Muthoni Muchemi is the author of  Halfway between Nairobi and DundoriIt comes in the wake of the Caine Nominated story,  Tracking the Scent of my Mother. Her other works have been published locally, and in literary journals and anthologies in the US, UK and South Africa.

Muthoni has the ability to word-paint the Kenyan world in such vivid colours such that everyone who is Kenyan will recognise a little bit of everything she describes. She explains her inspiration, “Our struggle to live with dignity in the face of appalling poverty, and political and religious hypocrisy. My writing attempts to capture moments in which ordinary Kenyans are faced with moral dilemmas and are forced to confront issues. Our life is not easy but Kenyan resilience is frankly amazing.”

In Halfway between Nairobi and Dundori, she tells the story of Wangeci and her husband Murage. They are stuck in a town that is halfway between the place where Wangeci would rather be, and the place where Murage would want to be. Bring in Wangeci’s sister, who is kept by an older white man, and might be having an affair with Murage and you have a recipe for disaster.

So what inspired Halfway between Nairobi and Dundori? She says, “The arbitrariness of social class standing – how you can be up there one minute and crash land the next to a life of indignity and moral ambiguity – because there are no social cushions we live in fear.”

Muthoni also writes for children under the name Muthoni Muchemi. Her new title under the Storyhippo Imprint is Kamau’s Finish. This is a story about a boy during his sports day at school. The story guides children through identifying emotions and feelings. Included in the text are questions that will equip parents and the adults in a child’s life to initiate healthy and educative discussion. This book is meant for sharing, in the spirit of promoting reading for all, and especially for the very young.

New Children's Title from Storyhippo

With regards to the future of reading and writing in Kenya and East Africa, Muthoni believes that it can only be bright, brighter, brightest.

“People are waking to the realisation that economies can only be built on the foundation of knowledge and creativity. No matter the job, people now know that without exercising imagination, one cannot fully realise their potential; that no matter the grades, only creativity coupled with excellent communication skills can help those unemployed create or exploit the rare opportunities available. Publishers need to make a stronger case reading widely (beyond exams) exercises the mind and fires imagination.

I also think there is growing realisation that we need to understand each other more intimately if we are to embrace our tribal differences as a source of  national strength. Reading about each other is a critical part of this process.”

Muthoni Garland’s Halfway between Nairobi and Dundori, as well as the title Kamau’s Finish are available in all major bookstores, as well as on for online purchase.