16 June 2018

Africa: Ngugi Wa a Thiong'o Set to Release Latest Gikuyu Book

Photo: Ngugi wa Thiongo
Ngugi wa Thiongo

US-based Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o's latest book is about to roll off the press, East African Educational Publishers, his Nairobi publisher, has said.

The book, Kenda Muiyuru: Rugano rwa Gikuyu na Mumbi, will be published in the original Gikuyu, in keeping with Ngugi's decision to write all his fiction in his mother tongue.

Since he wrote Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986) and Moving the Centre (1993), Ngugi has said that writing in foreign languages is a sign of colonial servitude.

In an exclusive online interview with this writer last Friday, Ngugi said his new book is a rallying call for Africans to celebrate their cultural heritage.

"I'm excited about the possible release of my Gikuyu language epic, Kenda Muiyuru. I would like to encourage Kenyan writers to create epics based on the stories of their communal origins, like Homer did for the Greeks and Virgil for the Romans," Ngugi said from California.

According to East African Educational Publishers CEO Kiarie Kamau, Ngugi's new book will not be immediately translated into English as was the case with the author's latest published novel, Murogi wa Kagoogo, which was written in Gikuyu and the English edition, Wizard of the Crow, released almost immediately after.

"Initially, it will be published by EAEP only, with the option to sell rights to other publishers that we collaborate with in the US, UK, Australia and other parts of the world," said Mr Kamau.

Pressed to give the exact publication date, he said: "Certainly in the next 90 days.

"I do not want to reveal too much, but all I can say is that it's perhaps one of the most experimental creative works that Ngugi has written," Mr Kamau added.

Kenda Muiyuru (a full nine) is often mentioned in reference to the daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi, the mythical first family that is believed to have given rise to the Gikuyu community.

Ngugi was for the third time tipped by bookmakers to win this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, but the prize was suspended after sex scandal allegations rocked the Swedish academy.

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