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Spotlight: Ndinda Kioko

Spotlight: Ndinda Kioko

Spotlight is a monthly series showcasing work by a member (or member emeritus) of Jalada Africa. Each month, we explore poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photo/video essays, comics, films: it could be anything, as long as it’s produced by a Jaladan. We also highlight their past and present contributions to the Collective, whether editorial, managerial, or organizational.

Ndinda Kioko is a founding member of Jalada Africa. She is also a writer and filmmaker with an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Oregon. Her work has appeared on several platforms and in publications including The Black Warrior Review, The Trans-African, BBC Radio 4, Wasafiri Magazine, and Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara. She is a winner of the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, and the Black Warrior Review Fiction Prize. Ndinda has also received support from the Blue Mountain Center and the MacDowell Colony. From 2018-2019, she was an Olive B. O’Connor Fiction Fellow at Colgate University. Ndinda is currently a visiting assistant professor at Colgate University and is working on her first novel.

Her recent short story, Obscure Sorrows, published by The Masters Review, is about a woman obsessed with her husband’s secret lover. 

In Ndinda’s own words:

“I never know how to describe my stories, but I know how to describe what I was thinking about when I wrote it. I was thinking about the inability to articulate the emotions contained in these bodies we carry around, hence the title which comes from the website Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. And so I wrote a story about a queer woman who finds out that her husband is cheating on her with a man. 

I was also thinking about the interesting ways people respond to heartbreaks. In the story, she becomes obsessed with her husband’s lover, and though she is curious, she also wants her husband to give her something, to give her this secret by keeping it so. Yesterday a friend described the story as a love letter from a woman to her husband, her husband’s lover, and to herself and wow wow I felt that.” 


Ndinda Kioko contributed an essay; “Questions on How We Gather” (2019) and she served as an editor on Jalada 04: The Language Issue (2015) and Bonus Edition, Jalada 04: The Language Issue (2016).

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