Peace, Binya.

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.

To know more about Binyavanga Wainaina’s book, One Day I Will Write About This Place, click here. You can buy the book by following these links: in the USA, in the UK, in Kenya, and in South Africa.

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.

Early writing

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

Black Mischief

Serving up Home Truths

Shitor; No it’s a Preserve

Kwerekwere in Cape Town

Swahili Cuisine




Prawn Palaver

Jogo of Mathare Valley

Discovering Home: Part 1

Discovering Home: Part 2


Coming Home


All things remaining equal

Travels through Kalenjinland

Discovering Home

Kwani Editorial (1)

Kwani Editorial (2)

Kwani Editorial (3)

Kwani Editorial (4)

Editor’s Rant: PHD (Pull Him Down)

Middle Ground


Hell is in bed with Mrs Peprah
(Read the same story on the British Council site here)

Who invented truth?

Ghana has no politics

A Day in the Life of Idi Amin

Dear Dr. Schwab and Queen of Jordan,

The Most Authentic Real Black Africanest Soccer Team

Search, Sweet Country: A conversation with Kojo Laing

How to be a Dictator

It’s only a matter of acceleration now

Virginia Quarterly Review

Ships in High Transit (2006)


How to write about Africa (2006)

Letter from: In Gikuyu, Of Gikuyu, For Gikuyu (2008)

One Day I Will Write About This Place (2011)

Since Everything Was Suddening Into A Hurricane (2017)

The East African

Joga: Portrait of the Artist as Slum Satirist (2002)

Not tonight darling, I’m still reading Achebe (2003)

The day Kenya went hunting and shot down Sri Lanka (2003)

National Geographic

Inventing a City: Nairobi (2005)

Vanity Fair

Generation Kenya (2007)

New York Times

No country for old hatreds (2008)


How to be an African (2006)


The Senegal of the Mind: An Appreciation

Glory: The Soft Bigotry of Great Expectations

How to Write About Africa Part 2: The Revenge

Harper’s Magazine

Pure Product

The Guardian

At times like this, nations are forged (2008)

Obama: he represents the possibility of a more human way (2008)

How not to write about Africa in 2012, a beginner’s guide (2012)

Kenyans elected a President we felt could bring peace (2013)

An Open Letter to Madonna (2013)

Africa Is a Country

I am a homosexual, mum (2014)

(Simultaneously published in Chimurenga).

A series of 6 videos calling out homophobia

Chinua Achebe remembered (2013)

Brittle Paper

Alien Taste


Boonoonoonoos little bit Boonoonoonoos

Wangechi Mutu wonders why butterfly wings
leave powder on the fingers

Mail & Guardian

Between 2006 and 2009, Binyavanga Wainaina wrote a regular column for the Mail & Guardian in South Africa.

Brand the beloved continent

Born-again sustainability

PHRUUUUUU! The saviour of Kumbayaa

When all else fails … become a writer

On Kapuscinski’s ‘gonzo orientalism’

Africa through the looking glass of pity

Knee-jerk nativism

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

BOMB Magazine

A conversation with Rob Spillman

A conversation with Alain Mabanckou

Business Day

Thank you SA for caring for me, says Kenyan student


If the nation is a car


An affair to dismember

Ankara Press: Valentine’s Day Anthology, 2015

The idea is to be sealed in


How I wrote Hell is in bed with Mrs. Peprah

Writers who have influenced me

Reviews for One Day I Will Write About This Place

Globe & Mail, Canada

The Guardian, UK

The New York Times

The Independent, UK

Star Tribune


London Review of Books

Kirkus Reviews

Time Out

The East African

O: The Oprah Magazine


Kalahari Review


Iowa Review

Ikhide’s Blog

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

The Granta Podcast with Ellah Allfrey

On the Ethics of Aid

The BBC Podcast

NPR: Why Kenya’s Best-Known Writer Decided To Come Out

Half the list of Ships: Binyavanga Wainaina in conversation with Mikhail Iossel

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.