SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

'Dance of the Jakaranda': Book discussion with Peter Kimani

Peter Kimani, Dr Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr (SOAS)

Date: 13 March 2018Time: 7:15 PM

Finishes: 13 March 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Talk

Peter Kimani will discuss his latest book 'Dance of the Jakaranda', published by Saqibooks:

1963. Kenya is on the verge of independence from British colonial rule. In the Great Rift Valley, Kenyans of all backgrounds come together in the previously white-only establishment of the Jakaranda Hotel. The resident musician is Rajan Salim, who charms visitors with songs inspired by his grandfather’s noble stories of the railway construction that spawned the Kenya they now know.

 One evening, Rajan is kissed by a mysterious woman in a shadowy corridor. Unable to forget the taste of her lavender-flavoured lips, Rajan sets out to find her. On his journey he stumbles upon the murky, shared history of three men – his grandfather, the owner of the Jakaranda and a British preacher – who were implicated in the controversial birth of a child. What Rajan unearths will open his eyes about the birth not just of a child, but of an entire nation.

Speaker: Peter Kimani

Discussant: Dr Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr (SOAS)

Chair: Dr Chege Githiora (SOAS)

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Author biography:

Peter Kimani is an award-winning Kenyan novelist. He was one of three international poets to compose and present a poem for National Public Radio to mark Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. A prominent journalist on Kenya’s national news circuit, Kimani’s work has also appeared in The Guardian, New African and Sky News. He teaches journalism at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi, and is presently the Visiting Writer at Amherst College in the United States. Kimani was awarded the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature, Kenya’s highest literary honour, in 2011.

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