Tony Mochama

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Tony Mochama
Tony Adam Mochama

(1975-05-09) 9 May 1975 (age 45)
Nationality Kenyan
Other namesSmitta Smitten
Alma mater Herzen University, University of Nairobi, Starehe Boys' Centre and School,
OccupationAuthor, writer, poet, journalist

Tony Adam Mochama (born 9 May 1975) is a Kenyan poet, writer, author and a senior journalist [1] at the Standard Media Group Kenya. [2] Mochama is a three-time winner of the Burt Awards [3] for African Young Adult Literature and he is also a recipient of Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. [4] [5]



Mochama attended Catholic Primary School and graduated in 1993 from the Starehe Boys’ Centre [6] founded by the late Geoffrey Griffin who spotted his creative talent. [7] He studied Law at the University of Nairobi from 1997 until 2001 before shifting his focus to creative writing and journalism. He attended Herzen University Summer Literary Seminars to hone his creative writing between 2003 and 2006.


In the early 2003, Mochama began to work for ‘eXpression Today,’ a bi-weekly newspaper dedicated mostly to the issues of press freedom. He was also a freelance correspondent for The Nation Newspapers handling human interest features as well as theatre and book reviews. In the same year, he moved to Standard Media Group (SMG) where he became a senior writer and now runs four weekly columns. He has published up to ten books including A Jacket for Ahmet (2017) and 2063 – Last Mile Bet, Afro-futuristic (2018).

Mochama is the Secretary General of PEN (Kenya), an association of writers and subsidiary of PEN International. [8] He was a Kenyan delegate at the 82nd PEN Congress, Ourense Spain in 2016. He attended the summer program scholarship under the Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) to study creative writing at the Herzen University, Saint Petersburg, Russia in classes run by creative writers such as George Saunders. Mochama would attend three more SLS seminars between 2004 and 2006, to perfect his craft in both prose and poetry.

Mochama was a 2013 resident poet at the Ca’Foscari University, Venezia, Italy and a 2019 Emily Harvey Foundation resident writer [9] in Venice, Italy. He has also visited Canada, London, Portugal and (Germany) under different literary activities as a speaker, reader and facilitator. [10]

Court case

In 2014, Mochama was accused of sexually assaulting the Asian-Kenyan poet and feminist activist Shailja Patel. [11] Prof. Wambui Mwangi led the public uproar, which permeated Twitter for days, following the accusation. Later, the Nairobi CID overturned the case by officially concluding it, as both malicious and an afterthought. Mochama then sued Shailja Patel and Prof. Wambui Mwangi for four million Kenyan shillings in punitive damage to his reputation, under the Civil Suit number 399 of 2015. [12] It was announced on the 6th of August 2019 that a Kenyan court absolved and awarded Mochama 9 million shillings for defamation. [13] The court has also ordered both Shalja Patel and Prof Wambui Mwangi to apologise to Mochama through the court within 14 days. [13]

Literary Work

Literary Awards

2019 Kenya Film Commission KFC Script Writers' CompetitionFinalist
2017Burt AwardsYoung Adult LiteratureWon
2016Burt AwardsYoung Adult LiteratureWon
2014Sanaa Theatre AwardsBest Theatre, Art and Culture Writer [14] Won
2013Burt AwardsYoung Adult LiteratureWon
2013Morland Miles Scholarship AwardContinental Writing PrizeWon
2012Leapfrog Press PrizeFiction ContestHonourable Mention [15]

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  1. Tony Ontita Mochama Rugano Books. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  2. Tony Mochama Standard Digital. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  3. Tony Mochama Wins This Year’s African Literature Award FevaTV. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  4. BY THE BOOK: ‘Literary Gangster’ Tony Mochama Daily Nation. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. Tony Mochama 2013 Winner Miles Morland Foundation. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  6. Now is the time to write to the heart of the country Daily Nation. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  7. .Kenya: Griffin's Hands Moulded Top Leaders. All Africa. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  8. TONY MOCHAMA aka SMITTA SMITTEN spills the beans KBC English Service. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  9. Men only: Splendours of solitude in a postcard city Eve Digital. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  10. Tony Mochama (Kenya) KPF 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  11. Alleged Sexual Violence Committed by Tony Mochama upon the Person of Shailja Patel Gukira. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  12. Tony Mochama on why he is suing over sexual assault case The Star. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  13. 1 2 Junior, Mireri. "Journalist awarded Sh9 million in sexual harassment case". The Standard. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  14. 2014 Winners Sanaa Theatre Awards. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  15. Fiction Contest Leapfrog Press. Retrieved 15 March 2018.