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TAKE 5:Audrey Kathurima

Friday February 15 2019

Audrey Kathurima runs Book Swap Ke, a periodic gathering among book-lovers.

Audrey Kathurima runs Book Swap Ke, a periodic gathering among book-lovers. PHOTO| COURTESY 

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Audrey runs Book Swap Ke, a periodic gathering among book lovers where they exchange books, talk about authors and writing and have guest speakers, usually writers, to engage with. She also runs Kamsa Media, a photography and videography company.

1. How did the idea to start a book club come about?

I was in search of an activity that I could engage in over the weekend instead of the usual partying. After a bit of research, a book swap club seemed like something that I'd enjoy. I felt that I would gain something out of it in terms of meeting new people as well as discovering new books.

I run it with my cousin, Ntinyari Mbogori, and Steven Teyo. We partner with anyone who is interested in working with us.

2. Why is this important to you? What message are you trying to push?


Book swap is important to me for a number of reasons. It has been wonderful seeing people interact in the way they have, creating new friendships over something they have in common.

It's great seeing people judge one another’s taste in books and then become friends towards the end. It's a great space for those who read books they may be embarrassed to say they enjoy, and is also a great place for book snobs.

Here, you’re allowed to be yourself without the pressure of looking or acting a certain way. We do encourage finding new writers that one may never have never heard of, and also encourage people to learn more about African writers.

For now, what I'm pushing would be togetherness and open-mindedness when it comes to work by African writers.

3. Is it true that Kenyans don't read? What do you think Book Swap can contribute to Kenya's reading culture?

I think some Kenyans read while others just post a picture of a book for the sake of seeming either more interesting or intelligent, yet the last book they read was a set book way back in secondary school.

There's nothing wrong with people who don't read, but it would be great if they found alternatives, for instance audio books. The truth is that books are not for everyone.

4. What do you like to read best, and who are some of your favourite local authors?
I enjoy military fiction - historical fiction in other words. I also enjoy reading books that have a bit of humour in them. Lately, I've found myself enjoying books that deal with growth - not motivational books mind you, I mean growth in a character's relationship or life decisions he or she makes.

5. If you were stranded on an island, and were allowed three books for the rest of your life, which ones would those be?

1. Any book by Ken Follet, but for the sake of the question, Fall of Giants.

2. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

3. The book I'm currently reading. Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyo