Joan Thatiah: The Bold Voice of Empowerment

In the world of contemporary literature, Joan Thatiah emerges as a distinctive and influential figure, blending her roles as a 35-year-old lawyer, author, wife, mother, and a sole daughter in a large family. Her literary journey is marked by profound conviction, echoing through each page she pens.

In each of her books, Joan delves not only into her own life story, but also those of other people- mostly women with whom she has interacted. These stories act as literary devices to convey life lessons to those who need them most. In her words, she writes as a ‘big sister’ giving tough love and encouraging her readers to live life on their own terms.

Her passion to write for women sprouted from six years of journalistic ethic listening to women recount their experiences. Since her first book, ‘Things I will Tell My Daughter’ self-published in 2016, she has gone on to write 5 self-improvement books. These include “Too Pretty To Be Broke And Other Lies You Have Been Telling Yourself”, “Confessions of Nairobi Women”, “Letters To My Son”, “Everything I Know About Life”, and “Damn Girl Stop That”. Her recent venture into fiction, “Guilty,” secured the prestigious 1st runner-up award at the Quramo Writers’ Prize in 2019. All her books are relatively short and quick reads due to the simple language she uses to deliver confronting truths.

Working as a journalist, she learnt to toss everything she knew about writing straight out the window as her friend and mentor King’wa Kamenchu encouraged her to. Thatiah’s audience largely consists of mature women whom she also targets with feature articles in the Saturday Nation; a local Kenyan newspaper.

Thatiah’s opinions are not always accepted by her readers but at least she is willing to say what others are not. She aims to entertain and inspire with her straight-forward style, successfully winning over her audience with interesting and honest words. In my opinion, the subjective nature of her works may cause different readers to misunderstand the intention and the quality of her work.

What Thatiah lacks in diversity of theme, and perspective, she makes up for in thought provoking insights. Thatiah addresses social issues in her books with feminism taking up the spotlight. She tries to make feminism palatable and digestible for the woman of tomorrow. In an example from ‘Too Pretty To Be Broke And Other Lies You Have Been Telling Yourself’, she says:

You shouldn’t expect me to listen to your music or to buy your art purely because of the shared gender. Earn it!”

Now with this remark she undoes a lot of what people, especially women, think feminism is all about; ‘sisterhood’. But indeed feminism is more than blind loyalty to your female family. In ‘Letters To My Son’, Thatiah says that her perspective of masculinity stems from having grown up with 6 brothers, a father and working with men. Her unique outlook underscores the importance of transcending stereotypes and embracing a more nuanced understanding of gender dynamics for progress and true equality.

In summary, these are the pros and cons of the author’s work:


  • Short, well-written books
  • Insightful perspectives on social matters
  • Thought-provoking engagement
  • Daring to address taboo


  • Singular in theme and tone
  • Subjective in style

You are invited to explore Joan Thatiah’s world for an authentic and thought-provoking literary experience. Her concise yet impactful books offer deep insights. She encourages readers to critically analyze societal norms and find their voice amidst an evolving world. Thatiah’s work is a testament to the power of storytelling when it comes to addressing taboos and sparking conversations that matter.

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