#Okay100Women

OKWIRI ODUOR

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Okwiri Oduor made an impression on the Commonwealth Book Prize committee in 2012 with the novella, Dream Chasers. So many journals rejected the Kenyan-born writer's short story, My Father’s Head, that the she gave up on it temporarily until it finally made a mark by winning the Caine Prize in 2014.




The story follows a woman who is dealing with the death of her father, which critics lauded as an “uplifting story about mourning.”



Since her 2014 win, Oduor has focused more on releasing short stories, completing her MFA and working on her debut novel in the U.S. What many may not know is that the writer wanted to be a nun when she was little; then a journalist and later settled on writing full-time. She is currently working on her first novel.



Nairobi’s literary community has known about Oduor long before the international fame, most notably One Day I will Write About This Place author, Binyavanga Wainaina and the Kwani Trust.



Since then, the media-shy Kenyan has kept a low profile while pursuing an MFA and writing her first novel. She is proof that there is young, literary talent in East Africa.



-JO

Interview

Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

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