One Day I Will Write About This Place | Granta

  • Published: 02/08/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847083326
  • 129x20mm
  • 272 pages

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina tumbled through his middle-class Kenyan childhood out of kilter with the world around him.This world came to him as a chaos of loud and colourful sounds: the hair dryers at his mother’s beauty parlour, black mamba bicycle bells, mechanics in Nairobi, the music of Michael Jackson – all punctuated by the infectious laughter of his brother and sister. He could fall in with their patterns, but it would take him a while to carve out his own.

In this vivid and compelling debut, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his failed attempt to study in South Africa, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya.The landscape in front of him always claims his main attention, but he also evokes the shifting political scene that unsettles his views on family, tribe, and nationhood. Throughout, reading is his refuge and his solace. And when, in 2002, a writing prize comes through, the door is opened for him to pursue the career that perhaps had been beckoning all along. Resolutely avoiding stereotype and cliche, Wainaina paints every scene in One Day I Will Write About This Place with a highly distinctive and hugely memorable brush.

A beguiling account of coming of age in post-colonial Africa ... This is Africa from the African point of view, a vibrant celebration of "normal human beings doing normal things"

Sunday Times

Brilliant... Wainaina's beautifully elastic sentences fizz and crackle, pounce on their meanings, stretch and snap back into place ... An outstanding book, bursting with life and full of love

Teju Cole

A strange, allusive, tender memoir about growing up in middle-class Kenya

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Guardian

The Author

Binyavanga Wainaina was the founding editor of Kwani?, a leading African literary magazine. He won the 2002 Caine Prize for African writing, and has written for Vanity Fair, Granta and the New York Times. He passed away in 2019 in Nairobi at the age of 48.

More about the author →

Binyavanga Wainaina on

Essays & Memoir | Granta 92

How to Write About Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 92

Since Everything Was Suddening Into A Hurricane

Binyavanga Wainaina

After a sudden stroke, Binyavanga Wainaina and his lover travel to Nairobi to reconcile with his father.

In Conversation | Granta 92

Binyavanga Wainaina | Podcast

Binyavanga Wainaina & Ellah Allfrey

Binyavanga Wainaina talks to Ellah Allfrey about meeting the expectations of an African readership and what to do with a bad review.