Binyavanga Wainaina was an award-winning writer who was translated and published around the world, and whose acclaimed work includes the book, One Day I Will Write About This Place, as well as the iconic essays, How to write about Africa and I am a homosexual, mum.
After founding and running Kwani?, a groundbreaking literary magazine in Kenya, Binyavanga Wainaina taught at Williams College, Union College, and the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop, served as the Director of the Chinua Achebe Centre at Bard College, and received numerous honours and fellowships, including from the Lannan Foundation and Africa’s Out!.
In 2002, he won the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2011, he won the the Sister Mariella Gable Prize for his memoir. In 2014, he was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. At some point in between all this, he wittily declined an offer from the Queen of Jordan to become a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.
After surviving a series of strokes, Binyavanga Wainaina passed away in Nairobi at 10 pm on the 21st of May, 2019, missed and mourned by his family, friends, and a multitude of readers.
Binyavanga Wainaina’s earliest published writing (late 1990s to early 2000s) was for several South African publications, including Y Magazine, Cape Times, and the Mail & Guardian. We are unable to locate these essays. He wrote several essays for the Sunday Times, South Africa, commissioned by Andrew Unsworth, which are unavailable on their online archive. He also regularly wrote for G21: The World’s Magazine, edited by the late Rod Amis. Unfortunately, some of these essays are unavailable. If you have access to early piece you can’t see here, please send us an email.
G21: The world’s magazine
Virginia Quarterly Review
The East African
New York Times
Africa Is a Country
(Simultaneously published in Chimurenga).
Mail & Guardian
Between 2006 and 2009, Binyavanga Wainaina wrote a regular column for the Mail & Guardian in South Africa.
Brand the beloved continent
PHRUUUUUU! The saviour of Kumbayaa
When all else fails … become a writer
On Kapuscinski’s ‘gonzo orientalism’
Africa through the looking glass of pity
Beware white men with briefcases
Prepare for the African writing revolution
Fear and loathing in London
In search of coherence
Goodwill hunting with Monsieur Sarkozee
The perils of truthism
Majimbo mania in Kenyan poll
Retirement home for life presidents
Time to stop play-acting nationhood
Down with Obama (up with Obama)
Oxfamming the whole black world
Pinned and wriggling on the wall
Aspiration with nowhere to fly to
Truth and Lies in Eldoret
Incapable of seeing our value
Put your best ideas forward
Throwing fuel on a dying fire
It’s official. I am a diabetic
Schooling for small minds
Da revolution is on da phone
To make a king
C’mon everybody let’s do a Kibaki
If only Ngugi wa Thiong’o knew
The quiet despair of a dying nation
The aspiring dictator’s guide
Beat me Barack!
Yesterday, today and tomorrow
Africa: Bent out of shape
It’s a brand new world, baby
Woozy in a wobbling world
Winds of change at the press of a button
Our national spirit is in a coma
Ankara Press: Valentine’s Day Anthology, 2015
Reviews for One Day I Will Write About This Place
Audio + Video
“If you are to ask me what are the greatest issues in Africa, I would say it is that people love, people fuck, people kiss, people speak.” From the Guardian Books Podcast
We’re doing our best to add on as many articles as we can find; if you see something missing here, please send us a quick email with the content of the article.