Braved the wet weather yesterday to attend the launch of My Name is Life, the first adult novel published by Rwandan publisher ImagineWe. I helped to edit this, so it was really nice to see the finished product. Fabulous cover design. It was also my first time inside Kigali Convention Centre, currently Africa's most expensive building.
|Author, Karen Bugingo|
bugingo means life
|ImagineWe founder, Dominique Alonga|
Karen Bugingo is a normal teenager roaming the streets of Kigali. Bugingo means Life in Kinyarwanda. Her story seems quite usual, almost boring, until a series of heartwrenching events tear her from her friends, her school and life as she knew it. This is the journey of her courage to fight back and the strength to look death in the face and say "My name is Life."
It was really interesting to see the people she wrote about in real life. Her grandmother plays a big role in the story, which tells of her struggle for diagnosis and treatment as a cancer patient. Her grandmother was at the launch, along with other members of her family, and stood up to say hello. Strange to see them step out of the pages into the room.
It was a stormy night, and the speakers were lit by lightning through the ceiling-to-floor windows behind. Glad I faced the weather, though. It's fantastic to see publishing houses producing contemporary work in Rwanda. They plan to take this one on tour to other countries, so keep an eye on ImagineWe's social media: website, Twitter, Facebook. We were also encouraged to live-tweet the night, so check out the hashtag #MyNameIsLife for more pictures and comments.