media and online brands.

Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999), and of the widely celebrated and influential novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Fiction. His other awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, The Chicago Public Library’s Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction from the African American Literature and Culture Association, and a support grant from Creative Capital, and the 2003 Charles Angoff award for fiction from The Literary Review. He has been at fellow at The Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, a John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a Walter E. Dakins Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. His essays, reviews, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Triquarterly, Ploughshares, Bomb, Hambone, The Antioch Review, StoryQuarterly, African Voices, African American Review, Callaloo , Arkansas Review, Other Voices, Black Renaissance Noire, Notre Dame Review, and XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. His work has also appeared in several anthologies, including 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11, Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry, Chicago Noir, and Homeground: Language for an American Landscape. Born in Chicago , he holds a Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Queens College of The City University of New York and an instructor in the graduate writing program at New School University . He has also taught for Cave Canem, the Summer Literary Seminars program in St. Petersburg , Russia , and Nairobi , Kenya , and in the writing program at Columbia University . And he is the director of the Pan African Literary Forum, a non-profit organization which serves writers and will hold an annual writers’ conference, the first to open in Ghana in the summer of 2008. A resident of Far Rockaway, Queens , Allen’s book of short stories, Bread and the Land, will be published in 2008. Allen is presently at work Talking Talk, a book of interviews and conversations with fiction writers of African descent from around the world, and the novel Song of the Shank, based on the life of Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who performed under the stage name Blind Tom.

Eudiah Kamonjo is a 23 year old professional journalist. She has been published in both newspapers and magazines and has also been writing and performing poetry and prose at various venues for years. She spends plenty of time expanding the appreciation of art in Kenya . People who know her describe her as an extremist who loves to explore every aspect of life. She loves honesty, sinful cocktails, strong coffee, books, theatre, seeing a girl dressed up in a tie, dancing, the sea and learning new ways of looking at the world.

Kimtai Too was born in 1981and grew up in Trans Nzoia district, attended Mother of Apostles Seminary in Eldoret before joining the University of Nairobi in 2002, where he is to date undertaking a BSc degree majoring in Soil Science. His passion for writing started in his first year of university. Current issues at the time led him to pen his first book Don’t vote…Count the Votes. After two years at the university he wrote yet another book, True Son of a Country, which is as yet unpublished. In 2004/5 he was nominated as Poet of the Year by the International Society of Poets(ISP) and some of his work can be read on He says, “I believe that with a pen and paper the story about Africa is going to be heard…”


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