Doreen Baingana

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Doreen Baingana
Born1966 (age 57–58)
Entebbe, Uganda
Alma materMakerere University and University of Maryland, College Park.
Notable worksTropical Fish (2005)

Doreen Baingana (born 1966) is a Ugandan writer. Her short story collection, Tropical Fish, won the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction in 2003 and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book, Africa Region in 2006. Stories in it were finalists for the Caine Prize in 2004 and 2005. She was a Caine Prize finalist for the third time in 2021 and has received many other awards listed below.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Raised in Entebbe, Doreen Baingana attended Gayaza High School and obtained a law degree from Makerere University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park.[citation needed] Immediately thereafter, she was appointed writer-in-residence at the Jiménez-Porter Writers House.She embarked on a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland in 2023.


Baingana won the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction in 2003 for her collection Tropical Fish. It was published by the University of Massachusetts Press and Broadway Books in the US, Oshun Books in South Africa, and Cassava Republic Press in Nigeria. It has been translated into Swedish and Spanish. It is forthcoming in French. The linked stories, which explore the lives of three sisters growing up in Entebbe after the fall of Idi Amin, have been described by Publishers Weekly as "richly detailed stories" that are "lush with cultural commentary."[2]

Baingana has published two children's books as well as short stories, essays, and articles in numerous journals and magazines including; The Georgia Review, The Evergreen Review, The African American Review, Chelsea, Glimmer Train, Callaloo, Agni, The Caravan: A Journal of Politics and Culture, Transition, The Guardian, Chimurenga, Kwani?, Farafina and Ibua. Her stories have been broadcast on Voice of America and BBC and have been included in many anthologies including Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing;[3] The Granta Anthology of African Fiction,[4] Cultural Transformations (OneWorld), New Daughters of Africa (edited by Margaret Busby, 2019).[5] and Joyful, Joyful: Stories Celebrating Black Voices.

Baingana was a contractor with Voice of America for a decade and taught at the Writer's Center, Bethesda, MD before returning to Uganda. She was a managing editor of Storymoja Africa, a Kenyan publisher, and chairperson of FEMRITE, the Uganda Women Writers Association. She co-founded and directs the Mawazo Africa Writing Institute[6] and leads creative writing workshops across Africa.[7]

The title story of Baingana's award-winning collection Tropical Fish has been adapted to the stage and performed at the Kampala International Theatre Festival (KITF 2016)[8] and four other venues in Kampala, as well as the AfriCologne Theatre Festival in Cologne, Germany, in 2017.[9] Another of Baingana's short stories, "Hills of Salt and Sugar", was adapted and staged at KITF 2018.[10]

Baingana has been a judge for prizes including; The Afritondo Short Story Prize,[11] the 9mobile Prize for Literature,[12] the Commonwealth Short Story Prize,[13] the Golden Baobab Prize[14] and the Hurston-Wright Prize for Debut Fiction.


Published works[edit]

Short-story collection[edit]

  • Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe. University of Massachusetts Press. 2005. ISBN 978-1-55849-477-0.[27]

Children's books[edit]

Short stories[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/Collected/Broadcast
“Her Generous Body” 2022 The Georgia ReviewPotomac Review,
“Family is Family" 2022 Joyful, Joyful: Stories Celebrating Black Voices Two Hoots/Pan Macmillan UK
"Lucky" 2021 Ibua Journal Evergreen Review, Fall/Winter 2021
"Una Ragazza" ("A Girl") 2018 Grace and Gravity: Fiction by Washington Area Women, Paycock Press, October 2004 As "Holy Shit!", Kwani? 04, 2007
"The Exam" 2014 Broadcast on BBC4, March 2014
"Gorging" 2013 The Caravan: A Journal of Politics & Culture, India (Online), May 2013
"Man and Son" 2012 Africa Inside Out, University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, SA, March 2012
"The Messenger" 2011 Transition, 50th Anniversary edition, November 2011
"Christianity Killed the Cat 2007 Cain Prize Anthology

Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing, April 2009 -Republished in St. Petersburg Review, 2008 -Republished in Air Uganda Inflight Magazine, Oct. – Dec. 2008

"Anointed" 2010 AGNI, November 2010 Gods and Soldiers: The

Air Uganda Inflight Magazine, October–December 2008

"Eden Burning" 2008 Chimurenga 12, March 2008

The Manchester Review, July 2017

"Kadongo Kamu – One Beat" 2005 Story Quarterly, Fall 2005 The Sunday Monitor, February 2006
"One Woman’s Body" 2005 Seventh Street Alchemy, Jacana Press, 2005 Macmillan Anthology of Short Stories for East Africa
"Afterward" 2004 L’Officiel Italia, September 2018
"Depth of Blue" 2004 Gargoyle #48, Fall 2004
"A New Kind of Blue" 2003 Voice of America, 2003
"Fallen Fruit" 2002 Spring/Summer 2002 Voice of America, May 2004


  • "Scars", Crab Orchard Review, Winter 2002
  • "Our Stories Aren’t All Tragedies", The Guardian, 2 August 2005
  • "Encounters", The "O" Magazine, South Africa, February 2006
  • A monthly column in the magazine African Woman, April 2006 to 2008
  • "Lamu Lover", in It's All Love: Black Writers on Soul Mates, Family and Friends, Broadway Books/Doubleday, 2009
  • "The Last Word", The African Report, December 2009
  • “Hargeisa Snapshots”, African Cities II: Mobilities & Fixtures, 2011
  • “Tuk-tuk Trail to Suya and Stars”, AGNI, September 2012
  • “Why Write?” START, Journal for East African Arts and Culture, July 2013
  • “Betty Oyella Bigombe” in When We Are Bold: Women Who Turn Our Upsidedown World Right, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 2016[28]
  • “The Journey: Ebony Ava Harper” in This Bridge Called Woman, H.J. Twongyeirwe & A.T. Lichtenstein, eds., Femrite Publications, 2022.
  • “2022 AKO Caine Prize Shortlist Review,” Five Essays, Brittle Paper, July 2022.[29]


  1. ^ "Mawazo Africa Writing Institute". Mawazo Africa Writing Institute. Archived from the original on 2022-01-28. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  2. ^ "Publishers Weekly". Publishers Weekly.
  3. ^ "Gods and Soldiers". Penguin Random House.
  4. ^ "The Granta Book of the African Short Story". Granta.
  5. ^ Odhiambo, Tom (17 January 2020). "'New Daughters of Africa' is a must read for aspiring young women writers". Nation. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Mawazo Africa Writing Institute". Mawazo Africa Writing Institute. 7 September 2017. Archived from the original on 28 January 2022. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  7. ^ "The East African".
  8. ^ "Tropical Fish Adapted to Stage". Kampala International Theatre Festival. Archived from the original on 2018-05-12. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  9. ^ "Africologne Festival" (PDF). Africologne Festival.
  10. ^ "Hills of Salt and Sugar Adapted on stage". Kampala International Theatre Festival. Archived from the original on 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  11. ^ "Afritondo Short Story Prize Short List". Afritondo.
  12. ^ "Meet Judges of the 2018 Edition on 9 Mobile Prize for Literature". 1st News.
  13. ^ Petts, Martin (27 September 2013). "2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize attracts more than 3,700 entries from almost all Commonwealth countries". Commonwealth Foundation.
  14. ^ "The Golden Baobab Prizes Announce 2014 Judges". Modern Ghana. 2014.
  15. ^ "Q&A Caine 2021: Words on the Times – Doreen Baingana". 2021-07-20. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  16. ^ "Caine prize winner announced". the Guardian. 2004-07-20. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  17. ^ "Archive". The Caine Prize for African Writing. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  18. ^ Conference, Bread Loaf Writers'. "Bread Loaf Writers' Conference catalog, 2004". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "Award-winning author Doreen Baingana to give public reading". College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  20. ^ "Doreen Baingana's biography, net worth, fact, career, awards and life story -". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  21. ^ "Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award Winners Debut Fiction". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  22. ^ lanredahunsi (2014-11-26). "Winners Announced for the 2014 Miles Morland Foundation Writing Scholarship for African Writers | Opportunities For Africans". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  23. ^ "Doreen Baingana - The Miles Morland Foundation". 2013-12-29. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  24. ^ Murua, James (28 November 2013). "Doreen Baingana and Tony Mochama for Miles Morland Writing Scholarships". James Murua's Literature Blog. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  25. ^ "The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Selected Bellagio Center Resident Fellows". The Rockefeller Foundation. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  26. ^ "The Intersection of Humour and Tragedy: A Dialogue with Doreen Baingana". Africa in Dialogue. 2021-09-10. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  27. ^ Baingana, Doreen (2005). Tropical fish : stories out of Entebbe. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-477-4. OCLC 57044087.
  28. ^ "Bold Women". When We Are Bold.
  29. ^ "Ako Cain Prize Shortlist Review". Brittle Paper.

External links[edit]