Dinaw Mengestu
Dinaw Mengestu

Its been a good time for some in the writing business. Ng’ang’a Mbugua recently won the Wahome Mutahi Literature award for his excellent Different Colours read this weekend. He was doing it for the second time in a row. The prize is Kshs50,000. Even happier was Anthony Mugo who collected a cool Kshs1,000,000 in the Burt prize for his book Never Say Never which made the Wahome Mutahi prize pale in comparison.

Then yesterday Ethiopian born, US based Dinaw Mengestu, one of the guest writers at the Storymoja Hay festival this year, became a recipient of the 2012 $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

I ran into Dinaw a few weeks ago at the Storymoja Hay Festival. The guy is brilliant and will answer questions thrown him intelligently leaving you begging for more. He clearly knows his business the author who has written The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bearsand ‘How to Read the Air’.

Which makes sense when I heard that the man is on a very lucrative honour roll as one of this year’s $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant winners. He joins a bunch of other people in diverse fields to get this grant which works where the winner gets US$100,000 for five years.

The last winner for the award you may know was Nigeria author Chimamanda Adichie famous for her book Half of a yellow sun. And Purple Hibiscus. The lass won it in 2008 and I suppose that next year ends her annual US$100,000 gravy train. Adichie needs to come here again; she might just get her Genius award grant on again no?