The Blogger, the Journalist and the Literatuswith James Murua
We meet James Murua, a blogger, journalist, editor and columnist from Nairobi, Kenya visiting Durban’s humid shores.
As one of the few bloggers covering the African literary scene so comprehensively I wanted to take the opportunity of James’ visit, attending and being a panelist at the Time of the Writer – to pick his brain about what’s happening out there and which authors we should be watching.
I started seeing various blog posts and social media snippets from James Murua around 2015 / 2016 and firstly, started following him on Twitter and secondly, regularly checked into his website: jamesmurua.com
As one of the few bloggers covering the African literary scene so comprehensively I wanted to take the opportunity of James’ visit to Durban attending and being a panelist at the Time of the Writer – Durban’s foremost literature festival – to pick his brain in person about what’s happening out there and which authors we should be watching.
Briefly tracking the last few decades of African literature, we get into the current digital landscape for writers and how some writers are using social media to reach audiences all over the globe. There’s a continent of literary activity to plug into and so much to choose from.
The Belair hotel, on Durban’s Golden Mile, was buzzing with festival delegates as I made my way through the foyer and to the elevators. A relaxed James met me at his door with a smile and promptly offered me an ice cold beer. With James being a self proclaimed fan of beer, I had to end our chat by asking him what his favorite brews are around the continent. But first, let’s get into the African literary scene…
“The Nigerian writer, before they even think about the publisher, before they even sit down and churn out 60,000 words, they will have to go through hell.”
To finish off, James took me up to the top floor where the hotel’s restaurant balcony provided us with a 180 degree view of Durban’s perfect evening sky and beaches: something that never gets old for us locals and it’s always refreshing to see a visitor’s appreciation for it.
James’ List of Where to Start:
- Lesley Nneka Arimah – short story collection, “What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky”
- Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀ – “Stay With Me” set in 1980s Nigeria
- Koleka Putuma – poet – “Collective Amnesia”
- Peter Kimani – Kenya – “Dance of the Jacaranda” (based on the Lunatic Express)
- Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi – Kintu
- Alain Mabanckou – African diaspora in France – writes in French
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Nadifa Mohamed – “Black Mamba Boy” and “The Orchard of Lost Souls”
- Unathi Slasha – Port Elizabeth in SA
- Jennipher M. Zulu – It’s Hard To Keep A Secret
There’s so much to read out in the world in general and African literature has never been stronger in its variety, genres and powerful voices that it’s become hard for me to juggle who to read next. James gave us some great tidbits and who to check out and keep an eye on their future works. We’ll provide some of the names and links in the blog post so check that out.
Check out Time of the Writer and visit next year!