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Celebrating Binyavanga Wainaina's Fiction

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A conversation inspired by the rediscovery of "Binguni!", his first published story, hosted by Boston Review and The Against Nature Journal

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Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina (1971–2019) was among the greatest of his generation. A winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, in the final decade of his life he had become as well a celebrated speaker, and was even named by TIME to its list of “Most Influential People in the World.” He was also an out gay man and a tireless advocate for the rights of sexual minorities.

The unusual velocity of his most famous essays, especially “How to Write About Africa” (2005) and “I’m a Homosexual, Mum” (2014), means that many readers think of him mainly as an essayist and memoirist. But he also was a gifted, prolific writer of fiction.

This conversation takes place on the occasion of the republication of his first short story, “Binguni!” (1996), by Boston Review's Arts in Society project and The Against Nature Journal, and aims to initiate a critical revival of Wainaina's fiction.

Prior to the event, you can read the story, “Binguni!”, for free on Boston Review!

Panelists:

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo won the 2015 All Africa Music Award for Journalism. He has contributed to a range of publications, including the London Review of Books, Catapult, the New York Review of Books, Chimurenga, the Africa Report, and the Guardian.

Aruni Kashyap is a writer and translator from Assam. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.

Neo Sinoxolo Musangi is an independent queer feminist whose work-life is in art, academia and creative writing. The bulk of their work dwells on uncertainty, imagining freedom/s, nodes in nightmares, memory and failure. They are currently working on a monograph tentatively titled, Public Sex: Failure and post|colonial mediocrity in the biographical archive.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is an award-winning writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She is the author of the novels Dust and The Dragonfly Sea.

Sigrid Rausing is Editor and Publisher of Granta magazine and Publisher of Granta Books. She is the author of History, Memory and Identity in Post-Soviet Estonia and the memoirs Everything Is Wonderful and Mayhem.

Hosted by Aimar Arriola, Adam McGee, Ed Pavlić, Achal Prabhala, and Giulia Tognon

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