Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

Catalog » Browse by Title: N » Nairobi Noir (Kenya)

Nairobi Noir (Kenya)

Edited by:

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o anchors this truly fascinating first East African installment in the Akashic Noir Series.

$15.95 $11.96

What people are saying…

Nairobi Noir takes readers into the enigmas that haunt Kenya’s most populous city through the deft storytelling of a stellar cast of writers, which includes Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Stanley Gazemba, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, and others.”
Brittle Paper, one of 50 Notable African Books of 2020

“Nairobi is a city of 3 million souls, so it makes sense as a setting Akashic Books’ famed noir series. 14 new stories fill a collection with Nairobi old and new; authors range in age from 24 to 81, and many layers of the city and its complex subcultures will be revealed as the reader makes their way through. Perfect for the armchair traveler!”
CrimeReads, included in CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020

“In Nairobi Noir, [Kimani’s] assembled a diverse set of Kenyan authors to take a hard look at their city.”
The Big Thrill

“[Nairobi Noir] is a successful collection, which brings together a truly distinct set of new and old voices. Calling Nairobi layered is an understatement, and this collection starts peeling back the surface by attempting to harness the volatile energies of a complicated city that hides more than it reveals.”
New Frame

Nairobi Noir presents itself in this regard as an anti-postcard that reveals the other side of the story, or an anti-travel guide that can only be sold to tourists in search of social realism and a narrative of bruised humanity of the Dark Tourism type. All the stories gathered cultivate a pronounced taste for sordidness, the despair born of social injustice and deep poverty, the scandal of corruption.”
Africa in Words

“This collection of short stories features some of Kenya’s best writers and manages to capture the beauty, horror, and mystique of Nairobi. Everyone has a story and pulsating through the collection are the role of colonialism, the experience of women, the class divide, and the power of language.”
African Arguments, One of the Top African Books of 2020

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Mysteries & Thrillers Adult Announcements for Spring 2020 and African-American Interest Adult Titles, 2019–2020

Included in CrimeReads’s February’s Best International Crime Fiction roundup

“Racial, religious, and class divides are acutely observed in the 14 new stories from Kenyan writers . . . Crime fiction fans will find much to savor.”
Publishers Weekly

“The teeming diversity of Nairobi, a metropolis of more than 3 million people, is reflected in this anthology, illustrated by a map of the city that shows a different neighborhood location for each story, the neighborhood’s name mischievously overlaying the white silhouette of a corpse. The highlights are as diverse as the city itself.”
Kirkus Reviews

Included in African Book Addict’s 2020 New Releases Preview!

“A book that leaves an indelible impression on you from just the opening sentences of the very first story.”
Exclusive Magazine

“These stories take you down into the dark parts of town where you get down and dirty. You meet prejudice, racism, the moneyed and the poor. You meet corrupt police, criminals, and the innocent.”
Journey of a Bookseller

“Kimani is quite a well-known African author, who obviously knows Nairobi intimately, and after I read his story ‘Blood Sister,’ I realized that he was the perfect person to edit the book.”
The Cyberlibrarian


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Brand-new stories by: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Stanley Gazemba, Ngumi Kibera, Peter Kimani, Winfred Kiunga, Kinyanjui Kombani, Caroline Mose, Kevin Mwachiro, Wanjikũ wa Ngũgĩ, Faith Oneya, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, J.E. Sibi-Okumu, and Rasna Warah.

From the introduction by Peter Kimani:

Nairobi Noir is an act of excavation, rediscovering the city’s ossified past and infusing life to preserve it for future generations. It is also an act of celebration, reminding readers of the brilliance of the best-known writers to emerge from this part of the world, and heralding the birth of new writers whose gifts, we can safely predict, will shine brightly in the years ahead.

The oldest writer in this anthology is eighty-one, the youngest is only twenty-four; if there is any inference one can draw from this demographic it is that this anthology offers an entire spectrum of Kenyan writing: the past, present, and future. If we can allow one extravagant claim, a collection of this nature is unprecedented in Kenya’s literary history.

Although the range of issues explored in Nairobi Noir is as diverse as its contributors, it all gestures toward a common theme. In this concrete jungle, the hunters and herders live on. As do the hunted . . .

Read a preview of Nairobi Noir at Brittle Paper.

Read a recap of the Kenyan launch event for Nairobi Noir at The Star.

Read an excerpt from the Introduction by Peter Kimani at CrimeReads.

Read a post, “The Latest Installments In The Akashic Noir Series,” which includes a mention of Nairobi Noir, at Brooklyn Digest.

Read an interview with Peter Kimani at the International Thriller Writers’ magazine, The Big Thrill

Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 2/4/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757549
  • e-IBSN: 9781617757754
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617759031


PETER KIMANI is a leading Kenyan journalist and the author of, most recently, Dance of the Jakaranda, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The novel was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in the US and long-listed for the inaugural Big Book Awards in the UK. He has taught at Amherst College and the University of Houston and is presently based at Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi. Nairobi Noir is his latest work.

More info »