Kenyan writer Troy Onyango has launched a new literary magazine, Lolwe. In 2019, Onyango graduated from the University of East Anglia with a distinction. Onyango who studied for an M.A in Creative Writing followed in the footsteps of other accomplished African writers like Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, author of Stay With Me.
Announcing the launch of the literary magazine, Lolwe, Onyango said, “At the beginning of this year, an idea occurred to me to start a literary magazine. I hesitated. But as with ideas, sometimes they persist. . . Over the next few months, the focus will be on refining structures, finding ways to make it better and easier, sharing stories, essays and all things art.”
Onyango’s work has been published in Wasafiri, Prairie Schooner, Johannesburg Review of Books, AFREADA, Ebedi Review, Nairobi Noir, Caine Prize Anthology, Kalahari Review and Transition among others. The winner of the inaugural Nyanza Literary Festival Prize and first runner-up in the Black Letter Media Competition, he has also been shortlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize, the Brittle Paper Awards, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
According to the website, “Lolwe: From Nam Lolwe, the original or traditional Luo name for Lake Victoria meaning “endless lake/water body”. Therefore, Lolwe meaning endless, meaning “having or seeming to have no end or limit”.”
At the beginning of this year, an idea occurred to me to start a literary magazine. I hesitated. But as with ideas, sometimes they persist. So I reflected upon it, talked to some friends and fellow writers about it, and at last, I present to you @Lolwe_. https://t.co/vbMJKKsTPK
— Troy Onyango (@TroyOnyango) January 23, 2020
Onyango who balances managing the literary magazine with a 9 to 5 job and his own writing, admits that running the project would require the most commitment and dedication. He hopes that Lolwe would become a wonderful space for readers and a home for writers.
For many writers on the continent, getting a platform that rewards them financially for their writing is a challenge as many magazines on the continent don’t pay due to funding challenges. Bakwa Magazine, a Cameroonian run literary and art criticism magazine has tried in its past issues to pay contributors.
Lolwe which aims to be a paying platform would be a huge addition to the literary structure on the continent. The announcement of Lolwe has ignited excitement across the literary circle on the continent. In less than 24 hours after the announcement of the launch on Twitter, the account had amassed close to 200 followers, an indication of the support and excitement around the new magazine.