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Each anthology in Akashic Books’ noir series is “set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city” and includes new fiction by writers from the country. In 2018, there was Lagos Noir, edited by Chris Abani and featuring fellow Nigerians Chika Unigwe, Nnedi Okoroafor, E.C. Osondu, Sarah Ladipo Mayinka, and Jude Dibia, among others. (Lagos Noir was reviewed here by Tendai Huchu.) The series then announced the forthcoming Addis Ababa Noir, edited by Maaza Mengiste and featuring fellow Ethiopians Mahtem Shiferraw, Sulaiman Addonia, Hannah Giorgis, and Meron Hadero.

Another Africa-set anthology is almost here. Nairobi Noir, edited by Peter Kimani, comes with an exciting lineup of some of Kenya’s finest writers, including Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Stanley Gazemba, Ngumi Kibera, Winfred Kiunga, Kinyanjui Kombani, Caroline Mose, Kevin Mwachiro, Wanjikũ wa Ngũgĩ, Faith Oneya, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, J. E. Sibi-Okumu, and Rasna Warah. The 256-page book is set for a 4 February 2020 release.

The following is from the introduction by Peter Kimani:

Nairobi Noir is an act of excavation, rediscovering the city’s ossified past and infusing life to preserve it for future generations. It is also an act of celebration, reminding readers of the brilliance of the best-known writers to emerge from this part of the world, and heralding the birth of new writers whose gifts, we can safely predict, will shine brightly in the years ahead.

The oldest writer in this anthology is eighty-one, the youngest is only twenty-four; if there is any inference one can draw from this demographic it is that this anthology offers an entire spectrum of Kenyan writing: the past, present, and future. If we can allow one extravagant claim, a collection of this nature is unprecedented in Kenya’s literary history.

Although the range of issues explored in Nairobi Noir is as diverse as its contributors, it all gestures toward a common theme. In this concrete jungle, the hunters and herders live on. As do the hunted . . .

Nairobi Noir has been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews:

The teeming diversity of Nairobi, a metropolis of more than 3 million people, is reflected in this anthology, illustrated by a map of the city that shows a different neighborhood location for each story, the neighborhood’s name mischievously overlaying the white silhouette of a corpse. The highlights are as diverse as the city itself.

Pre-order Nairobi Noir HERE.

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Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his work has been published in McSweeneys, Clarion Review, Charles River Journal and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as 'One of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction' in a feature introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a regular contributor with the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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