Celebrating East African Writing!

What’s in a Name? – Shortlisted Stories

Wow! That’s been one lovely weekend sorting through your entries to the ‘My Name is…’ Contest. Although as per our schedule we should be announcing the December Short Story today, things will have to be a little slower as the judges mull over the final decision.

The December Short Story will be announced on Friday. In the meantime, please read through the shortlist of 4 and tell us what you think.

The Tribe in my Name: 

The smiling ‘jailbird’ kept his eyes on me.

“And your names please Ma’am?” Rotich wanted to know.

Now you ask!

“Betty…” I considered which surname to give. “…Chebet” I settled.



“Ma, why did you name me Anyap?” I asked my mother one day. I was ten and in tears after being insulted at the playground. What I really wanted to ask her was “How could you name your son Anyap? How could you dare to foresee my future and summarize it in a single obnoxious word? How could you, Ma?” but I didn’t because sometimes she was tired and unhappy and her temper was frail.

“Ask your father,” she said dismissively. But my father had been dead for eight years. I went to his grave and furiously hurled rocks at it while calling him a witch and hoping he would resurrect and get hurt.


Leo Nangoye:

Mother takes my hand, and starts to lead me away.

“Come, Leo, let’s wait somewhere else before –”

“What is that BITCH doing here?”

The voice rings across the churchyard. Everyone stops talking and turns towards the voice.

The veiled woman is standing in the huge doorway of the church, surrounded by many people. The three girls who sang are with her. She has thrown away the veil – it is lying in the dust. She is staring right at us, pointing at Mother.



“But mama, everyone else is going to bring their parents. Why do I have to go with Sisi? Its not fair!!”

“Nanga, I called Mrs Peplum and explained the situation to her. She said it’s just fine” her mother responded, pacifying her. Mrs Ndyebo had sunk her body in a cloudy bed of lavender foam bath and her face appeared comically bodiless, sticking out of the foamy bubbles. Her daughter had her mother’s skin, like tan leather, and eyes-they looked like someone had simply cut slits in their foreheads.

“But what if my friends think she is my mother! It’s my first school and everyone will be looking.”

“And what would be wrong with that baby? Sisi is like a mother to you” Mrs Ndyebo pacified her daughter behind closed eyes.


P.S. There were lots of wonderful stories sent in, some were brilliant but did not fit into the instructions we gave, and some just did not cut the mark of creativity we were looking for. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and we hope to have you join us again for the January Challenge!



This entry was posted on December 2, 2013 by in Writer's Blog.
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