James Murua, the man behind James Murua Blog, is a well-known Kenyan editor, journalist and media consultant who has written for a variety of media outlets, won prestigious writing prizes and conducted various workshops on social media and blogging. His use of digital technology to elevate African literature accounts for the website’s success as a leading platform in the African literary sphere.
James Murua.com, founded in 2013, is home to the latest happenings in the African literary scene. The site offers news on African books, prizes, literary festivals, and more. Adapting to the ever-evolving space of digital content creation, Murua launched the “African Literary Podcast” and Youtube Channel so readers could hear and see leading African writers at virtual or physical events. In 2014, he launched the African Author Google Hangout. The idea was to connect fans of African literature with their favorite African authors from all over the continent using Google Hangout.
During the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, in-person activities ground to a halt, and the literary world was left scrambling to address the loss of financial resources and creative energies brought about by physical gatherings. Book launches, literary festivals, and award ceremonies were postponed or canceled altogether. Murua, who has had great experience with leveraging technology for culture curation, was one of the first in the African literary community to see the lockdown as an opportunity to rethink conventional models of literary events. He partnered with South African novelist Zukiswa Wanner to launch the Afrolit San Frontieres Virtual literary festival, which spanned a few seasons and was featured in the New York Times. The inaugural season, which was broadcast live on Facebook Live and Instagram from March 23 to March 30, featured 16 writers from across the continent. It was a feast of ideas, enriching conversations, and much needed communion during some of the hardest weeks of the Corana crisis.
For his work in creating quality content on African literature, Murua has received significant recognition. With over 17,000 subscribers, James Murua blog was nominated for Best Creative Writing Blog for the 2018 Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards. Murua was also named Best Writer: Theatre, Art and Culture at Kenya’s Sanaa Theatre Awards 2018. The African Literary Podcast was nominated for Best Podcast in Kenya at the 2019 Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards.
Murua continues to inspire us with his commitment to providing a space for showcasing the richness of the continent’s literary culture.