Meet Wanjiru...

Wanjiru Koinange is a writer, restorer of libraries and entrepreneur from Nairobi, Kenya.  

Her debut novel, The Havoc of Choice was published in London and Nairobi in 2019 and 2020 respectively and was a national bestseller in 2020 – 2022. It has also been translated to and published in Arabic in October 2022 and was re-issued in the UK in 2023. The novel, which chronicles events surrounding Kenya’s 2007 general election, has been described as “one of the best accounts of the new Africa in years.”

Her writing has been published in several journals and magazines across the continent including Chimurenga, SlipNet and Commonwealth Writers where she served as a cultural correspondent for East and Southern Africa in 2015. During this stint, she published a about the McMillan Memorial Library – Kenya’s second oldest library. The article was the major inspiration for the formation of Book Bunk which Wanjiru co-founded with Angela Wachuka in 2017. 

This independent non-profit organization has renovated and is managing some of Nairobi’s iconic public libraries. The McMillan Memorial Library, Eastlands Library and Kaloleni Library are the Book Bunk’s  flagship project and with the Eastlands and Kaloleni libraries now fully renovated, Book Bunk is currently focussed on digitisiting McMillan’s 90 year old collection,  as well as planning and fundraising for the building restoration.

Wanjiru attained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Literature from Nairobi’s United States International University in 2008, after which she worked as a talent manager for some of East Africa’s most renowned artists and musicians – then as a festival and events manager.  

She then later pursued a Masters in Creative Writing from the University in Cape Town the product of which was her debut novel the Havoc of Choice, which chronicles the events following the Kenyan Crisis of 2007 and 2008. The idea for the book stemmed from Wanjiru’s time in South Africa, during which she was often faced with from South Africans about  if and how Kenyans were healing from the crisis. 

Wanjiru’s work is generally inspired by the  exploration into  how art may be used as a catalyst for social change. She is a lover of forests and plants a tree for each copy of her book sold.