Celebrating East African Writing!
Kenya is many things to different people.
Kenya is home.
Kenya is a second home.
Kenya is beautiful.
Kenya is poor.
Kenya is violent.
Kenya is free.
Kenya is a no-go zone.
Kenya is a must go country.
Kenya is the Big Five.
Kenya is Westgate Mall.
Kenya is South C.
Kenya is Kibera.
Kenya is Pwani.
Or maybe not.
Kenya is Masai Mara.
Or maybe Narok.
Kenya is Baragoi.
Or maybe Eastlands.
Kenya is love.
Kenya is me.
Kenya is you.
Kenya is what?
Outside Looking In is a writing contest looking for the perspective of someone looking in.
Your main persona is either a
– foreigner who lives and works in Kenya
– kenyan living and working outside Kenya
Your entry can be poetry or short prose or a mixture of both.
Your entry should not be longer than 450 words.
Your entry does not necessarily have to be a direct explanation or description of Kenya. It can be a snapshot of emotion, a moment, a feeling, a prayer, whatever you want it to be.
Contests opens November 22, 2012 at 8am. Send in your submissions to email@example.com and mark the subject line as OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.
Deadline is December 5, 6pm.
Prize for top entry: Autugraphed copy of Cut of my Tongue written by Sitawa Namwalie.
Before you go off to start writing, here is a moment captured by Eme Ferreira a 23 year old Spanish lady living and working in Kenya.
“Kaĩ ũtoĩ noowe kĩambĩrĩria na kĩrĩkĩro gĩakwa (…)
Horera, horeria meciria.
Nĩgũo ngoro yakwa nayo
Igĩe na thayo ta wa toro
Horeria meciria.” (Njeri Wanjari)
“¿No sabes que tú eres mi principio y mi final?
Relaja tu mente
Para que mi corazón
Pueda facilitar tu sueño.
Relaja tu mente.” (Njeri Wanjari)
I have begun to read poetry in Kikuyu to the psychiatric patients. I started doing it because, strangely, I realized that when I asked: How are you?, Where is the pain?, Do you have any relatives? … their minds closed off and they looked at me like they wanted to escape.
So I thought it was a good idea. And I watch them, secretly, between the lines. The first day I was anxiously watching their minds turning into a sort of rift. But they stayed. There. Listening.
The second day I saw great emotional receptiveness, until one of them tried to lick me. I asked why. He answered: those words are gnawing something inside me. I stopped to look at his face.
– Tell me about it– I said.
–Will you stay reading forever?– he asked.
–No– I smiled.
–Then stop making me have these reassuring feelings– and then he started crying.
At night I wrote about wrecking each other’s lives. Always. Everything is a war, everything is like if thoughts cannot be beautiful without turning into sin. Everything is pain over here. And I can’t help them because I can’t even help myself. And, obviously, I can’t help you either.