Khadija Abdalla Bajaber

Episode 27: Kenya Writes with Goethe Institut Khadija Abdalla Bajaber.

The Kenya Writes guest for today is Mombasa-born and bred Khadija Abdalla Bajaber. She won the Graywolf Africa Prize in 2018 and went on to publish The House of Rust.

The House of Rust comes with the following blurb;

The House of Rust is an enchanting novel about a Hadhrami girl in Mombasa. When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat (and soon crows, goats, and other animals all have their say, too). On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut is a fabulist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadhrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya. Richly descriptive and written with an imaginative hand and sharp eye for unusual detail, The House of Rust is a memorable novel by a thrilling new voice.

She speaks to us about winning the prize and learning about the publishing industry, her writing influences, and loads more.

Tune into the episode by clicking here for the episode on Anchor FM. You can also listen to it on your favourite podcast platforms.


P.S. Thank you to the Alliance Francaise Mombasa for allowing me to use their facility to do this interview.


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