Soma Nami is Brittle Paper’s literary platform of the year for pushing the boundaries on what it means to make space for African literature. They aren’t your regular book store. In addition to offering a well-stocked book shop, they sell coffee and wine, curate a book box subscription service, run a book club, and keep readers engaged with a beautifully-curated Instagram account. That kind of multi-pronged approach to fostering book culture is the heart of a solid literary platform.
Soma Nami is an “intentionally curated space” founded by business partners Muthoni Muiruri and Wendy Njoroge. Located at The Greenhouse Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Soma Nami is a bright and inviting storefront that opened at the end of the summer earlier this year. The store houses a large and richly diverse selection of books as well as a magnificent “wall of fame” featuring portraits of major African literary figures.
We admire the multifaceted approach Soma Nami takes on supporting African literature. They foster a space where readers can immerse themselves in their love of books. In the new physical location, Soma Nami engages with authors and readers alike, hosting book readings and signings, poetry events, and trivia nights. Some highlights of their events this year include Zukiswa Wanner’s visit to the store’s book club for her novel The Madams and a meet and greet with Mukoma wa Ngugi, highlighting his novel We,The Scarred.
There are online options for getting involved with the Soma Nami community: a virtual version of the book club and a digital store. They also offer a book box. Just in time for the holidays, the rebranded and revamped Holiday Book Box contains a variety of treats and gifts along with books or a book gift card, a perfect present for the book connoisseur on your list.
We want to celebrate Soma Nami for actively cultivating local and international communities of book lovers. Soma Nami goes above and beyond to create diverse and varied spaces for book lovers to celebrate African literature.