Dust

by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

KSh 1,300

Dust is the story of a family and its secrets, all unraveling after the murder of a young man, Odidi Oganda, by police on the streets of Nairobi. It follows the impact of this on his retired policeman father, Nyipir, his artist sister, Arabel Ajany, and on a wider cast of international characters united, fatally more often, by the careering chaos of Kenya’s history. The novel dips back to the time before independence, through the definitive assasination of Tom Mboya, up to the contemporary post electoral violence (2007). Ms. Owuor weaves the story of her country so cleverly and delicately, in sentences and with a style that knows the value of each word yet is luxurious with its language.
– Richard Ali Jos, Editor Paressia Publishers (Nigeria)

Dust, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s absorbing first novel – which has been shortlisted for the Folio prize – is set against the backdrop of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections in Kenya. The result of the presidential election was contested, but nevertheless Mwai Kibaki was hurriedly sworn in as president, inaugurating weeks of violence and hundreds of deaths.
-The Guardian 

Owuor’s language is pungent, poetic, almost synaesthetic. She conjures deep colours (“orange dusk’s light”; “red, purple, and blue smudges in the sky”), smells (“dung, salt, milk, smoke, herbs”) and noises: the constant hum of fireflies and crickets, which give way to the imagined wails of the dead.
– The Telegraph UK

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You can watch her TEDx Talk, Words for Worlds, from the video below.

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Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is a Kenyan writer, who was named “Woman of the Year” by Eve Magazine in Kenya in 2004 for her contribution to the country’s literature and arts. She won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story Weight of Whispers, which considers an aristocratic Rwandan refugee in Kenya. Born in Nairobi, Owuor studied English at Jomo Kenyatta University, before taking an MA in TV/Video development at Reading University. She has worked as a screenwriter and was the Executive Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival from 2003 to 2005. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications worldwide including Kwani? and McSweeney’s, and her story The Knife Grinder’s Tale was made into a short film in 2005. Her novel Dust published in 2014 received widespread critical recommendations as a vivid and often poetic portrayal of the violent history of Kenya in the second half of the 20th century.