Ndinda Kioko
Ndinda Kioko
Ndinda Kioko

Kenyan writer Ndinda Kioko is one of the writers on the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 Shortlist.

Wasafiri is a leading magazine for international contemporary writing based in the UK. Launched in 1984, it is now renowned for publishing some of the world’s most distinguished writers including Chinua Achebe, Kamau Brathwaite, Anita and Kiran Desai, Sam Selvon, Nadine Gordimer, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Michael Ondaatje, Vikram Seth, Nayantara Sahgal, Gillian Slovo and Ben Okri amongst many others.

The Wasafiri New Writing Prize was launched to support new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background in 2009. There has been an impressive list of high profile judges over the years including Brian Chikwava, Colin Grant, Maya Jaggi, Jackie Kay, Tabish Khair, Toby Litt and Blake Morrison, the NWP has boosted the confidence of writers in competitive times. The prize is given in fiction, poetry and life writing.

This year Susheila Nasta MBE (Chair) Founding Editor of Wasafiri alongside award-winning poet, playwright and screenwriter and former Sky Arts Scholar for Poetry Sabrina Mahfouz, Writer and historian, author of Showgirls Andrea Stuart , and award-winning British writer, journalist and critic who chaired the judging panel of the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 Boyd Tonkin were in the judging hot seat.

The shortlists for the three categories are out and they are (focus on the writer who is in bold)


  • Seven Hells by Zaid Hassan
  • Bobby by Sarah Frances Armstrong
  • Sixteen, Seventeen by Max Dunbar
  • Some Freedom Dreams by Ndinda Kioko
  • On Day 21 by Ruby Cowling


  • Petit Navire by Mehran Waheed
  • Belly Dancer Meets Hilāl as Horseman by Rushda Rafeek
  • Fisher of Men by Caleb Femi
  • Where the Weight Catches by Claire Lynn
  • What Yung Thug’s Colour Theory Best Describes As An Open Wound Or Open Letter by Momtaza Mehri

Life Writing

  • Crinoline Lady by Julie Abrams-Humphries
  • Bentong! Go Back to Bentong! by Aliyah Kim Keshani
  • Mixed Blessings – A Primer by Melissa Fu
  • The Heavens Also Weep by Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
  • Safe in the Arms of Jesus by Sally St Claire

If you look keenly at this list you will see a name familiar to watchers of the Kenyan literary scene; Ndinda Kioko. The Africa 39er is also a Miles Morland Scholar with many looking out for her debut novel any time from now.

The awards ceremony will be on Thursday 19th October starting at 6.30pm at The People’s Palace in the Queen Mary University of London campus. Good luck Ndinda.