Monica Arac de Nyeko

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Monica Arac de Nyeko
Monica Arac de Nyeko
Monica Arac de Nyeko
Born Monica Arac de Nyeko
Kitgum, Uganda
Occupation writer
Nationality Ugandan
Alma mater Makerere University
Genre Fiction
Notable works Jambula tree

Monica Arac de Nyeko (born 1979) is a Ugandan writer of short fiction, poetry, and essays, living in Nairobi.[1] In 2007 she became the first Ugandan to win the Caine Prize for African Writing,[2][3] with her story "Jambula Tree". She had previously been shortlisted for the prize in 2004 for "Strange Fruit", a story about child soldiers in Gulu, Northern Uganda.[4] She is a member of FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association and the chief editor of T:AP Voices. She taught literature and English at St. Mary's College Kisubi before proceeding to pursue a Master in Humanitarian Assistance at the University of Groningen. Her personal essay "In the Stars" won first prize in the Women's World, Women in War Zones essay writing competition. She has been published in Memories of Sun, The Nation, IS magazine and Poetry International and several other publications.[5] She is one of the writers announced as part of the Africa39 project unveiled by Rainbow, Hay Festival and Bloomsbury Publishing at the London Book Fair 2014. It is a list of 39 of Sub-Saharan Africa's most promising writers under the age of 40.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Early life and education[edit]

Monica Arac de Nyeko comes from Kitgum district in northern Uganda. She grew up mostly in Kampala, but attended high school in Gulu, northern Uganda, for some years. She has a degree in Education from Makerere University, and a Master's degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.[4][12] While at Makerere she was an active member of FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association,[13] which she has credited for giving her "a place and space to write with a network of support and mentorship—handy when you are starting out."[14]


In 2007 she won the Caine Prize for her short story "Jambula Tree",[15] which is about two teenage girls falling in love and facing an unforgiving community as a result. One of Arac de Nyeko's other notable stories is "Strange Fruit", which contains an allusion to the song of the same name, and was shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2004.[16]

Published works[edit]


  • "Pastor Love", in Helon Habila, Kadija George, ed. (2012). Space: Currencies in Contemporary African Art. Unisa Press. ISBN 978-1868886807.

Short stories[edit]

  • "Jambula Tree", in Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, ed. (2013). Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction. MaThhoko's books. ISBN 9781920590338.
  • "Back Home", in Helon Habila, Kadija George, ed. (2008). Dreams, Miracles and Jazz. Picador Africa. ISBN 9781770100251.
  • "Jambula Tree", in Jambula Tree and other stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 8th Annual Collection. New Internationalist. 2008. ISBN 978-1904456735.
  • "Jambula Tree", in Ama Ata Aidoo, ed. (2007). African Love Stories: An Anthology. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-0954702366.
  • "Strange Fruit", in Seventh Street Alchemy. Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd. 2005. ISBN 978-1770091450.
  • "Grasshopper Redness", in Seventh Street Alchemy. Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd. 2005. ISBN 978-1770091450.
  • "October Sunrise", in Jane Kurtz, ed. (2003). Memories of Sun: Stories of Africa and America. Amistad. ISBN 978-0060510503.
  • "Bride Price for my Daughter", in Violet Barungi and Ayeta Anne Wangusa, ed. (2003). Tears of Hope. a Collection of Short Stories by Ugandan Rural Women. Femrite Publications. ISBN 978-9970700028.
  • "Chained", in Violet Barungi, ed. (2001). Words from a Granary. Femrite Publications. ISBN 9789970700011.
  • "Jambula tree"
  • "The Banana Eater" in AGNI online, 2008
  • "Strange Fruit" in author-me, 2004


  1. ^ Monica Arac de Nyeko, Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  2. ^ 2007 winner: MONICA ARAC DE NYEKO Archived 26 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Love story wins 'African Booker'", The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b Interview with Monica Arac de Nyeko, Pambazuka, 26 February 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  5. ^ Monica Arac De Nyeko – Caine Prize 2007,, 16 July 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  6. ^ Africa39 "list of artists". April 8,2014 Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Africa39 list of promising writers revealed", The Bookseller, 8 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Chimamanda, Tope Folarin, Stanley Kenani, others make Africa 39 list" Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine., CityVoice, 10 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Africa 39 List is out" Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Lesleigh, 9 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  10. ^ Monica ARAC DE NYEKO, Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  11. ^ Africa39 Authors Biographies, Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  12. ^ Time of the Writer bio. Archived 13 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "FEMRITE Achievements and Milestones." FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers' Association. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  14. ^ Matthew, Lois, "FEMRITE and Ugandan Women Writers". Belletrista, 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  15. ^ "'Taboo' story takes African prize", BBC. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  16. ^ Donna Bryson, "Ugandan Wins African Writing Prize", Washington Post, 10 July 2007.

External links[edit]