Theme: Encouraging Young writers through literary mentorship

Presentation by:  Dr. Serah Kimaru

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen?

First, I thank Almighty God for the gift of life and good healthto witness this auspicious occasion, especially in this period of the new norm.

My heartfelt gratitude to SOLANO PUBLISHERS, the Founders and organizers of

KENDEKA PRIZE FOR AFRICAN LITERATURE AWARD 2021, for honouring me with this invite.

Thank you for making this date memorable; In fact, I could not think of a better “form” to spend the weekend.

That is why I have honoured this invitation with great pleasure. I came with a team of budding and aspiring scribers from Mount Kenya University because I could not wish to enjoy this moment alone.

I wish to congratulate SOLANO PUBLISHERS for their exemplary efforts to establish global visibility of Africa’s literature.

The journey to Africa’s literary movement has over the years evolved from years when writers were crucified to that which liberty is realized. This realization is not without its share of challenges.

For example, digital media has changed how people do research and spend their leisure time. Digital media continues to influence negatively the hard copy reading ability of our young generations.

Another challenge has been the piracy of creative works. The writers do not enjoy their benefits for hard work and years spent in research.

Distinguished guests,

These challenges continue to threaten the space of writers and publishers alike to which most give up along the way.

Mentoring Young Writers

I see we can collectively invest in literature growth by investing in the untapped potential in our youths. We have concentrated so much on building material wealth over knowledge wealth. I want you to take a moment and reflect on how your growing influenced who you are today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you may have evaluated, the role of nature and nurture in our respective growth cannot be ignored. Mentoring young writers could be the first motivation to set the literature environment right, for them to competitively tell compelling African themed stories.

With this set of altitude, distinguished people, I can only imagine how many Chinua Achebe’s of our time we could have, elevating Africa’s literature to the global village.

Or the Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross, that to date reminds us of excesses of uncontrolled capitalism. Indeed, we cannot literary let these potentials fall apart.

We must constantly commit to finding ways to promote literal work beyond bookselling in book stores, to set books in high schools, for sustained growth. We should all feel the urge to promote tapping of the knowledge for our future generation.

I challenge technology innovators to come up with ways we can convergent and target easy access of book knowledge to our children from a very young age to institutions of higher learning.

This way, we will be creating a tradition of knowledge transfer and growth, which in return will churn out competent writers and bettering reading culture amongst the youths.

The American writer Stephen King, the man considered a jack of all trade in the literary world, captures this moment the best way, that “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. Simple as that.”

As I conclude, I wish to congratulate the Solano Publishers for setting the stage for societal transformation through literature via KENDEKA PRIZE FOR AFRICAN LITERATURE AWARD. I wish all participants the best of success. And at the end of this important event, we will all win on experience brought forth by this occasion.

May God Bless you.

Dr. Serah Muchai Kimaru

Dean, SSS