Kenyan Freedom Writers Events

Welcome to the Kenyan Freedom Writers Events page! Our campaign is a testament to the power of community, literature, and collective action.

The Campaign Journey

Kickoff: We began this journey with a call to all Kenyans to self-organize Freedom Writers reading events in their communities. The response was phenomenal—over 60 self-organized groups heeded our call within just three days! This rapid and enthusiastic participation underscored the deep appreciation and respect for our celebrated writers, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Micere Githae Mugo.

Community Contributions: Following this initial wave of enthusiasm, we reached out to Kenyans to donate whatever they could to equip these groups with books by Micere and Ngugi. Your generosity was overwhelming. We raised over KES 450,000 in a short period, enabling us to supply these community centres with the necessary reading materials. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed—your support has been invaluable.

Reading Events Across Kenya: Equipped with these books, the community groups have hosted Kenyan Freedom Writers reading events across 21 counties, including Baringo, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Isiolo, Kericho, Kiambu, Kisii, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisumu, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Siaya, Turkana and Wajir. These events have celebrated the rich literary heritage of Kenya and honoured the courage and human rights convictions of our esteemed writers.

Culmination in Atlanta, USA: The activities will culminate in a grand event in Atlanta, USA, bringing together Kenyans from across the globe to celebrate this remarkable journey.

Brief Profiles of Micere and Ngugi

Professor Micere Githae Mugo was a Kenyan scholar, author and human rights defender whose iconic stature cuts across the colonial and post-independence landscapes. She was highly regarded for celebrating the place of women in society and for foregrounding the struggles for a new Kenya. Besides interrogating the empowerment of women, professor Micere’s poetry and essays have engaged with the issues of Pan-Africanism and social justice. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award on January 10, 2023 by the human rights community in Kenya. This was the latest addition to many more awards and honours prof Micere has earned from various institutions around the world. Like Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Micere’s human rights activism rattled the Daniel Arap Moi regime, which forced her into exile in the early 1980s. She first settled in Zimbabwe before migrating to the United States of America to take up the position of Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o is a Kenyan author and scholar currently serving as a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. He has been awarded numerous Honorary Doctorates by leading institutions globally. He has been admitted into the Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Letters. He has acquitted himself as a leading public intellectual, novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and human rights defender. Together with Taban Lo Liyong and Awuor Anyumba, he launched the decolonization of literary studies in the then English Department at the University of Nairobi, a feat that still resonates globally in debates and practices that inform postcolonial theories. Ngugi’s publications and activism prompted the successive governments of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi to detain and exile him respectively. Amnesty International designated him a Prisoner of Conscience and led several human rights organizations to defend Ngugi’s rights.