Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Binyavanga Wainaina was born in Kenya in 1971. He attended Mangu High School and Lenana School before studying commerce at the University of Transkei. He then moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where he has worked for some years as a freelance food and travel writer.
His writings have been featured in renowned media houses, such as
The EastAfrican, National Geographic, Granta, The New York Times and the Guardian UK. Binyavanga aunt, the novelist Rebeca Njauwrote, who was published by Heineman’s African Writers Series in the Sixties, is the major inspiration to him.

In 2002 Binyavanga Wainaina won the prestigious Caine Prize for literature at an award ceremony held in Oxford, UK, for his short story Discovering Home.

In January 2007, Binyavanga Wainaina was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a "Young Global Leader" - an award given to people for "their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world." He subsequently declined the award. In a letter to Klaus Schwab and Queen Rania of Jordan, he wrote:

"I assume that most, like me, are tempted to go anyway because we will get to be ‘validated’ and glow with the kind of self-congratulation that can only be bestowed by very globally visible and significant people...And we are also tempted to go and talk to spectacularly bright and accomplished people – our “peers.We will achieve Global Institutional Credibility for our work, as we have been anointed by an institution that many countries and presidents bow down to.

The problem here is that I am a writer. And although, like many, I go to sleep at night fantasizing about fame, fortune and credibility, the thing that is most valuable in my trade is to try, all the time, to keep myself loose, independent and creative…it would be an act of great fraudulence for me to accept the trite idea that I am “going to significantly impact world affairs."

He was the founding editor and publisher of Kwani?. Outside his literary career, he is a leading authority on African cuisine having collected an astounding 13,000 African cuisines. He is presently a Writer-in-Residence at Union College in Schenectady, NY (USA), where he is teaching, lecturing and working on a novel.


Wainaina interview with National Geographic Reporter click here


luihamu said...

African Liz,



Anonymous said...

Hi Liz. Very cool. I love your style. Keep it up!