We’re thrilled to be publishing both fiction and poetry in Issue 2, featuring thirteen writers and poets from across Africa and around the world. Once again, we were humbled and overwhelmed and inspired by the extraordinary amount of submissions we received.
We didn’t set out to create a theme issue, however, many of the pieces in this issue are exploring a common set of subject matters such as war, outsiderness, memory, and grief. On the poetry side, whatever similarities you’ll find in subject matter, you won’t quite find in form and style. The poems range from Hawa Y. Mire’s lyrical poem to Nduta Waweru’s sparse one stanza poem to Jane Beal’s poem that infuses song into poetry. Most of the stories in this issue seem to be inspired by a specific place, but all set in Africa. These stories render a vividness of language that is both accessible and immediate.
While putting this issue together we had a bit of an identity crisis. Kikwetu is a journal of East African literature, yet some of our writers are from other parts of Africa and around the world. With that being said, the question that kept us up at night was what makes Kikwetu a journal of East African literature? This is a question we debated back and forth and undoubtedly is a question we will continue to discuss as we continue to grow. Our consensus for now is—aside from the fact that we were founded in and are based out of Nairobi— that a substantial majority of the work we publish will come from writers who are from or based in East Africa, or who are writing about East Africa. And though we’ve still yet to receive any, we’re committed to accepting submissions in Swahili.
Looking toward the future, we plan to continue publishing an annual online issue and further down the road we’d like to host readings and writing contests and possibly publish a print anthology. For now, we hope you will enjoy Issue 2 as much as we do!
Christine, Michael, and John