Wednesday, April 25, 2018


'See, how can you murder another brother because he's weak?
Your ancestors could have been cousins, so take a seat
And try and reason with your brother, fam, before you beef
I'm just a spectator looking in from my view
I'm not different or special, I'm just like you
Bleed blood and shed tears when my heart's hurting
I get energy from everything in life, I'm learning
How to say my thoughts, release my stress through my words'
- From 'Spectator', a song by Logic (UK rapper)
A female student is rescued from the contact zone by a KDF soldier (Photo:
 The ‘One Million Project’ (OMP) Thriller Anthology is A gripping short story collection by 40 authors from around the world who have come together to raise money in the fight against cancer and homelessness. All OMP proceeds after production costs will go to cancer research and to homeless charities. One of the tales in the e-book is a fictionalized account of the 2nd April 2015 Garissa College terrorist attack. On that day, heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants (an Al-Qaeda offshoot) stormed the Garissa University College in north-eastern Kenya, killing 148 people and injuring 79 others. The attackers were themselves killed by security agents in the ensuing rescue mission. The commemorative short story, authored by Alexander Nderitu, is titled Live From Garissa.

Alexander Nderitu, a Business Daily ‘Top 40 Under 40’ personality, is a Kenyan novelist, poet and playwright. His other works of fiction include include When the Whirlwind Passes (Kenya’s first e-novel), Kiss Commander Promise (short stories)  and The Moon is made of Green Cheese (poetry). 

The One Million Project is a global network of writers working together to raise £1,000,000 for charity (Cancer Research UK and the homeless charity EMMAUS). This year, they released three themed anthologies (Thriller, Fantasy and Fiction), each featuring forty short stories.
Key people in the book project included:
Jason Greenfield (UK) - Editor / Project Coordinator. He compiled the entire anthology.
Sue Baron (USA) – Thriller Anthology Editor
Soleil Daniels (USA) – Editor / Project Manager 

The OMP: Thriller Anthology was launched in the UK on 20th February 2018 and is available worldwide via ( 079KHF6ZH)

Title: One Million Project: Thriller Anthology
Format: Amazon Kindle Edition
Print Length: 486 pages
ISBN: 1985031272
Author: Various
Publisher: OMP Publishing (20 Feb. 2018)
Language: English


Short Stories for Charity from Around the Globe — One Million Project 


Monday, April 23, 2018


Date: 22nd March 2018
Venue: Simba Corp Aspire Centre, Westlands
Photos: Alex Nderitu

#Top40Under40 #BMWKenya

Alexander Nderitu, author of When The Whirlwind Passes 


A section of Kenya's Top 40 Under 40 Men 

Right this way, gentlemen...

'The best fame is a writer's fame. It's enough to get you a table at a good restuarant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.' - Fran Lebowitz

With motivational speaker/writer Bonnie Kim

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Japanese is the fifth most-spoken language in the world. It is spoken by an estimated 130 million people, mostly inside Japan itself. (Only about 5 million speakers abroad.) A few Japanese words - such as 'karaoke', 'koi', 'sushi' and 'Zen' - have made it into the global lexicon. According to, 'The origin of Japanese is in considerable dispute amongst linguists. Evidence has been offered for a number of sources: Ural-Altaic, Polynesian, and Chinese among others. Of these, Japanese is most widely believed to be connected to the Ural-Altaic family, which includes Turkish, Mongolian, Manchu, and Korean within its domain.'

Despite its rather modest land mass, Japan (aka 'The Land of The Rising Sun') has a population of about 126,700 million and has the world's 3rd-largest economy by GPD (According to World Bank, Japan's GDP stood at USD$ 4,383.6 trillion in 2015!). Japan is located west of the Pacific Ocean, in the Northern Hemisphere. Its immediate neighbours include the Republic of Korea, China and Russia. It covers a total of 145,936 square kilometers and is governed by a Prime Minister, his Cabinet, a Cabinet Secretariat, 13 ministries and various 'agencies'.  

The Japanese national flag, ‘Nisshoki’

Edited by writer/translator Kazue Daikoku, Happa-no-Kofu, is a non-profit initiative that shares 'world literature' online. Since 2000, the project has translated numerous short stories, essays, poems and haiku from all over the world and published them on the on the World Wide Web. In addition to English to Japanese translations, they have also published Japanese-to-English, French and Spanish works. Below is a list of some of the African scribes they have translated over the years, and the links to the translations.

 A. Igoni Barrett (Photo: Victor Ehikhamenor)

A. Igoni Barrett (Nigeria) is best known for his debut novel, Blackass, which critics have compared to Kafka's Metamorphosis. He is also the recipient of a Chinua Achebe Center Fellowship, a Norman Mailer Center Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency, and winner of the 2005 BBC World Service short story competition. The story below is titled The Shape of a Full Circle:


Glaydah Namukasa (Photo: Hay Festival)

Glaydah Namukasa (Uganda) is a Ugandan writer and midwife (yes, midwife). She has two novels under her belt, Voice of a Dream (winner of the 2005 / 2006 Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa-Senior Prize) and Deadly Ambition, and is a member of the Ugandan Women Writer's Association (FEMRITE). She is a Michael and Marilee Fairbanks International Fellow, and a writer in residence at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) and Ledig House International (USA). In 2008 she was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow by the International Writers Program (IWP), University of Iowa, USA. Her short stories have been published in anthologies in Uganda, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. The story below is titled Dreams, Dreams and Dreams!:

Alexander Nderitu (Photo:

Alexander Nderitu (Kenya) is a novelist, poet and playwright. His debut novel, When the Whirlwind Passes, was the Africa’s first purely digital novel. In 2014, his poem ‘Someone in Africa Loves You’ appeared on BBC Commonwealth Postcards. Some of his works have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Swedish and Kiswahili. In 2017, Business Daily ranked him among Kenya’s ‘Top 40 Under 40 Men’. The essay below is titled A Game for Heroes...If You Believe the Hype:

Unoma Azuah (Photo: Courtesy)

Unoma Nguemo Azuah (Nigeria) is a educator, writer and activist. The holder of an MFA graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (USA), she teaches Composition and Creative Writing at Lane College in Tennessee. She also has an MA in English from Cleveland State University and undergraduate degree in English is from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (where she edited the English department literary journal, The Muse). She is also a recipient of a Hellman/Hammett award, Urban Spectrum award, the Leonard Trawick award and the Association of Nigerian Authors/NDDC Flora Nwapa award for her debut novel Sky-high Flames. The following short story is titled Sirens:

Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Photo: ACCRA dot ALT)
Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Ghana) is a well-known writer, editor, socio-cultural commentator and performance poet. His d├ębut novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, was shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Prize and he was one of 39 writers aged under 40 from sub-Saharan Africa who in April 2014 were named as part of the Hay Festival's prestigious Africa39 project. The recipient of Ghana's national ACRAG award (for poetry and literary advocacy), Nii’s work has been translated into Italian, French, Chinese, Dutch, German and Arabic. The following story is titled kwasida – nkyi kwasi:

Chika Unigwe (Photo: Sunday Times Books LIVE)

Chika Unigwe (Nigeria) is best known for the ‘immigrant novel’, On Black Sisters' Street. Born in Enugu, Nigeria, Chika holds a Ph.D in Literature from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Her debut novel, De Feniks, was published in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Vrouw en Kultuur debuutprijs for the best first novel by a female writer. She won the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award. In 2004, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In the same year, her short story made the top 10 of the Million Writers Award for best online fiction. In 2005, she won third prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest. Like Nii Ayikwei Parkes, she was one of 39 writers aged under 40 from sub-Saharan Africa who were listed as literary movers and shakers in the Hay Festival's Africa39 project. The following short story by Chika is titled The Curse:

Monica Arac de Nyeko (Photo: Courtesy)

Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) writer of short fiction, poetry, and essays. She was the first Ugandan to win the Caine Prize for African Writing (for Jambula Tree, 2007). She had previously been shortlisted for the same prize in 2004 for Strange Fruit. She is a member of Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE) and the chief editor of T:AP Voices. Her personal essay In the Stars won first prize in the Women's World, Women in War Zones essay writing competition. Her work has appeared is such publications as Memories of Sun, The Nation, IS magazine, Poetry International, inter alia. Like the two others above, she was an Africa39 writer. The following story by Monica is titled, The Banana Eater:

Mubanga Mulapa (Photo: Courtesy)

Mubanga Mulapa (Zambia) was born in the copper-mining town of Mufulira. He studied at the University of Zambia, before pursuing post graduate studies in Germany. A practicing engineer currently living in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, his literary works include The Ballad of Rwanda and Other Poems.The following piece by Mubanga is titled Another Life:

Amos Tutuolas (Photo: bakhall_com)

Amos Tutuola (Nigeria) was best known for his fantastic tales inspired by the folklore of his ancestral Yoruba people. He was born on June 20, 1920 and died in June 1997. His works included My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1954), Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle (1956), The Brave African Huntress (1958), The Feather Woman of the Jungle (1962), The Witch Herbalist of the Remote Town (1980), The Wild Hunter in the Bush of the Ghosts (1982) and Pauper, Brawler, Slanderer (1987). His Yoruba-mythology-based tales were not only popular in Africa but in the US and UK as well. Theatrical and operatic adaptations his story, The Palm-Wine Drinkard, also met with success. The following short story by Amos is titled Ajantala, the Noxious Guest, is Born:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



‘Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.’- Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

'Artists often have a hard time getting their art work out there and appreciated. And it's not because it's not good work. It could be amazing work. But it's because you don't have the marketing/communication skills to let people know what you are doing.' - Evan Carmicheal, entrepreneurial advisor, on 'How to Promote Your Book Without Spending Money'

‘How to Get Publicity' is one-day workshop designed to teach marketers and promoters how to save money and still promote brands/businesses by relying more on FREE publicity than on money-guzzling advertising campaigns.

APPLY HERE: (Advance tickets only)

Good for: Marketers, PR practitioners, Event organizers/promoters, Small-to-Middle-Sized Business Owners, Aspiring Politicians, Entertainers (in any genre)
Venue: 4th Flr, Norwich Union House Towers, Nairobi City (adjacent to Hilton Hotel)

Limited places available: 15 pax
Registration fee: Kshs 1,000/=
Date: Saturday, May 12th, 2018
In this workshop, you will learn about:

• Publicity vs Advertising
• Marketing Basics
• Some Publicity Success Stories
• How to Approach the Mainstream Media and Bloggers
• Network Marketing
• The Importance of Branding
• E-mail Marketing
• Going International


Tuesday, January 30, 2018


by Alexander Nderitu
Vera Omwocha, an upcoming Kenyan writer has been unveiled as the winner of the Italian-sponsored Tito Livio Literary Award for a 'short story on a historical subject.' Ms Omwocha is a writer, editor and book reviewer. 
Vera Omwocha (Photo: Courtesy)
Announcing the winner on  January 29, 2018, the Italian ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency Mauro Massoni, had this to say:

'Tito Livio Award follows a five-day Creative Writing Seminar “History & Stories” for young writers aged between 18 and 30 organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in collaboration with the literary magazine SugarPulp and the Chronicae Literary Festival.

Twenty-six writers participated in the seminar which was held at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in November 2017.  Fourteen of these entered the competition and submitted their short stories.

Following the selection by the jury comprising Prof. Carlo A. Martigli, Prof. Giacomo Brunoro, Prof. Matteo Strukul, Prof. Paola Ranzato and Dr. Matteo Ogliari, it is my pleasure to congratulate Ms. Vera Omwocha on having been nominated as the winner.   The Tito Livio Award offers a return air-ticket to Italy, board and lodging for four days and the participation in the 4th edition of the prestigious Chronicae Literary Festival in Padua, Italy, in 2018.  An honour indeed for a young writer.'

The writing contest was dubbed 'Tito Livio Literary Contest' in honor of Roman historian Titus Livius (born in Padua) who died 2,000 years ago.

Italian historian Titus Livius
Francesca Chiesa, the then Director Italian Cultural Centre in Nairobi, opened the 5-day training exercise that preceded the contest by introducing the facilitators:  Angela Loi, Italian Deputy Ambassador; Carlo Martigli, writer/journalist; Giacomo Brunoro, SugarCon-Sugarpulp Convention and president of Chronicae International Festival of the Historical Novel; and Alexander Nderitu, Kenyan writer, poet and playwright. Francesca emphasized the importance of literature in chronicling historical events:

 ‘By writing (about our cultures) we can preserve this beauty.’

But she was also quick to point out that some forms of writing were more profitable than others:

‘If you are a poet, you don’t eat. If you write historical fiction, you eat – and drink!’

Francesca had recently returned from an archaeological mission to the Kenyan coast, where many Italians reside. Her particular area of interest is underwater archaeology. ‘Many Kenyans don’t know the ancient history of Kenya,’ she said, adding that the Roman Empire traded with Kenyan Coastarians in ‘the first century after Christ’. She went on to say that Kenyan history is much more than the liberation struggle and the way to bring it out was through stories: 

‘It is better to read a novel about history than read a book (about it) in the library.’

Francesca added that herself having been born in Padua, Italy, she was fascinated to learn that the Chronicae and SugarPulp, historical and pop culture festivals, were based in her hometown. However, prior to learning more about the SugarPulp fest (incorporating literature, comic books and entertainment), the main thing she related to ‘pulp’ culture was Quentin Tarantino (writer/director of the film Pulp Fiction).

From nearest to furthest on this row: Angela Loi, Carlo Martgli, Matteo Ogliari, Alex Nderitu and Gabriel Ndinda (Photo: Courtesy)
After some brief remarks by Angela Loi, Carlo Martigli talked about his background. ‘My passion since I was a boy was to write,’ he said. Until recently, however, he was a banker – and still had the demeanour. His first book sold only 2,000 copies but won a lot of awards. His most recent effort had reached a million in sales. He concurred with Francesca that, unlike poetry, the historical novel was doing well:

‘Everyone knows Dan Brown who writes historical fiction, some of it based in Italy...If you write a novel that get published and sells 10,000 copies you can earn a lot of euros at current prices.’

He gave a tip to the Titus Livos Award contestants:

‘Be original. When one presents workd to a publisher, the publisher should say, ‘‘Wow! Great idea.’’ ’ 

With the confidence of a Supreme Court judge delivering a ruling, he said that the five things one need to be successful in writing were (1) Heart/Passion (2) Mind/Brain (3) Competence – writing about something you know well (4) patience and (5) Luck.

Left to right: Matteo Ogliari,  Carlo Martgli and Giacomo Brunoro (Photo: Courtesy)
Giacomo Brunoro resembled American poet Allen Ginsberg. All the male Italians were bearded but he was the only dark-haired one. He said that SugarPulp, which includes a literary magazine in English and Italian, was ‘born’ in 2008, inspired by pulp fiction and noir. Chronicae, a festival dedicated to historical fiction, was ‘born’ in 2014. He said:

‘The mission of SugarPulp/Chronicae is simple but revolutionary. The content is entertaining and literary, unlike school material. There’s a lot of entertainment.’

He said that ‘pulp’ referenced several things one of which was the phenomenon of publishing low-cost novels on cheap paper which birthed the term ‘pulp literature/fiction’.  Like the pulp novels, SugarPulp is for ‘everyone.’

This was Matteo Ogliari’s second visit to Kenya, having been here two years ago to conduct research on the electrification of Nairobi city, as part of a thesis he was then working on:

‘I was investigating the cultural impact of electricity, like how electricity was used during the colonial period.’ 

He said that in the course of the workshop, he would give the attendees ‘a guided tour’ of the McMillan Library in order to teach them ‘how to use a historical research source’. He used the word 'source' a lot. Even the title of his session had it: ‘History, Memory, Representation: Sources For History In African Contexts’.

Event poster, showing key trainers
The participants of the Historical Writing Workshop were young Kenyan writers, below 30 years of age, some of them university students. They include Gabriel Ndinda, founder of The Writers Guild; Brian Gondosio, former editor of Campus Diary; Verah Omwocha, a writer and editor; Alexis Teyie, a poetry editor with Enkare Review; and Peter Ngila who had recently returned from writing residencies in Iceland and Nigeria. 

Related links:

Related video:


About the author of this article:

Alexander Nderitu is a Kenyan author, poet and playwright. A former official of PEN Kenya Centre, in 2017 Nderitu was named by Business Daily newspaper as one of Kenya's 'Top 40 Under 40 Men'. 
Instagram:  @alexander_nderitu