Call for Submissions: Ituĩka Workshop

Writing and Translation Workshop: Creating a Multilingual Anthology of Stories in Kenyan languages


Description This is a Call for participation in a creative writing and literary translation workshop to be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

We welcome those writing original stories in any of the languages spoken in Kenya, or those translating works from English and Kiswahili by Kenyan writers into other Kenyan languages. For the latter, preference is given to those translating their own works, but we will accept those translating other writers’ works provided they seek translation rights from copyright holders.

Participants will contribute to the development of a multilingual anthology of stories in Kenyan languages. The final multilingual anthology will be published both in Print and digital formats.

Workshop Details

Submissions will be received between August 1st and August 31st, 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified on or before the 15th, September 2021.

A hybrid workshop will be held on the 12th and 13th of November. The physical venue will be in Nairobi. Writers and translators unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions will be allowed to participate via online conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Up to 15 participants will be selected.

Participants living outside Kenya may opt to participate virtually. Those living in Kenya will be provided transport, accommodation, and a modest honorarium for the duration of the workshop.

The workshop will be facilitated by Kimani wa Njogu and Jane Obuchi.

Other featured speakers will be Madhu Krishnan, and Mukoma wa Ngugi.

With special guest appearances by Henry Chakava, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.


  • The workshop is open to Kenyan writers writing in Kenyan African languages, or translating from, into, and between Kenyan languages. Preference will be given to languages that have had less visibility in written Kenyan literature.
  • Writers may be based anywhere in the world provided they are Kenyan.
  • We welcome both new and established writers.
  • There is no age limit to participate. We encourage cross-generational participation.
  • Writers have to be available on the dates of the workshop.

Documents needed to apply.

  • A brief excerpt of 200 words written in any Kenyan language or translated from English or Kiswahili to another Kenyan language.
  • A synopsis of the proposed work in either English or Kiswahili.
  • A brief letter of motivation in either English or Kiswahili.
  • A brief biography.

Please email your submissions to

Recruitment Process

Reading from a multiple selection of languages from any of the languages spoken in Kenya will require a new innovative approach. In the recruitment stage though, the selection committee will pay attention to your synopsis and letter of motivation to determine suitability. Writers and translators selected for the workshop will be paired with editors and proofreaders later in the process.

The selection committee will include Munyao Kilolo, Mukoma wa Ngugi, and Kimani wa Njogu.


The edited stories and their translations will be published in print and online as a multilingual anthology of Kenyan writing.

About the curator

Munyao Kilolo is the projects officer at the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation and the administrator of the Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize. He previously served as the Managing Editor of Jalada Africa, where he conceptualized and led their inaugural translation project. The project saw one story, originally written in Gikuyu, translated into 100 languages. His writing in his mother tongue, Kiikamba, has been published in the 26th issue of Absinthe: World Literature in Translation.


Kimani wa Njogu

Jane Obuchi

Featured speakers
Peter Kimani, Madhu Krishnan and Mukoma wa Ngugi

With special guest appearances by Henry Chakava, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Curated by Munyao Kilolo

Submit to

About the facilitators:

Prof Kimani Njogu is the Director of Twaweza Communications Center, Commissioner of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), and Chair of the Creative Economy Working Group, a network of organizations engaged in policy and legislative reforms for the development of cultures and languages of Kenya. He is Chair of UUGI, the Gikuyu Language Association and is a Founder Member of the Mutiiri Journal. He has translated Kiswahili poems by Abdilatif Abdalla and Alamin Mazrui into Gikuyu.

Jane Bosibori Obuchi: Jane Bosibori Marando Obuchi is a writer, a researcher, and a teacher. She has translated into Ekegusii language, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s The Upright Revolution, or Why Human Beings Walk Upright. Her story, ‘Kamba Ghali’, was published in Vazi la Mhudumu, an anthology of Kiswahili Short Stories (E.A.E.P).  Jane has published a novel, Latest Diary of a Kenyan (a satire), Endabasia Yechinkwana chi’Ekegusii (a dictionary of Ekegusii phrasal verbs), Chingero chi’Abagusii (CD and Booklet), and Ekegusii Nekiya, (E.A.E.P). She has translated into Ekegusii: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; Binto Mbisebererekani, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; Romeo na Churieti.  She has published Marando the Farmer and Other Stories, a collection of Children’s short stories, which she has translated into Ekegusii, Omoremi Marando n’Emegano Ende. Her manuscripts in review for publication include include Ekegusii translations of Ngugi wa Thiongo’s I Will Marry When I Want, and The River Between.

About the project

This Inaugural Ituĩka Writing and Translation Workshop 2021, and the book that will be published thereafter, is part of a larger, five-year project funded by the European Research Council titled ‘Literary Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Commons, Publics and Networks of Practice’. The project explores the contours of literary activism in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria and is led by Professor Madhu Krishnan at the University of Bristol. Selected participants in this workshop will be given a full project description and asked to attend a virtual pre-working briefing.