Sunday 23 October 2016

Blogger Spotlight: James Murua Literature Blog

James Murua is a blogger and journalist born  in Kenya where he lives and currently blogs from. He has a business degree with a marketing concentration from a Kenyan university. He admits not to be in an academic environment at the moment, however, he is continually learning as part of his professional development. James Murua Literature Blog

What inspired you to start your blog?
I started it as a way to shine a light on books that I was reading that were not being talked about in the blogosphere the way that I would have loved seen done. After talking about it for a while I decided to put my money where my mouth was by registering a domain and started blogging.

How did you fall upon the name James Murua Literature Blog?

It wasn’t really well thought out this decision to name the blog using this name. I just registered my name as a domain assuming that if it didn’t take off, I would still be able to do something with it. The blog took off after a while and I was left scrambling as to how to do this “properly.” I may have to do something about giving a name that shows more about what it is about one day before it becomes world famous. I will be probably be doing this sooner rather than later.

Are you the only owner and blogger of Literature James Murua?
At the moment, the blog is mine and is tied to my personality which is good and bad. When I am not in a position to blog as much, like when I was on the road for weeks earlier in the year, things go to a standstill. When I am on track, it can be a beautiful thing.

You just said you were on the road recently, where were you? As I too love being on the road.
It was a six country road trip from Kenya through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa with my family. It was using public transport as inspired by Sihle Khumalo who went from Cape Town to Cairo and came out with his bestselling book "Dark Continent My Black Arse."  I'm a huge travel fan. I had a blast staying in Arusha, Lilongwe and Lusaka which were new towns to me and my old stomping grounds in Harare, Johannesburg, and Durban.

That must be amazing! How would you describe your experience of being on the road in Africa, do you look forward to writing about it?
This continent is very beautiful and the more I move about in it the more I am convinced that we need to come together as one. I don't have the discipline of writing a book at the moment. What the trip did was inspired me to set up a new blog where I focus on sights and sounds from African spaces that you can find at I will incorporate some of the experiences I had on the road on this blog over next few months.

I have added Nairobi Traveller to my blog list,  I can't wait to read about your experience in details Did you carry any African literature with you?
I had a few books but I was constricted as this was a backpack trip that we were on. The one I read and enjoyed was "Uncertain Light" a brilliant book by South African award winning writer Marion Molteno.

Do you book blog for a living?
At the moment book blogging is not my core business. It is headed there very fast though.

For how long have you been blogging and for how long do you look forward to book blogging?
I’ve been blogging for years now. I registered my most famous blog in 2006; my literature blog is three years old having registered it in 2003. I hope to book blog for the foreseeable future; as long as I am able to.

What is the highest amount of books you’ve read in a year?
That’s a really difficult question to answer as some years I read more than other depending on work and other life commitments. I also never count the number of books as I read them and move onto the next one. I tend to read two or three books a month depending on the time available. 

How many books did you read last year?
Last year I didn’t read a large number of books; probably twenty or so.

Where do you buy or borrow them?
For many years I read very little African literature. In the last five years, I read it exclusively. I get the books from different sources. Sometimes from local bookshops, sometimes from book events I attend. Because I also review books, I have the luck of receiving some books from publishers.

Who is your favourite writer?
I don’thave a favourite writer as there are too many to choose from. As a younger reader I loved Enid Byton, Sydney Sheldon, John Grisham and their ilk as this was what I thought was cool. Today you will see me reading Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Angela Makholwa, Thando Mgqolozana, Zukiswa Wanner, Sihle Khumalo, Chimeka Garricks, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Nadifa Mohamed, Hawa Jande Golakai, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Kinyanjui Kombani, Jennifer Makumbi, Petina Gappah, and many many more. This list is by no means even half definitive.

Why did you think Enid Byton, Sydney Sheldon, John Grisham...and etc were cool? What made you switch to reading exlusively books by African writers?
I didn't know any better as far as what was available. I had access to these books and the writing from Africa wasn't the hippest according to me and my circles. In the last decade as an adult I got into the media industry and started meeting with contemporary African writers who have amazing books and I was forced to rethink my attitude about their work. The books were also coming very fast and I have a task to keep up with the new ones coming out every year. My colleagues from across the continent have me covered for all my reading needs nowadays.

Are you participating in any reading challenges? 
I don’t do reading challenges. I just read what I can get my hands on

What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished reading this book Picking Kenya written by Kenyan writer Florence Njeri which gives a history of Kenya from colonial times. It is a little rough diamond as the author wrote about the history of my country in the most uproariously hilarious manner. You should check it out on Amazon.

Ten African literature, you have read, really enjoyed and highly recommend?
Again this one is hard as there are some many books out there. Here are some of the better ones I have read recently;
  1. I Do Not Come To You By Chance – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.
  2. Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.
  3. London Cape Town Joburg – Zukiswa Wanner.
  4. The Woman Next Door – Yewande Omotoso.
  5. Season of Crimson Blossoms – Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
  6. Tomorrow Died Yesterday - Chimeka Garricks
  7. The Thirtieth Candle - Angela Makholwa.
  8. The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu.
  9. The Score – Hawa Jande Golakai.
  10. AzotusThe Kingdom – Shadreck Chikoti.
Five African literature blog you recommend and follow?
I did a blog post about it you can find here

How do we contact you?
Twitter and Instagram: @jamesmurua


  1. Nice interview Mary! So many book suggestions. Will definitely be looking into all of them adding to my TBR list.

    1. Yahhh many of them... I just realised that I still have a lot to read. I have added all of them to my TBR list too by the wy.

  2. Mary, I'm loving this series! I'm discovering great blogs and adding LOTS of books to my TBR list.

    1. Debbie, so do I. There are really so many books. :-) thanks.

  3. Nice interview, Mary. Never read any of the books on the list above. Hope to remedy that soon.

    1. I have only read I do not come to you by chance. I hope to read more too. :-)

  4. Sooo many great recommendations. I hope to read Season of Crimson Blossoms next year! This was great. James's blog has always been very informative for me :)

    1. I also admire his travel experience across Africa! Amazing!!!


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