On Tony Mochama and how to write even when one has really nothing to say

Tony Mochama in a picture taken at the Nation Centre on September 10, 2015. One lesson young writers could learn from Mochama is that you don’t need to have anything profound to say to put your pen to paper. Some incompetent editor might just publish you. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL

What you need to know:

  • I was not wholly disappointed by this small book about hopping from one pub to another at night. The 134 chapters that make the 142-page book are short, and there are no complicated philosophies embedded in the chatty narration.
  • Though a grown man, the narrator in Mochama’s book still considers himself young, and his language tends to be infantile at times. His topics of interest range from girl friends to high school nicknames.
  • One lesson young writers could learn from Mochama is that you don’t need to have anything profound to say to put your pen to paper. Some incompetent editor might just publish you.

Our dear David Maillu is the only Kenyan writer I follow closely. So I hadn’t heard about Tony Mochama’s Nairobi: A Night Guide (2013) until some Americans asked me to bring them copies on my way back from Nairobi.

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