Table of Contents | 100 African Writers of SFF — Part One: Nairobi
(An earlier version of this chapter was published at Tor.com in July 2016.) An African writer who makes mix tapes of game soundtracks. A Nairobi filmmaker with Nietzsche on his smart phone. A chess champion who loves Philip K. Dick. An African SF poet who quotes the Beatniks … meet the new New Wave in Nairobi, Kenya. Part One of Geoff Ryman's 100 African Writers of SFF. You can read through the whole chapter by following the "next" links at the end of each interview, or jump to a specific interview by using the links below. Start with the introduction. You can always return to this chapter index by clicking on the "100 African Writers of SF—Part One" link at the top of each interview, and return to the overall project index by clicking on the 100African category, or clicking here.
What I was not expecting was that so many young East African writers would be so involved in experiments with form and language.
"Africans have always told stories with lots of symbolism. We have always created magical worlds in our stories that symbolize."
“African oral tradition did not have genres per se but just had different kinds of stories. In Western literary tradition SF and Fantasy are considered a niche but they are mainstream in the African oral tradition.”
"I’ve always been interested in the nonsensical, especially the nonsensical body, the body not making sense, the body mangled up."
My good fortune in Nairobi was to have Dilman vouchsafe to my tablet the first cut of his film, Her Broken Shadow .
"We have now made English our own language, and are making new languages."
"If you leave to go live in the diaspora you really won’t know. The dynamics are changing so fast. You are going to be out of date quickly."
"We were fed up with magazines that never responded or which gave no feedback. We wanted to be different, more inclusive."
“I’m still exploring, finding a voice and finding stories I want to tell. I’m no longer scared to explore."
Alexis Teyie, the team behind the Usoni TV Series, Jim Chuchu, John Gichuki, Robert Munuku, Sanya Noel, and Wanuri Kahiu.
What is happening in Nairobi is a synthesis that learns from the stories and languages of local people, from science fiction, from experimental and literary Western fiction, and from new technology.
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