2018 Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing
Makena was awarded the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, the 2020 Bristol Prize, and the 2022 NOMMO short story award. She was a Best of the Net Nominee in 2020.
Makena completed her undergraduate degree in Economics at Amherst College where she studied fiction writing with Alexander Chee, Judith Frank, and Sue Miller. She took her Master's degree in Fine Arts (Fiction) at New York University and studied with Aleksander Hemon, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, David Lipsky, Brian Morton, Rick Moody, and Emily Barton.
Following her Caine Prize win, she founded the Nairobi Writing Academy where she taught the craft of fiction to new and emerging writers and collaborated with other writers to teach other forms of creative writing, between 2018 and 2021.
In the Forest of Talking Animals in The Deadlands (Summer 2023)
Building the Nation in Black Warrior Review, issue 48.2, Spring/Summer 2022
When An Ogre Walks Down the Street in Isele magazine, Dec 2021
The Brother, in Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World (2021 edition) in Nov 2021
The Boys in Lolwe magazine, August 2021
A Blanket of Roaches in Adroit Journal, October 2020.
Black Beauty in Johannesburg Review of Books, October 2020
Girl Games on Granta.com and Bristol Prize Anthology, October 2020
The Wanting in StillPoint Magazine, September 2020
Disassembly in Fireside Quarterly, Summer 2020 and The Year's Best African Speculative Fiction (2021) edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
What Girls Want in the Afternoon in Waxwing, Winter 2020
Body in Six Parts in Doek!, Feb 2020
Mathree in Nairobi Noir, Feb 2020
Vashti Refused to Dance in Jalada, Dec 2019
The Man Watching Our House in New Daughters of Africa (anthology), March 2019
Fanta Blackcurrant in Wasafiri, Feb 2017
Girl in Urban Confustions, Jan 2013
As editor and publisher:
Equipoise 2020 Anthology of the Nairobi Writing Academy
Digital Bedbugs 2019 Anthology of the Nairobi Fiction Writing Workshop