Mtama Road is Linda Musita’s debut collection of short stories. In these seven stories, all set along Nairobi’s Parklands Mtama Road neighborhood, we are introduced to snapshots, moments, and instances of characters, almost always teenagers, whose lives are connected by virtue of living so close to each other. While the stories are relatable, typical, and even universal childhoods, they have been rendered with such a grace and sense of place and belonging that they might have only happened in and around Mtama Road: City Park, the bowling alleys, Acorn Hall, Nairobi City Park Cemetery. In Boys, one of the longer stories, Iris swears she will not sleep with a boy at the cemetery, watched over by buried corpses and monkeys. The stories presented here are deceptively simple, thanks to Musita’s naturally fluid prose, but they examine characters who are beginning to question the complex worlds around them, teenagers who are becoming more and more aware of the politics of hair, of sex, class distinctions, bad parenting, etc. Stories in an amalgam of the unforgettable late twentieth century R&B, soukous and Kanda Bongoman, barutis and other mischief, pekeles, Patcos.
Praise for Mtama Road
With Mtama road, Musita weaves together a chimera of nostalgias, a tapestry of irreverent chaos. Scary mothers, cheap perfume, a soukous uncle, teen romance, and more are worked into a deliciously familiar rhythm which one can immediately recognise – to date – at any of the pulse points of Nairobi. Michelle K. Angwenyi Author of ‘Gray Latitudes’
Mtama Road explores with such accuracy a Nairobi of the 90s, the excesses of the time, it is a greyscale of history. These stories are an ode to a time when growing up and coming of age were intricately linked with the music and culture of the time, the soukous and R&B, shout outs from radio stations and music dedications to friends and lovers. They are perfect snapshots of a Kenyan history. Clifton Gachagua Author of ‘Madman At Kilifi’
About the Author
Linda Musita is a fiction writer in Nairobi. In 2022 she was selected as a Writer of Note by The de Groot Foundation, through their Courage to Write Grant, for her upcoming novella project Immaculate Pandemic.Linda’s short fiction has been published by DRR, Jalada, Lolwe, Enkare Review, Kikwetu, Fresh Manure, Bloomsbury UK in the Africa 39 Anthology, Goethe Institut in Fresh Paint Vol. 2, among others.One of her short stories Squad was among Brittle Paper’s 79 Notable Pieces of 2017 under the Fiction Category and a top 10 nominee for the Fiction Award in the Inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards for The Best of African Literature Online. The Africa 39 Project identified her as one of Africa’s most promising writers under the age of 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in the development of literature from Africa and the African diaspora.