Binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta submissions

There are regular flights to the nearest genocide, and there are green lawns, tennis courts, good fawning service. If you work for one of the major newspapers, or television and radio services, chances are you live in Nairobi or Johannesburg.

Binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta submissions

Although the essay delivers its lessons with tongue firmly planted in cheek. It is a book that should be studied by both those who wish to write about Africa well, or want to write an effective memoir. Binyavanga begins with something he will do over and over through out the book — he captures perfectly a single moment.

He is seven and playing soccer with his brother and sister in the garden. With the next few hundred words Binyavanga guides us into his world.


He does this with the grace and skill of a good host bringing you into a party full of strangers — walking you through, introducing you and making feel comfortable by the time you arrive at the drinks table.

This is one of Binyavanga greatest skills — by the end of that first moment you know just enough to feel comfortable with characters. He gives you a complete picture and more importantly the feel, without over writing by a single phrase.

binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta submissions

It is a deft comparison. The book has the movement of a great jazz session. But like a great jazz piece time and space is allowed for solos — for ruminating on singular powerful moments.

Like the scene of party when Binyavanga finally decided his path as a writer. And then the band strikes up again — swinging us forward through history. Giving us just enough to see the picture, to feel the atmosphere without bogging down — like jazz it is a fine line, a tight rope…but Binyavanga never misses — not a step, not a note.

Binyavanga builds all of this — using sentences like musicians use cords. He is young, awkward, and fumbling, but clean, tall, and sharp in a suit. He is on television, moving like and accordion, apologizing in his uncertain voice for just being here.

Binyavanga captures so well the under lying feeling off what it was like to be in Kenya during those years. Indeed how much of Africa felt — nations still in their toddler stages — sometimes sure of foot, sometimes tripping and falling during the joyful moment of running.

He brings us through those years and into the present — where we find Kenya and the continent stronger and surer — possibly now more in growing pains of a teenage life.

"How to write about Africa" by Binyavanga Wainaina |

Yet well on its way. Kidogo Dermott is a staff writer for The Kalahari Review.Africa is big: fifty-four countries, million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay, “How To Write About Africa,” published in , remains the most forwarded article in Granta’s history. The laugh-out-loud-funny satire captured every recorded.

Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated.

Binyavanga Wainaina: Talking About Writing About Africa

Nov 11,  · An aspiring author gets advice on how to write about Africa Inspired by Binyavanga Wainana's article: Binyavanga Wainaina author of the vaunted essay “How To Write About Africa” (Granta 92) has provided us a sterling example of how to do just that.

Although the essay delivers its lessons with tongue firmly planted in cheek. However, Wainaina’s memoir “One Day I Will Write About This Place. In his essay "How to Write about Africa," published in Granta in , Binyavanga Wainaina, 40, offers satirical advice to Westerners writing about Africa.

Granta The View from Africa by Granta: The Magazine of New Writing