Last Saturday, 23rd April was the inaugural POWO event – a forum for Poets and Writers that seeks to encourage Kenyan Creative writers to exploit the various opportunities presented by their internet for promotion of their writing.
The event which was held at Nairobi’s hub for the tech and creative community the IHub along Ngong Road on the Southern side of the Capital City.
It was also a ’Meet up’ that sought to bring together Kenyan Creative writers be they writers of fiction, non fiction, poetry, prose with the common goal being their interest in using the internet.
Most of those who signed up for the free event on eventbrite already had blogs and it was a surprise to note just how many creative bloggers were in Kenya – Well over 50.
The event, though set to start at 11.30, started slightly late(12pm) due to lack of early risers being the start of the start of the Easter Holiday. Early arrivals were treated to some African Music then Videos by Kenya’s own Mike Kwambo with the poem ‘Big Ass Bed’ and Chimamanada Adichie’s ‘The danger of a single story’ that was shared with the TED crowd.
The event kicked off with Ndanu Mung’ala – MC for the day, welcoming all in attendance and inviting Njeri Wangari for the opening remarks.
Njeri read a quote from one of the speaker’s earlier blog post, Njoroge Matathia. A quote that has also been shared on this blog from his post ‘Made on the Internet’ (one can read the full article here). She went on to explain the idea behind the POWO concept with sneak picks into what should be expected in future. She shared her experience in the challenge that most creative writers face – getting published and went on to talk about the opportunities the internet gives event towards eventually getting a publisher was the case with the eventual publishing of her poetry collection.
Kahonge ANTHONY KAHONGE @ @Miganphyl29http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog/2011/04/powo-poets-writers-online-2/ a link to the @iHubNairobi blog – #POWO23 AprFavoriteRetweetReply
peteretelej Peter Etelej ✔ POWO – Poets and Writers Online | Kenya http://goo.gl/fb/UQ98b23 Apr
mawazo_mengi Wanjeri Gakuru Glad to be home s/o to @powo for an interesting afte & the Sherlock’s Den Everton game crew
peteretelej Peter Etelej ✔ bookmarked POWO – Poets and Writers Online | Kenyahttp://y.ahoo.it/RPagPzX823 Apr
Blogs_Kenya Top Kenyan Blogs [The Online Kenyan] POWO – Poets and Writers Online | Kenya: I happened to attend the first POW… http://bit.ly/f1yhyb via @peteretelej23 Apr
peteretelej Peter Etelej ✔ POWO – Poets and Writers Online | Kenya: I happened to attend the first POWO meet-up at the iHub Nairobi. For th… http://bit.ly/gd8rRl23 Apr
EdwinAbuga Edwin Gekonge #powo was awesome. The ‘afterparty’ was awesomer. I rediscovered my sincere n passionate indifference to matters soccer.23 Apr
Dracofs Draco Bosén @maxhiagopowo to sem treina fica doente e tenso :S , nem sei se vo pro shopping .S23 Apr
roomthinker roomthinker Good stuff #POWO. Met lots of tweeps @LarryMadowo @wanjiku@kahenya @bintiM @wagaodongo @French_freddy na wengine wengi i forget #mzeenimimi23 Apr
aleyajamel Aleya Jamel @ @Atibelle Hello!! So lovely to meet you at #POWO – Hopefully we will see you at the scrabble meet? Girl Power all the way!
The Day’s speakers had arrived with the exception of Joseph Mucheru who sent his apologies due to a last minute commitment. He did however send us Neil Ahlsten – New Business Development Sub-Saharan Africa. The other speakers were, Wamathai, Potash and Muki Garang.
After the opening remarks, the first speaker, Neil gave a short presentation on the opportunities available on Google’s platform for creative writers e.g Google blogspot- the blogging platform, analytics for traffic statistics, Google books, youtube among others. The presentation was quite brief and some attendees felt that there were more products that could have been discussed in detail.
There was free Wifi and most of those at the event had come along with their gadgets. Most freely shared their views as well as update those who missed on the ongoing events. The event’s hastag was #POWO. This also proved to be a good icebreaker for the meetup that was to follow after the talks.
Muki Garang the Performer at the event gave a unique performance with his poetry piece ‘People’s TV 101, I have written about it earlier in my review of the JUkwaani Festival.French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @ @EunShixx Pleasure was and is still mine #VanityTweet#PoWo. Tweetpics pronto uondoe hiyo panda
Plubera Makena Mbone Simani @ @robert_mwangi#POWO is that the poetry thing you were meant to attend?23 Apr
robert_mwangi Robert Mathenge missed #powo at #ihub today! needs a really loud reminder!23 Apr
Fawkie Franklin Senah Despite my Demeanor @kenyanpoet should know I enjoy quite scenarios,actually thanks for #POWO Premier23 Apr
__felipemarafon felipe dae powo23 Apr
EunShixx Eunice Chege @French_Freddy It was nice to meet you @POWO. I’ll check out your blog. Enjoy the weekend.23 Apr
French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @ @TheParasGudka Cool. Already #following @nairobitweetup. Look forward to seeing you at #powo 3rd Saturday of every month23 Apr
French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @Powo is creating an initiative based on the e-verything e-volving into the e-ra of e-market-led change #NigelFpercy#powo23 Apr
French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @ @TheParasGudka#Powo @powo was a maiden voyage for Kenyan Poets & Writers to chart a way forward towards#ReadingCulture in Kenya23 Apr
French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @ @brendawambui Sasawa.U ulikuwa wapi ukahata #POWO with @powo at @ihubnairobi? #Smh lakini it’s on every 3rd Sato of the month so jipange
French_Freddy Fred Wambugu Maina @ @TheParasGudka Cheers for that mate. Al reciprocate on the#POWO @IhubNairobi today with @powo. Tweetpics pronto23 Apr
kenyanmathree Mathree Good 2 see u man! RT @Atibelle: @Blogs_Kenya Great seeing you at the @POWO meetup today. Blessed Easter!
Wamathai, who contrary to popular belief is quite slim, soft spoken and can sometimes get nervous infront of a large crowd was up next. His presentation on how Wamathai the blog started was quite an eye opener. His story on how he got kicked out of FB due to too many female fans was quite fascinating.
The last speaker of the day was Potash(Njoroge Matathia). His intellect was so imposing as he reminded writers not to be caught up in all the digital hype forgetting what their purpose is; Inform, Entertain and Educate.
During the Q&A session, most sought to know how they can drive more traffic to their blogs, if it necessary to be on twitter always, anonymous blogging as well as on soulful entertainment. Wamathai, in his answer to the use of twitter gave thought provoking challenge “Tweet Sense, not NonSense”.
Writers were also treated to some videos by; Miceere Mugo at the 2010 Kwani Litfest, Def Poetry Gemini with the piece ‘Poetic Bloodline‘ as well as Ngwatilo with her poem ‘Two Clocks’.
In her closing remarks, Njeri gave the next meetup’s agenda- A hands on tech workshop on the various tools available for writers online from; how to start a blog, how to embed a video or a html code, how to upload a video, using FB and Twitter effectively etc.
The event ended at 2.30pm with most remaining behind for the actual meet-up
There were 73 people in attendance. Read the rest of #POWO tweets here . Fred Wambugu took some lovely shots of the event available here
The Next POWO Meet-up will be on 21st May at he same venue.
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