This is Anena, a Ugandan writer, teacher, editor, and performer. I’m the author of A Nation in Labour, a poetry collection that won the 2018 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. Until then, poetry had always been a private affair—a means through which I made sense of life, sought clarity to uncertainties, and created a world fancier than the one I was born in.
Since discovering I won’t lose much by sharing my writing with the world, I have published poems and prose in The Atlantic, Commonwealth Writers (adda stories), The Caine Prize (A Memory This Size and Other Stories), Brittle Paper, The Plentitudes journal, New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent, The Kalahari Review, among others. My short stories have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2018) and longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize (2017 & 2018).
I went to Makerere University in Uganda where I got a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and a Master of Human Rights. I’m a 2021 graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Writing program and pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.