Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

About Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor burst into the literary limelight in 2003 when she won the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her writing, both fiction and nonfiction, captivates readers with its representation of African life in resonant and complex ways. Her writing is a constant search for ways that language—as poetry and as witness—shape our imagination of space, time archetypes, and memory. She harnesses the lyrical power of storytelling through a poetic language that sees into the deep dark undercurrents of violence in history and collective life. Whether in a novel like Dust (2014), set against the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya or in a short story like Weight of Whispers, which explores the Rwandan genocide, Owuor invites readers to participate in a shared experience of trauma as a private experience and a collective reckoning.  Her most recent work of fiction, The Dragonfly Sea (2019), is a coming-of-age story that explores aspects of an East African sea imagination in a time of China’s return to its milieu. Owuor studied English and History at the Kenyatta University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Reading, UK, and an MPhil (Creative Writing) from the University of Queensland, Brisbane. She was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and was one of the DAAD (Berlin) artists on residence working on her next novel. Her assortment of short stories, essays, reportages and articles ad provocative keynote speech shave been published in various global journals, newspapers, and magazines. She is involved in nature conservation story crafting training and has written, for among others, the National Geographic (December 2021). Owuor has  also written reflections and commentaries for select visual artists and art collectors (Michael Armitage, Wangechi Mutu, Robert Devereaux etc.,) and was featured in Nick Brandt’s  The Day May Break book and exhibition. Owuor is a sought-after keynote speaker mostly on themes to do with Africa, its Futures, Africa-Asia, Geopolitics and Multipolarity, Africa-Asia World-Building, Reading Landscapes, Art and the Sacramental Imagination. Yvonne Owuor was the Executive Director of the Zanzibar Film Festival/Festival of the Dhow Countries (2003-5), and is also widely consulted by Africa-focused institutions and governments on matters digital, creative and content ecologies.