Doreen Baingana

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Doreen Baingana
Doreen Baingana.jpg
Entebbe, Uganda
Alma materMakerere University and University of Maryland, College Park.
Notable worksTropical Fish

Doreen Baingana (born 1966) is a Ugandan writer and literary arts manager. 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 has received many other awards. She is the co-founder and director of the Mawazo Africa Writing Institute based in Entebbe, Uganda.[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. Immediately thereafter Doreen was appointed writer-in-residence at the Jiménez-Porter Writers House


Doreen 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 in Nigeria. It has been translated into Swedish and is forthcoming in French and Spanish in 2021. 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]

Doreen Baingana has published two children’s books and short stories, essays, and articles in numerous journals and magazines including The African American Review, Chelsea, Glimmer Train, Callaloo, Agni, The Caravan: A Journal of Politics and Culture, Transition,  The Guardian, Chimurenga, Kwani? and Farafina. 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] and Cultural Transformations (OneWorld).

Doreen 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[5] and leads creative writing workshops across Africa.[6]

The title story of Doreen Baingana’s award-winning collection Tropical Fish has been adapted to the stage and performed at the Kampala International Theatre Festival (KITF 2016)[7] and four other venues in Kampala as well as the AfriCologne Theatre Festival in Cologne in 2017,Germany.[8] Another of Doreen’s short stories, Hills of Salt and Sugar, was adapted and staged at KITF 2018.[9]

Doreen has been a judge for prizes including the 9mobile Prize for Literature,[10] the Commonwealth Short Story Prize,[11] the Golden Baobab Prize[12] 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.

Children's books[edit]

Short stories[edit]

"Fallen Fruit" 2002 Potomac Review, Spring/Summer 2002 Voice of America, May 2004
"A New Kind of Blue" 2003 Voice of America, 2003
"Depth of Blue" 2004 Gargoyle #48, Fall 2004
"Afterward" 2004 Grace and Gravity: Fiction by Washington Area Women, Paycock Press, October 2004 As “Holy Shit!", Kwani? 04, 2007
“One Woman’s Body” 2005 Seventh Street Alchemy, Jacana Press, 2005 Macmillan Anthology of Short Stories for East Africa
"Kadongo Kamu – One Beat" 2005 Story Quarterly, Fall 2005 The Sunday Monitor, February 2006
“Christianity Killed the Cat” 2007 Caine Prize Anthology St. Petersburg Review, 2008

Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing, 2009

Air Uganda Inflight Magazine, Oct. – Dec. 2008

“Eden Burning” 2008 Chimurenga 12, March 2008 The Manchester Review, July 2017
“Anointed” 2010 AGNI,  November 2010
“The Messenger” 2011 Transition, 50th Anniversary edition, November, 2011
“Man and Son” 2012 Africa Inside Out, University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, SA, March 2012
“Gorging” 2013 The Caravan: A Journal of Politics & Culture, India, (Online) May 2013
“The Exam” 2014 Broadcast on BBC4, March 2014
“Una Ragazza” (“A Girl”) 2018 L’Officiel Italia, September 2018



  1. ^ "Mawazo Africa Writing Institute". Mawazo Africa Writing Institute.
  2. ^ "Publishers Weekly". Publishers Weekly.
  3. ^ "Gods and Soldiers". Penguin Random House.
  4. ^ "The Granta Book of the African Short Story". Granta.
  5. ^ "Mawazo Africa Writing Institute". Mawazo Africa Writing Institute.
  6. ^ "The East African". The East African.
  7. ^ "Tropical Fish Adapted to Stage". Kampala International Theatre Festival.
  8. ^ "Africologne Festival" (PDF). Africologne Festival.
  9. ^ "Hills of Salt and Sugar Adapted on stage". Kampala International Theatre Festival.
  10. ^ "Meet Judges of the 2018 Edition on 9 Mobile Prize for Literature". 1st News.
  11. ^ "Doreen Baingana a Judge for the 2014 Common Wealth Short Story Award".
  12. ^ "The Golden Baobab Prizes Announce 2014 Judges". Modern Ghana. 2014.
  13. ^ "Bold Women". When We Are Bold.

External links[edit]