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Eldoret to host first regional book fair

Eldoret town is gearing to host the first regional book fair that will bring together more than 30 Kenya book publishers to promote reading culture among Kenyans.

This comes even as Kenyan Book publishers prepare to publish over 14 million textbooks by September for the current grade seven learners as transition to grade eight in junior high secondary in January 2024.

Kenya Publishers Association chairperson Kiarie Kamau said the event is about promoting book reading and showcase the latest book titles by bringing books closer to people.

The Eldoret Regional Book fair is scheduled to be held next week from 31st May to June 3rd 2023. The theme of the event is ‘Nurturing Talent through Publishing’.

“Book publishers met and agreed to have regional book fairs in different counties so as to bring books closer to people because we are promoting lifelong learning. We want to encourage people to read different books not just for passing examinations but also they can read novels, biographies and other general books to broaden their knowledge,” stated Mr Kamau, who is also the East African Educational publishers managing director.

Publishers will use the platform to also nurture talents such as writing and drawing or illustrations for children books especially among the youth.

“We also want to see some of the creative and good plays which we want to tap on. For instance, in the 1990s we had ‘Visiki’ which won an award and became a set book,” he said.

According to Mr Kamau, there is a need for the government to expedite the validation of the national book policy to promote reading culture in the country.

Every year in the month of September, Kenya Publishers Association organises the International Book Fair at Sarit Centre in Nairobi.

He also disclosed that the Kenya publishers are in the process of publishing 1.2 million textbooks per learning area for the grade eight learners within three next months following approval from KICD.

“We will use the regional book fair to display the grade eight book titles,” said Mr Kamau.

He lamented that most book publishers are grappling with book piracy and the high cost of raw materials.

“We are working with KECOBO, DCI and Anti-piracy agency to bring those individuals involved to book. Already, we have identified where these books are produced and we will be going after them,” said the KPA boss.

According to the KPA chief executive officer James Odhiambo, said the event will also promote local authors.

“We will have a stand for self-published authors and self-publishers. Some of the Kenya book publishers will use the forum to launch the latest book titles and engage with the readers,” said Mr Odhiambo.

Some of the activities lined up during the book fair include daily interaction with publishers, book launches, debates and workshops, children activities, give away prizes and art and craft competitions. Books will also be sold at discounted prices

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