Explosive Possibilities: An Interview with Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor at The Common


I recently interviewed award-winning Kenyan author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor for The Common Online. Read the article to hear the debut novelist on

The difference between writing screenplays and fiction:

YAO: Screenplays: brevity, ascetic discipline, haiku, work at large brown desk with straight back chair, drink water, deadline focused. Fiction: luscious possibilities, delight in rewriting, work in bed propped up by big, colorful pillows (landscape watching included as part of writing time), inhale tiramisu, treat deadlines as flexible soul mates.

On the influence of her home country on her writing:

ZC:How has your home country of Kenya effected your writing? The landscape, the culture, and the language(s)?

YAO: Kenya is the humus from which even my desire to write emerges.

And where to find contemporary writing in Kenya:

ZC: Are there certain literary magazines, reading series, or bookstores in Kenya where you go to find contemporary writers and new voices?

YAO: In Kenya, Kwani? Journal. The university spaces. Here is a Nairobi secret – the best way to tap into the pulse of what is new and happening in its literary universe is to go to Chan, a national treasure in himself, at Bookstop, Yaya centre, Nairobi. If you ever want to know the inner heart of literary happenings in Nairobi, Go to Chan. But having said that, Nairobi is not Kenya. To find out what is happening in other Kenya spaces, seek out teachers, bar owners. In older spaces, if you care to include reading landscape as a literary art form, do consult with passing herdsmen.

Check out the rest of the interview here.

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