Celebrating East African Writing!

All Time Favorite Story and Writer of 2009

2009 was a great year was it not? In spite of some hard, and sad times that we all went through, personally or as a country, 2009 was a good year, and 2010 will be a better year!

It seems that the larger number of readers at the Storymoja Writers’ Blog seem to be in agreement with regards to which writer and story has made it into the Storymoja Hall of Fame.

With 24 votes of confidence, Stephen Mwangi has been voted as the writer who has both entertained you and developed most in 2009. The Stephen’s Story that is favored most is: I am Dust.

Following closely with19 votes is Sandra Mushi, who has regaled us week after week with stories born in Tanzania.

In third place is Reena Shah, who although contributed only once towards the end of the year, apparently impressed you guys so much that you voted for her 15 times.

I am sure you all agree with me when I say, that we all look forward to hearing more from these three writers, and many other out there who are still hiding their incredible talent at playing with words!

As for the best critique of 2009, I have had quite an interesting time re-reading all the comments that have been made here over the month. After much thought, I have am still torn at awarding Oluoch Madiang’ the star for this comment:

Hmmm…Mbuthia certainly marvels at using adjectives at every turn! Ha ha haa! Not bad though. I do fall for that temptation too many times. We tend to over-elaborate sometimes. We want to explain and describe everything, from the street to the toe to the silence to the mind etc. Yet, a short story gives us only so much space within which to narrate a powerful event.

Of course Simon will in the near future overcome this tendency and develop a some restraint. The story is credible and you get the feel of the twin burden that most job-seekers have: of finding a job and also satisfying your folks. Sometimes I wonder whether or not interviewers ponder the effort that people make to just but only appear before them. maybe this should be a tory to be circulated to HROs. It might just jolt them out of their towers of self importance.

A great read, Simon!

Or handing the star over to Our Man in America for:

Once you have learned how to tell a story in English it’s very easy to take a story and create a fusion. Remember this: You are a Kale storyteller who just happens to tell stories in English, so don’t let those great Kale storytelling techniques give way for English ones. (I grew up with Kales in rural Nakuru District and my favorite time in school was listening to my classmate Eric Koech tell stories).

One other thing I have also started doing is writing in Ekegusii. Read here what my initial response was when Ngugi wa Thiong’o asked me to consider writing in my mother tongue:

Like you, I noticed is that in some aspects my language has a very different and inflexible format than English. For example, when quoting in English you can write: Mr. Square said, “I’m tired.” Or, “I’m tired,” Mr. Square said. In Ekegusii it doesn’t make sense to use the latter.

I’m not sure you’re interested in writing in your beautiful language, but try it. It’s very liberating.

Hmmm…any help anyone? Stephen, please contact me to find out how to get your prize. This might help you decide which of the Storymoja books you might like to receive.

There will be plenty of opportunities for all of you to showcase your work, as well as win Storymoja books, event tickets and even cash! One such opportunity that you have do so is the Man and His Goat Picture Prompt Writing Contest which was reopened and the deadline placed at January 15th, 2009. All you have to do is write a 500-1000 word story inspired by the picture and send it to Storymoja will pay Ksh 1500 prize by M-pesa or Zap to the  most interesting story. Please mark in the subject of your submission email: Man and his Goat Picture Prompt Writing Competition, and attach in Word 97 compatible document. All stories that do not adhere to the rules will not be considered.

Besides the writing competition – If you would like your story to feature on the writers’ blog, please send in your work by every Friday at 4pm, in word 97-2003 format, and in not more than 1200 words to

Here’s to happy and prosperous times in 2010!


5 comments on “All Time Favorite Story and Writer of 2009

  1. mr round square
    January 4, 2010

    a tie:) let’s vote. i’d vote for ‘our man in america.’ after that talk, i went ahead and chipped in a kalee flavouring to my story. & lol..the experience was rewarding, as you can read:

    ‘As I lay, my ears picked a resigned melancholy from a song of a bird only familiar with the memories from my childhood, and there was no way it could have found its way to Paris. I picked myself up and sat to listen to its urgent plea. My grandmother had told me the bird was a goodwill messenger looking for Kibeles, a blacksmith working in a far, far away land, for his wife whom he had left months ago heavy with child, had given birth to a bouncing baby boy, but were now being nursed and fattened by a man-eating mean ogre. He had to leave his pursuits and hurry back home:

    ‘Oiyee chakte chichi,
    Mi chemosit kapchi!’

    I had to hurry up! I never left any wife back home, but the pregnant connotation was clear as day from that messenger of wet news, and started shaking with gigantic goosebumps like a squirrel in the talons of a falcon. I sweat, despite the cold weather, like a giant grasshopper in the hands of John the Baptist. Did it matter the nature of weather for the unfortunate grasshopper? Its fate was in the jaws of the Baptist!’

    & as you can see, you need lose no nuances, as it’s bird langwage 😉


  2. Our Man In America
    January 12, 2010

    Thanks, Mr. Round. I’m glad my two cents contributed to what seems — from your excerpt — like a rich story. Keep writing!!!!!


  3. Our Man In America
    January 12, 2010

    P.S: Juliet, I think the voting should close now 🙂 May I please have my Star now?


  4. Storymoja Africa
    January 12, 2010

    The voting did stop, but the gears in my head keep shifting. Both of you, Oluoch Madiang’ and Edwin Okongo are very good writers. You obviously have taken the lessons that time taught you and used them to develop your writing to great heights. For that reason, you both have our deepest gratitude for the support and contributions you have given to both the blog and individual writers.

    A Star, great and bright, for each one of you!


  5. Jesse Callahan
    February 10, 2010

    Between me and my wife we would have to say this is an awfully informative post that needs mentioning elsewhere. This is for 2 types of people: current writers who are considering a other position, and people trying to choose to become a writer.


Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on January 4, 2010 by in Archives 2009 / 2010, Writing.
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