Celebrating East African Writing!

Thank You – And Scaling Heights

The Storymoja HayFestival marks the end of a long writing year here on the Storymoja Writing Community Blog. There’s been lots and lots of learning, entertaining bits of fiction and poetry, challenges and so on and so on. I just want to mark out a few highlights of the year. But before that, a little heads up on the judges before we go on to the Highlights:


We start with the end of the 2009/2010 year, with the winner of the Storymoja/Generation Kenya Kenyan Conversations Writing Contest.

Clifton Gachagua took it home with:

The Gentleman’s Club by Clifton Anthony Gashagua: They come here everyday like stray dogs leaving the comfort of their kennels at home to play in the cul-de-sac. Tole is the oldest. A retired soldier with a mind like an imaginarium, he claims to have met Queen Victoria and fought in the East African Campaign against von Lettow-Vorbeck’s forces.

And then we sampled Flash Fiction & Vignettes and in the course of that walked right into:

Her Friend’s Father: Later that day, in the privacy of her bedroom, hours after she’d attended all her classes and gone home to mum, she’d unbuttoned her blouse and stared at her chest. She’d never really looked at them before. But now she looked.


It’s a Unicorn!: This Flash Short is a mini science fiction piece, set in Nairobi and based on the following lines: 

What is that?

It’s a unicorn.

Never seen one up close before.


Get away, get away.

I’m sorry.

If you want to see what Mwangi did with it, see It’s a Unicorn!

We wanted to see what you could do with Humour, so we brought you Humour-in-an-Envelope, an excercise which added years to my life with the laughter caused by:

Dear Papoose,
I thought it prudent to write you an epistle to help you pass time in your mother’s womb. That way, you will keep yourself busy before that trimester when you get to kick and throw punches at the walls that house you. The second and most divine purpose of this epistle is to give you some Intel on your appointed mother.



I have given this letter to Boi to give it to you when you go to the river today. When you get it read it very fast and hide it so that your parents do not see it. I will send Boi to tell you where we will meet during Market Day on Sunday. Please don’t come with your small brother Zebedayo because I am not sure to buy him a piece of sugarcane this time round. Promise?

Right after that we went and fell in love.

Love in a Kenyan Jiko: When you take up a topic with apprehension and skepticism, it can be really hard to see how you can build it and drive it to creative excellence. So I thought it might be a good idea for us to take a look at some of the classic romance stories ever told. Later we can try and see what options we have with regards to Kenyan Romance Fiction.

Then we acquired a stalker : I got to tell you there’s a whole wide chasm between friendly and stalking friendly. See, you meet someone, online or live-live, and you like them, you don’t get miffed if they call you.  But there’s common courtesy even then. You don’t call people after work hours unless they are friends. You don’t call people after 9pm unless they are family and family friendly. You don’t call people who are not your friends to find out where they are going for the weekend, wearing what and with whom!

After the drama, we went on to find out how Urban Fiction tells the truth about the Universe: There is a great wide open market for urban fiction out there. Why? Because it is one genre of writing that has a no holds barred rule with regards to content, language, style and very importantly, sex. And people want realism with their fiction; honesty about the darkness in us, hard truth about the universe.

The 2010/2011 year has been an Urban Narratives year. Which is why we are closing the year with this contest:


Theme/Topic: This is my African Story

Genre/Category: Urban Narrative

Length: 1500 words (Max word count)


1st Place: Season Pass, a spot in all the workshops for the day, access to Pink Lounge to mingle with the Stars.

2nd Place: Gate Pass for one of the first two days, including entry to all workshops of the day.

Deadline to send in story: Friday 9th September 2011 at 4pm East African Time. Send in your story in word 97 attachment to Make sure you mark in the subject line: Storymoja Hay Festival Short Story Writing Contest (all submissions not marked as such will be disregarded).

In addition to this contest, I would like to thank one of you for visiting and commenting on our blogs, so if you have ever commented here, please send me your name, and the title of at least one article you commented on, I will throw your name into the Thank You Draw, and you may be the very happy winner of a Season Pass. Just Title Your Email Subject: Thank You Draw – send to with your  name & title of story you commented on. Be sure to send this in to me by Midnight East African Time, Sunday, 11th September, 2011.



This entry was posted on September 5, 2011 by in Writer's Blog.
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