Troy Onyango: The Lolwe Founder Who Dined With UK royalty At Buckingham Palace

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Troy Onyango: The Lolwe Founder Who Dined With UK royalty At Buckingham Palace
Troy Onyango Photocredits/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Troy Onyango is an award winning author who launched Lolwe  magazine in 2020. His publications, such as, All Things Bright & Beautiful, Wet Ash, This Little Light of Mine, Little Daju, For What are Butterflies Without Their Wings? And the Transfiguration, have showcased his brilliance in the literary world. In 2018, Woke Africa listed him among 21 best African Writers of the New Generation. 

The award winning writer was among the guests invited by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales Charles Phillip Arthur George and The Duchess of Cornwall Parker Bowles to celebrate the Commonwealth Diaspora of the United Kingdom at Buckingham Palace. According to princeofwales.com, those in attendance were “guests were High Commissioners, celebrities and members of society representing business, the arts, education, the NHS and many of the charities associated with Their Royal Highnesses”

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Here is his story as told by WoK

Education 

The Kisumu native attended the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree. He graduated with distinctions in his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Anglia. He was awarded the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship. He then went on to pursue an MA in African Studies at SOAS, University of London. 

Works 

Some of his works have gained both national and international recognition and have been published by: Johannesburg Review of Books, Nairobi Noir, Prairie Schooner, Dgeku Magazine, Transition, AFREADA, Isele Magazine, Wasafiri, Ebedi Review, Kalahari Review and Doek! among others.

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Troy Onyango short story For What are Butterflies Without Wings? won him the inaugural Nyanza Literary Festival (NALIF) in 2016. He also came second at the Black Media Competition. The UoN alumni has also been shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Awards, the Short Story Day Africa Prize, and the Caine Prize. He has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and was a resident writer at the Ebedi Writers Residency in Oyo State, Nigeria. 

His short story The Transfiguration takes the readers through the life of a transgender struggling to navigate Nairobi. It was the story that got him nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Transition Magazine. The story This Little Light of Mine gives readers the perception of a man who has just become disabled. To make his loneliness bearable, he finds solace in online dating apps. The story was published by a Namibian literary magazine called Doek. 

Lolwe 

The idea for Lolwe began to take shape while he was pursuing an MA in England. He would comment on the fact that there were very few literary outlets dedicated to black authors, poets and photographs like them. 

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“How do we just find a place where we can all congregate?” he asked. 

This pushed Troy Onyango to start a publication for blacks both in Africa and across the globe. Lolwe is the Luo name for Lake Victoria which means an endless water body/ lake, hence, something without limit/ that does not have an end. The magazine was launched on 23rd January 2020.

“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,” he said concerning the magazine. 

Since its launch, Lolwe has published different poems, fiction, nonfiction and photography from over 20 countries.

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