Kenyan Storyteller Wins Ksh 300K in Global Competition

  • In a fierce competition among the best storytellers, Mara Menzies, a Kenyan-Scottish national, won Ksh300,000 (£2,000) in the Best Fiction Book category.

    Her debut book, Blood Gold: A Journey of Shadows, was named the best fiction book of 2022 at the Saltire Society event on Thursday, December 8.

    “I am so overwhelmed and humbled to be part of such an illustrious company,” she stated as her name was read out.

    Blood Gold: A Journey of Shadow follows a young Scottish-African girl who journeys into her late mother’s box of “myths, legends, histories, memories, ideas, languages and folk tales”.

    Undated photo of storyteller Mara Menzies on stage

    Undated photo of storyteller Mara Menzies on stage


    Mara Menzies

    It is inspired by tales told to Menzies by her grandmother in a village on the north coast of Kenya.

    She noted that the birth of her first child fueled her storytelling journey, Menzies wanted to ensure her child felt connected to Kenya.

    “Stories have a way of seeping into people’s souls and causing them to change the way they see their minds and do things,” she explained her love for storytelling.

    Menzies is the daughter of a Kenyan mother and a Scottish father. She also spent about 13 years in Kenya before moving to Scotland.

    ‘As a child, it was normal to exist between these two very different worlds and see them as equal.

    “That experience has benefited me in my outlook on the world,” she stated in a past interview.

    The storyteller’s goal is to share her stories from across the continent, inspiring, educating, challenging perceptions, and entertaining.

    She describes herself as a teller of tales, whisperer of dreams, and stargazer.

    Notably, in the competition, Booker prize-winning authors Douglas Stuart (Young Mungo), Emma Grae, Alice Albinia, James Robertson, and Rachelle Atalia also made submissions.

    Undated photo of storyteller Mara Menzies

    Undated photo of storyteller Mara Menzies


    Mara Menzies

Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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