Wanjiru Koinange is a writer, restorer of libraries and entrepreneur from Nairobi, Kenya. She was raised on a coffee farm on the outskirts on the city with her four siblings. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Literature from Nairobi’s United States International University, 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. During this time she was part of several teams that created a series of events and festivals that continue to shape Kenya’s cultural landscape to-date. She later pursued a Masters in Creative Writing from the University in Cape Town, during which she wrote her debut novel, The Havoc of Choice (2019).
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 this piece about the McMillan Memorial Library – Kenya’s second oldest library. This article was the major inspiration for the creation of Book Bunk, an independent organisation that renovates and manages some of Nairobi’s public libraries. The McMillan Memorial Library and two of its smaller branches in Kaloleni and Makadara are the organisation’s flagship projects in restoring Nairobi’s iconic public libraries.
When she is not writing or saving libraries, Wanjiru channels her vast project management experience into exploring how art may be used as a catalyst for social change. This is exploration is currently channelled through the global non-profit organisation, Africa Centre, where Wanjiru manages their Artists in Residency programme, which matches exceptional African artists with residency opportunities all over the world.