Hello there!

I’m Wanjiku (some people call me Anshee) and this is pen and purple rain, a little journal of beautiful things. The “pen” is pretty obvious I think; this is a space for writing. The “purple rain” refers to the sight of jacaranda blooms in season, which is something that is very specific to Nairobi but shared across many parts across the world. I wanted this to be a space of beauty, primarily through words, but also images, and I wanted it to be the kind of beauty that was very Kenyan but also universal in its appeal. I hope that you’re enjoying your time here!

Also, sometimes I ask my cool friends to contribute something to the blog and they say yes. Here they all are, with links to their work up on the blog and their profiles out on the internets:

  1. Kevin Tosh: Kevin takes pictures for the blog every so often (ie very often). See, for instance, the So Long, Goodbye series or the Soapie Tropey series. Check him out via his Instagram page, and his website (still in development).
  2. Ivy Nyayieka: Ivy is the author of Flower Girl and a talented writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She’s also a major writing crush of mine. She contributes to the Yale Daily News and blogs over at Okasungora.
  3. Muturi wa Njeri: Muturi loves poui blooms, poetry and satire. You can read his humorous takes on African events over at Habare.
  4. Janice Ochanda: Janice of Janice’s Drawing Board creates magic using her hands. She drew sketches for this piece and I interview her in this piece, and you can see more of her work on her Facebook or Instagram.
  5. Joan Gakii: Joan, who featured in the post “Awoke” blogs over at Binty Gakii, where she talks beauty, lifestyle, fashion and hair.
  6. Kendra McLaughlin: Kendra takes beyutiful pictures. Her pictures feature in this post, and you can follow her on her Instagram to see more.
  7. Nkatha Gitonga: Nkatha and I talk about art and “African” art in this two part conversation (here and here). She runs the blog and e-commerce site Yakutti.

If you want to contact me, you can reach me via the social media icons to the left of this screen (or at the top if you’re looking at this on your phone). And, if you’d like to contribute to an upcoming series or to guest write a blog post, or to collaborate with me on something, hit me up there, too!

Peace, love, and Jacaranda blossoms,