Call for Submissions: Mawazo Novel Writing Workshop

Mawazo Africa Writing Institute announces a Call for Submissions for its first writing workshop: Writing the Novel, led by award-winning author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. The aim of the workshop is to provide advanced training and support to African writers who want to complete full-length novel manuscripts (normally of 30,000 words minimum). The workshop will be held online and is a free pilot program.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, the ‘Elusive’ Nobel Peace Prize, and the Politics of Silence

That Ngugi wa Thiong’o is a towering literary and ideological influencer venerated by the world without the Kenyan borders is not contestable. Neither is the fact that he isn’t a divisive nor a uniting figure in Kenya, simply because a larger chunk of the youthful population active in sociopolitical discourse does not identify with him. This important segment of citizenry has not experienced the man who was once detained by Jomo Kenyatta in 1977, released by Moi, only to flee into exile in the USA after his theatre in Limuru was burnt down by the latter’s government. Continue reading “Ngugi wa Thiong’o, the ‘Elusive’ Nobel Peace Prize, and the Politics of Silence”

TBC Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature 2017 Winners

The Winners of the Text Book Center Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature 2017 were announced last night in a colourful event held at Pride Inn, Westlands last night.

Adult Category in English
The Elephant Dance by H. Ole Kulet – Publishers – Longhorn Publishers

This is a story of contemporary business empires and an illumination of how some of them are built through money laundering, corrupt business deals and generally with disregard for morals. This text highlights how international syndicates connive with corrupt local individuals to rob local communities of their cultural heritage and wealth. Such individuals are driven by a selfish ambition to amass wealth at all costs. Indeed, they would not think twice even if the environment and the living things therein were decimated in a day. This novel represents Ole Kulet’s most sophisticated imagination about matters environment, on which he has been writing for decades. The Elephant Dance is an ode to the efforts of those who seek to tap into communal knowledge in the fight against animal poaching.

Adult Category in Kiswahili
Mashetani wa Alepo by Tom Olali – Publishers – Jomo Kenyatta Foundation

A futuristic novel in which the writer dares to experiment with style and subject. The story is rendered in the form of fantasy to prophesy the doom of humankind as a consequence of moral degeneration, wanton destruction of nature and the selfish interests in technological experimentation. It cautions against capitalistic tendencies that are pegged on the pretence of economic development. This is a novel in which the author deliberately seeks to invite different audiences, through dexterous use of language, including code-mixing, to reflect on the most significant tragedy of modernity: man’s inhumanity. This novel is part of a new tendency in Kiswahili literature in Kenya to address itself to both the traditional Kiswahili literature reader and other interested readers of literature in Kiswahili.

The book was 2nd Runners up for the Wahome Mutahi Literary Award for Adult Kiswahili Fiction Category, 2016.

Youth Category in Kiswahili
Majilio ya Mkombozi by Mwenda Mbatiah – Publishers – Moran Publishers

An interesting narrative that promises the rise of a new social order. The text grapples with realistic social issues and presents characters that are acceptable and identifiable. As a coming of age narrative, the story is laden with moral values of hard work, selflessness, and honesty. It also emphasises the need to appreciate women in nation-building and warns against the destructive forces of greed and corruption. Further, the story cautions against taking advantage of others. This is a classic example of good triumphs over evil sort of story.

Youth Category in English
Ghost and the Fortune Hunters by Goro wa Kamau – Publishers – Longhorn

Publishers- A beautifully crafted story that grapples with the challenges of birth defects and the ignorance of some people towards albinism. It demonstrates the genesis of the problems of the youth and accords them the opportunity to mend their ways without unnecessarily victimising them further. This is a story of self-acceptance, hard work and resilience despite the circumstances.

The book had won the Burt Award in 2016.

Children Category in English
Koko Riko Take it Easy by Muthoni Muchemi – Publishers – Storymoja

An interesting story that presents both animal and human characters. It strongly teaches children the virtues of saving for a rainy day without appearing to impose the theme. The illustrations are appropriate and indicate that the writer revisits the traditional fable mode to convey a moral lesson in a contemporary setting.

The prize is awarded every two years. Kenya Publishers Association congratulates all the winners.

Babu Owino Is a Hero and Should Be Treated As Such

Paul Ongili aka Babu Owino

I was dismayed to see Embakasi East MP elect Babu Owino being arrested for calling an unidentified person mtoto wa umbwa. First, I couldn’t make out what exact crime the maverick had committed until I heard he had been charged with subversion. Subversion?  What’s that? How can calling an unidentified person mtoto wa umbwa lead to the fall of a government? Well, let the courts decide that. But in our sociopolitical culture we do not have something like that. Instead of being thrown into some small dungeon, Babu Owino should have been taken Continue reading “Babu Owino Is a Hero and Should Be Treated As Such”

Muthama Thinks a Duel of Honour Ends Up Honourably

Moses Kuria (left) and Johnson Muthama (right) when they were arraigned in court on charges of incitement.

Former Machakos Senator, Johnson Nduya Muthama, was arrested last week, a second such arrest in two years. Many people suspect various reasons as to why he was arrested. His supporters suspect the government is witch-hunting him. Others suspect he engineers his own arrests by transgressing the law unnecessarily. Police suspect Continue reading “Muthama Thinks a Duel of Honour Ends Up Honourably”

StorymojaFestival@10 – A Galaxy of Stories

A night event at the Storymoja Festival.

We have eyes, but we don’t see. We have ears, but we don’t hear. We can read, but we don’t understand what we read.

It is on that premise that the literati at the University of Nairobi, led by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Taban Lo Liyong, advocated for the complete overhaul of the curriculum at the Department of English so as to see the Continue reading “StorymojaFestival@10 – A Galaxy of Stories”

Hargeysa Experiences: Conversation With Raphael d’Abdon

Raphael d’Abdon

Raphael d’Abdon is a man of two continents, having been born and raised in Udine, a small town in the North East of Italy, and moved to Pretoria, South Africa, in 2008. He is a writer, scholar, editor, and translator and teaches at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. For a man who walks and lives poetry, finding himself in Hargeysa was just another trail in the literary hike. Continue reading “Hargeysa Experiences: Conversation With Raphael d’Abdon”

Hargeysa Experiences: Conversation with Riziki Mumba

Riziki Mumba

Kasichana Riziki Mumba has a vivant demeanor. She describes herself as a lover of art, poetry, literature and music. You’ll find me at almost all the events that have these being showcased and my love for reading helps me to appreciate the books I get to buy and read, she says.

It was no coincidence that she found herself in Somaliland for the Hargeysa International Continue reading “Hargeysa Experiences: Conversation with Riziki Mumba”

Poesy and Its Masters; Evolution of Kariuki wa Nyamu

Kariuki wa Nyamu

Kariuki wa Nyamu won this year’s Babishai Niwe Haiku Prize, after beating sixteen other artists. In exploring the place of poetry in Africa, Wasomi got into conversation with him.

Congratulations first of all for winning the Babishai Niwe Haiku Prize, 2017. For starters, what is Haiku? It sounds so foreign; does it have a place here on the African soil?

Thank you very much for the warm congratulations. Well, a haiku is a three line poem whose origin is Japan. Continue reading “Poesy and Its Masters; Evolution of Kariuki wa Nyamu”