Publishing outposts on the Kenyan literary landscape: a critique of Busara, Mũtiiri and Kwani?
This study explores Busara, Mũtiiri and Kwani? as magazines that are representative of some defining moments in Kenya’s literary history. Using a historical approach, I have related literary production in Kenya to its socio-political contexts from the 1960s to 2014. I have discussed how early Kenyan literary magazines such as Busara participated in the establishment of foundational literary traditions in the country and examined the roles that pioneer creative writers and critics played in setting the pace for later writers and critics. Further, I have evaluated the founding of Mũtiiri by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in America in 1994 and demonstrated how the circumstances that gave birth to Mũtiiri also precipitated the founding of Kwani? in 2003. Closely reading specific texts from selected issues of Busara, Mũtiiri and Kwani?, I have interrogated the points of convergence and divergence across the three periodicals to illuminate their pivotal position in the growth and development of Kenyan literature to date. This study not only illustrates how literary journals and magazines are brooding nests for creative writers and literary critics, but it also shows how they nurture literary cultures, build bridges between generations of writers and between traditions, and even generate space, time and tempo for (new) literary trends. The study therefore positions literary journals and magazines as publishing outposts that have made a significant contribution to the evolution and development of Kenyan literature over time