Wanjeri Gakuru, Kenyan writer and journalist: “We see and feel and taste this family’s realities so vividly”

A contribution from our #100DaysofAfricanReads collaboration

What are your ‘African Books to Inspire’?

  1. Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owour

This beautiful and difficult book poignantly captures loss of family, self and nationhood. Yvonne weaves a sorrowful tale that takes Kenyans to lands and mindscapes that live ever so richly on a page. How to thank her is the question.

  1. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Conversations in an African home typically revolve around religion, money and family. In the pages of this book we see and feel and taste this family’s realities so vividly that we pray it is all fiction but know all too well the silent horrors many live through.

  1. Scarlet Song by Mariama Bâ

Romantic love is complicated enough without repressive aspects of African culture. Tackling the woes of a marriage unduly gone sour with generosity and a steady gaze, Mariama documents Cinderella’s Unhappy Ending with muted melodrama.

Wanjeri Gakuru is a creative writer and freelance magazine journalist living and working in Nairobi.  Wanjeri is also a member of pan-African writers’ collective, Jalada.

Tomorrow (Friday 3rd July) 6.30pm at the British Library, journalist Hannah Pool will be talking to Africa39 writers Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Ndinda Kioko, Nadifa Mohamed, Chibundu Onuzo and Nii Ayikwei Parkes about their favourite African literature titles. Join us at Africa Writes for ‘African Books to Inspire’ to continue this conversation and for an evening of books and inspiration.


Jalada will also be part of our panel exploring the literary magazines that have shaped the production and reception of African literature and ideas ‘Charting New Platforms, Ideas and Forms: The Place of Literary Magazines in African Literature’ on Sunday 5th July at 1.30pm.