Makena Onjerika: A CIM Student with a Caine Prize

When you enroll for a CIM class the last thing on your mind is that you’ll share it with a celebrated writer. A writer that has been shortlisted for a coveted prize the Caine’s award for African writing and ultimately emerged the winner. Students might have an idea about it, but not when Makena Onjerika first walked into a Simon Page class.

Her story, Fanta Blackcurrant, is a somber read. It exposes life beyond the streets, a life almost forgotten. A life we choose to ignore, but a life that doesn’t stop happening.

We asked Makena a few questions just to get some insight into her work, her favorite drink and what happened to the main character in her story and here is what she had to say.

Makena onjerika

When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was 15 years old, at Kianda School

At what point did you realize that you wanted to take it seriously?

Right from the beginning when I realized I could write. I did, however, take a five year break from writing following my graduate degree in creative writing.

Was taking a marketing course in any way influenced by your writing career?

Not, really. I was a writer before I was a marketer.

So now to Fanta Blackcurrant by any chance is it your favorite soft drink?

Not at all. I do not drink soda in general. My favourite drink is water and specifically, Nairobi water. We have the best tasting water in the world.

And of course Meri, just between us, where did she eventually go and will she be making a return in any upcoming stories?

I don’t know either, which is why the story ended there. She is not likely to return in future.

What should we expect next?

A short story collection then a fantasy novel.

And of course where can we get it?

Fanta Blackcurrant is available for free here


There you have it guys.

Emmanuel Eshun
Emmanuel Eshun

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