The website formerly known as JamesMurua.com will now go with the name WritingAfrica.com.
JamesMurua.com was born on April 24, 2013, when I registered a self-titled domain to write about African writers and what they were up to. The African writing community was not being given adequate attention by those who were blogging the way I would like to see. There were initiatives that came and went but no real news service like the music industry, the football industry, and other popular spaces. I decided to try and make a service for the writer across the continent.
After registering the domain, I proceeded to post updates from the few people I knew about in the writing business. The core news was on new books, literary festivals, and awards African writers were taking part in. I tried to avoid the usual suspects that were the biggest names at the time focusing on good writers whose profiles were still pretty low at the time. Since the website was registered, it quietly became the leading resource for telling you what was happening in African letters. This led me to being one of the most travelled journalists around attending festivals and other events across the continent and even in the diaspora. The project had clearly grown bigger than me.
Becoming Pan African
In 2020, in the wake of the George Floyd murder and new knowledge on Africans in global publishing like from Twitter’s #PublishingPaidMe, there was a slight shift in the site focus as I decided that an African person could have a wider definition. Now the coverage was not just continental Africans wherever they were but included African diaspora like our brothers and sisters in the diaspora from the Caribbean, and the rest of the Americas as well as in Europe. Now to be featured on the site you didn’t just have to be from a specific African country but a Black writer wherever you came from.
On April 24, 2023, I was set to celebrate the decade of running a website when I was given scary news. The founders of my hosting company seemed to have abandoned their company and staff had no choice but to set up another company and try and save client websites. I happened to be one of many in Nairobi who was suffering from this predicament. As you can imagine, the thought that I would lose the work that I had been doing over a decade was quite a shock. My only saving grace was that my new host had saved all of my files before the site vanished from the internet. Yes, I shall be doing regular backups going forward; this was enough of a wake-up call.
With the contents safe, I made a decision on the way forward for the product. The point of having a personal name on the site was a tentative exercise; I wasn’t certain that the premise of a website dedicated to writers could be such a big project. I figured that at one point, the content would run out or I would lose interest and this way I could use that domain for my resume or something. Something happened. It became more successful than I had anticipated. I had for a long time been saying that at one point I would register a domain that had something to do with the product. I never did until this crisis came about and I decided to follow The Game of Thrones character Littlefinger’s philosophy that “chaos is a ladder.”
Welcome to Writing Africa
With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to the new website WritingAfrica.com. The website will offer the following;
The Writing Africa Blog
The website started with digestible news from literary communities on the continent and the diaspora in blog format. It will have a new name but continue with the same regularity and quality you have been accustomed to in the last decade.
The Writing Africa Podcast
The podcast, now called the “Writing Africa” podcast, will no longer be only interviews but will include news and information from the community and should come out at least twice a month. Click here for the podcast.
The Writing Africa YouTube Channel
The YouTube Channel retains all of its content but now goes by the name Writing Africa. Click here for the channel.
With a move of this size, the website has over 3,000 posts and hundreds of images, there will be some issues going forward. Some links won’t go where they are supposed to, some images will be AWOL. This transition period might take a while to navigate. Hopefully in the next few weeks or even months, the chaos will transition away from the project and we can return to your usual daily updates.
Thank you so much for those who have assisted me during the chaotic period as I tried to secure my website starting with my hosting firm Hynfra Technologies who had to deal with so much over the last few weeks. Also thank you to all those who called and offered, and even gave, support like Ahmed of Prestige Books, Fungai, Martin, and many others without whom the work I had been doing over the last decade would have vanished.