His story “The Lifebloom Gift” was shortlisted for the 2016 Caine Prize, one of two speculative fiction stories nominated for this literary award. “The Lifebloom Gift” starts with a narrator who may suffer delusions and who believes himself transformed by Ted Lifebloom, a neurologically different individual who doesn’t believe anything exists unless he can touch it. There are other Lifebloomers whom Ted can activate—communicating through their moles. If the narrator is not entirely delusional, then this is a fantasy—once he is bloomed, his male nipples start to lactate. The story came about during Abdul’s time in St. Louis working as a health transporter after having driven a woman home from hospital to a small town. On the porch, he saw her odd son who gave him the strangest, warmest smile. The writing style is detached, ironical, and very funny—it could have been written by Donald Barthelme. The story is in part, he says, about the unearned gift of charisma, and how different people move at different speeds. Abdul is originally from Somalia, having lived many years in Kenya before coming to work in the USA, and seems to be something of an autodidact, citing Dostoyevsky and Nabokov among his favourite books. I met him at the Africa Writes conference in London in June of 2016, but didn’t succeed in getting an interview.
The Caine Prize-nominated “The Lifebloom Gift” is available to read from their website. His story “Making Corrections” was first published in the journal African Writing and is available online at Arab Book World.
is a twenty-two-year-old Kenyan. Until recently, she was studying history at Amherst College in the USA, but in October 2016, she returned to Kenya. She hoards poems and hopes her own poetry and speculative fiction will be worth saving someday. Her work is included in the Afrofuture(s) anthology and in the Language anthologies from Jalada. Her other SFF work appears in the 2016 anthology Imagine Africa 500, edited by Shadreck Chikoti. Her work has also featured in Q-Zine, This is Africa, African Youth Journals, and Black Girl Seeks, and the anthology Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa.
Cherie Lindiwe, Denver Ochieng, Joel Tuganeio, and Marc Rigaudis
are the team behind Usoni, a Kenyan TV series in which volcanic ash darkens Europe, destroying agriculture. The result is a mass migration of refugees from Europe to Africa. Cherie Liniwe is the director, Denver Ochieng the editor and producer, Joel Tuganeio the writer. Marc Rigaudis, a French filmmaker resident in Kenya, is the creator of the series and is working on a feature film version; the trailer can be found here.
Another member of the Nest cooperative, Jim Chuchu is not only the director of the banned These Are Our Stories but also several SFF-related films or projects. Read an interview with him here.
John Rugoiyo Gichuki
is a pioneer African SFF writer, winner of the 2006 BBC African Playwriting competition for his SF play Eternal, Forever, set in the United States of Africa four hundred years from now, when the continent leads technological advances. He earlier won the BBC’s African Performance playwriting competition in 2004 with his play A Time for Cleansing, a play about incest and refugees in Rwanda.
Check out the BBC coverage of Eternal, Forever here.
A Nairobi-based writer who after my first visit started publishing, chapter by chapter, his SFF novel Zenith on his blogspot blog. You can read Chapter 1 here.
is the author of “Shadows, Mirrors and Flames,” a short story published in Omenana issue 2 (you can read the full story at the link). It’s an unusual piece that combines magic with political torture told by a young girl who loves pulling the legs off locusts. Sanya’s bio describes him as “a Kenyan writer living in Nairobi. He works as a mechatronic engineer during the day and morphs into a writer at night. His works have previously been published in the Lawino magazine and the Storymoja blog. He writes poems, short stories and essays and loves eating apples in matatus on his way home.”
is the writer-director of the science fiction film Pumzi from 2009, screened at the Sundance Festival in 2010. She regards African science fiction as both an extension of traditional local beliefs that often include the future as well as the past and a reclaiming of both past and future from colonial influence. Online interviews with her can be found here and here.