Kenyan author Dennis Mugaa has a debut short story collection forthcoming from Masobe Books. Titled Half Portraits Under Water & Other Stories, the collection will explore themes of love and grief, and is set to release in 2024.

Half Portraits Under Water & Other Stories is an entertaining collection of ten, loosely interlinked stories that explore love, loss, and the interconnected nature of human experiences. According to the publisher, Mugaa is a fresh voice, whose talent is matched by his boldness to experiment with form and style in his storytelling.

We are definitely excited to read Mugaa’s work, a welcome addition to Kenya’s growing body of literature! So far, the collection has been critically appraised by Chimeka Garricks as “A pleasant surprise. Distinctively unique and delightfully unpredictable.” Meanwhile, Troy Onyango described the book as “Briliant! Dennis Mugaa is a talent.”

Read the full synopsis below:

A two-timing commissioner fakes his death in a ploy to escape political enemies.

A young boy from the slum heads to the football pitch with his friend for what would be the last time as the country shifts politically to a new power.

In an elite school for gifted young adults, a girl with a despotic father disappears and soon her three friends must make a deal with the devil in order to hold on to their dreams.

Through these ten stories set in Kenya, discover the profound connections that shape our lives, intertwining themes of love, grief, and what it means to be deeply, unflinchingly human.

Dennis Mugaa is a writer from Meru, Kenya. He won the 2022 Black Warrior Review Fiction Contest, was shortlisted for Isele Magazine’s inaugural short story prize and was longlisted for the 2021 Afritondo Short Story Prize. His works have appeared in Jalada Africa, Lolwe, Isele Magazine and Washington Square Review.

Congrats to Mugaa!