Categories
Books Featured Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

Criminals eventually ‘see with their mouths’

TITLE: My Life in Prison

AUTHOR: John Kiriamiti

PUBLISHER: East African Educational Publishers

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Following the sensation that was My Life in Crime, My Life in Prison tells the horror that was prison life for Jack Zollo, the writer of the two books.

Fortunately, prison life is the kind of life most people will be fortunate enough not to experience. Through this book, we get a feel of how prison life is… or rather was during the time the author was imprisoned.

Serving 20 years in jail with 48 strokes of the cane, Jack Zollo (Kiriamiti) lands in Kamiti Maximum Prison unceremoniously. He does not adapt well to prison life and it takes being beaten into unconsciousness and a friend simply referred to as GG to help him come to terms with his sentence. However, he does not settle into prison life without attempting an escape. 

He is later transferred to Naivasha Maximum Prison, where he serves the rest of his prison term under inhumane conditions.

It is difficult for someone who has never been in prison to grasp the concept of lack of freedom. Zollo’s time in prison is made worse by the conditions they are subjected to, which include the 1972 prison massacre.

In a simple yet intriguing manner, John Kiriamiti tells his story leaving the reader enthralled from the beginning to the end. Throughout the book he shows us how crime can lead to unbearable punishments.

Additionally, I love how most of the questions raised in his first book, My Life in Crime are answered. Kiriamiti’s first book left readers with plenty of questions and this book gives the reader closure. A painful, necessary, raw ending.

My Life in Prison is a necessary book especially for young people who are tempted to use shortcuts to get rich quickly. As Jack Zollo says, when the law catches up with them, they will see with their mouth.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Categories
Books Non-Fiction Personalities publishing Releases Reviews

Rehema Kiteto’s journey of daring

TITLE: Daring

AUTHOR: Rehema Malemba Kiteto

GENRE: Memoir

PUBLISHER: The Writers Guild-Kenya

REVIEWER: Kelvin Jaluo Shachile

Coming of age novels must be among the best books we recommend to teenagers and young adults. My assumption for this has always been that coming of age novels are books and stories that allow these young people to look at their lives at the same time reflect on the stories and characters they read about. But then that is fiction, it might be a great reflection of their lives but there is a thin line between those stories and the realities they encounter in their lives.

I have thought for days since I first read Rehema Kiteto’s new memoir titled “Daring” and I have settled to declare it a coming of age story in full realness.

Kenyan author and administrator, Rehema Kiteto made news some years back after her appointment as the youngest administrator in the country at just the age of 24. Having known her for years since I worked with her on our first book “Hell in the Backyard and Other stories” published by Queenex Publishers in 2019, I celebrated this milestone for her.

Days later, as news spread even wider and curiosity in the country spread in wonder of who this mysterious girl was, I started receiving calls and emails from people to get a comment about her. That scared not only me but others close to her.

Some people had theories of how she might have got the job while others remained in awe of her life for they knew her somehow. Daring is a story the country has been waiting for. She writes about her life from childhood to the government administrator she is today. Personalised enough that we get to learn about her encounters with people, love, expectations, disappointments, her blossoming and becoming.

She answers the questions the public had for her since her appointment while situating her story to remind us that it was not an accident she got here. It is actually something that was long overdue. With the right qualifications, experience and values, Rehema’s arrival into the public scene was not an overnight success, it is as she writes, a journey of daring.

She however clarifies that what people said about her did not concern her and the misinterpretations are not something to address. She wrote Daring to dare others to journey on with strength and resilience.

She writes that “My concern was for the young people who might read those online blogs, believe them and throw away their tools of hard work.”  Daring is not only a promising book for teenagers and young adults, it is great for general readership with a promise to resurrect hope in readers who might have in anyway been threatened by the quality of Kenyan self-published books in this recent while. The most exceptional coming of age memoir I have read so far.

The 197 pages long memoir is among the best self-published books I have ever read from any Kenyan. The skillful craft and the way the publisher upheld the integrity and standards of the industry warmed my heart as a book lover. Launched on 25th May of 2024, this new book within a very short time has found itself in the hands of very many people and in places I had never seen memoirs being celebrated, even the Senate of Kenya. I dare say, a well-received memoir from a young person in Kenya threatening to become a national bestseller.

Kelvin Shachile is a writer and curator. He co-authored Hell in the Backyard and other stories (Queenex Publishers, 2019). His writing has appeared in; The Armageddon and Other Stories anthology, A Country of Broken Boys anthology and The Best New African Poets 2018 anthology. Shachile has been featured and published by some of Africa’s finest literary platforms including Agbowo’, Writers Space Africa, Kalahari Review, Akewi’ and elsewhere. Long listed for African Writers Awards and Shortlisted for the Wakini Kuria Prize in 2019. He has worked for Lolwe and briefly for Agbowo’. He is well known for his pamphlet the Game of Writing published and distributed by African Writers Development Trust in 2019, which was reviewed as ‘a bible for new African writers.’ He currently serves on the editorial board of Fiery Scribe Review.

Categories
Books Culture Issues Non-Fiction Personalities Releases Reviews

Long walk to citizenship: the Nubi story in Uganda

TITLE: The Odyssey of the Nubi: From soldiers of the British Empire to Full Citizens in Uganda

AUTHOR: Moses Ali

PUBLISHER: Jescho Publishing House

REVIEWER: Mbugua Ngunjiri

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Bookstores

Uganda, as a country, has had a chequered history marked by leadership struggles informed by much bloodletting. For Kenyans, the much they know about the journey of Uganda to what it is today, is limited to the personalities that have been occupied leadership positions and to an extent, the communities they came from.

These individuals include, Edward Mutesa, Milton Obote, Idi Amin and current president Yoweri Museveni. While the communities where these leaders hail from are known, there is, however, one Ugandan community that has largely escaped the attention of Kenyans, probably due to the fact that none of them has ever scaled to top leadership position in that country.

The Nubi community has however played a larger-than-life role in the history of Uganda, even preceding the advent of colonialism. For the right or wrong reasons, the Nubi community in Uganda have featured centrally in shaping the history of the East African Nation.

The history of the Nubi in Uganda is as colourful and as chequered as that of the country. Above all else, theirs has been a story full of trials, tribulation and betrayal. It is not until Museveni came into power through a protracted bush war, that the Nubi found peace and recognition.

Moses Ali, a retired general in the Ugandan army, has put together a book that traces the roots of the Nubi, from Sudan, during the pre-colonial times, their role in midwifing the both the colonial and post-colonial Uganda sates, to the present.

The Odyssey of the Nubi: From soldiers of the British Empire to Full Citizens in Uganda, is a recommended read for anyone keen on knowing the other side of the Uganda away from the mutesas, obotes, Amins and Musevenis.

General Ali’s book gives a different – one might argue, refreshing – perspective of Uganda. When Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe famously said that ‘until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter’, he must have had the unsung contribution of the Nubi in the making of Uganda, in mind.

One story that has been told over and over again is the contribution of Rwandan refugees, who joined Museveni in liberating Uganda from the chokehold of Obote II and Tito Okello and their murderous band of soldiers. The story of the Rwandan refugees would have remained in the footnotes of history, had those soldiers not fought their way into power in Rwanda.

The story of the Rwandan refugees, mainly Tutsis, led by Paul Kagame, would not be as celebrated as it is today, had they not brought down the genocidal regime of Juvenal Habyarimana. Similarly, the story of the Nubi’s contribution to Museveni’s liberation of Uganda, would not be known had Gen Ali elected not to write this book.

It is therefore safe to say that the Nubi, through Gen Ali, are the proverbial lions that learnt to write and therefore managed to celebrate their contribution in shaping modern Uganda into what it is today.

When Obote, propped up by Tanzania’s president, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, came back for a second stint as Ugandan president, he embarked on a negative campaign that sought to exterminate the Nubi, whose soldiers he blamed for backing up Idi Amin, when he ousted him (Obote) in a military coup in 1972.

Many Nubi’s lost their lives, while others fled to exile, in the hands of Obote’s troops, after he came back to power, via an election in 1980, which Gen Ali dismisses as a sham in his book. The author, who at one time was a finance minister in Amin’s regime, fled into exile in Sudan when Obote came back to power.

He writes that Amin sacked him and had sent assassins to finish him off

When Obote took his revenge campaign to West Nile, the homeland of the Nubi in Uganda, Gen Ali and others, who had served in Amin’s army, decided to push back when they formed UNRF (Uganda National Rescue Front), thereby creating a safe haven for their kinsmen in the region.

Museveni was at the same time, also waging war against Obote. Much later, Museveni and his National Resistance Army formed a pact with UNRF, which ushered them into power. The book explains that the Nubi in UNRF, courtesy of having career soldiers within its ranks, had the potential to capture state power in Uganda, only that it was hindered by internal wrangles.

General Ali currently occupies the office of second deputy prime minister as well as deputy leader of government in Uganda.

As book’s title suggests, the Nubi have struggled with the issue of citizenship in subsequent Ugandan governments. They finally achieved their citizenship dream with the enactment of the 1995 constitution.

When the book was launched in Kenya on Friday May 11, the Alliance Française library was filled with members of the Nubi community based in Kenya. The deliberations, inevitably, touched on the citizen status of the Nubi in Kenya.

Like their Ugandan counterparts, the Nubi of Kenya arrived as soldiers with the British imperialists, helping them establish the Kenyan colony. As a way of appreciation, the colonialists allocated the Nubi about 4,000 acres in present day Kibra. Out of the original 4,000 acres, the Kenyan government gave them title deed to 288 acres only, following years of agitation.

The Nubi of Kenya have made a petition to President William Ruto, who promised to look into the issue of getting them recognised as an ethnic community in Kenya. They are now awaiting a positive presidential announcement on December 12, during Jamhuri Day celebrations.

Categories
Books Fiction Personalities Reviews

70-year-old medic pens archaeological thriller

When Dan Kairo says he is a Mau Mau detainee it is somewhat difficult to believe his assertion. For one, he was born in June 1954, while the State of Emergency, that ushered in mass detentions of Kikuyus, had been declared a year before.

“I was two months old, still on my mother’s back, when my parents were detained,” he explains. “My mother and I went to a detention facility in Limuru, while my father was hauled to the Athi River Detention Camp.”

As a result of his one-year stint as a Mau Mau baby detainee, Kairo is a paid up member of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association and has receipts to prove it.

At the time of their detention, Kairo’s father was a headmaster at a school ran by the Karing’a movement, which had defied colonialists and Christian missionaries by establishing independent churches and schools that incorporated Gikuyu culture in their teachings. When the State of Emergency was declared, these schools were shut down by the colonial authorities.

Kairo’s father was deemed guilty by association.

While Kairo and his mother were released from their incarceration after one year, his father came out of detention in 1960. “When my father came out of detention, I was in Standard One; I could not believe it when I was told that he was my father,” he recounts. “This was due to the fact that we had been told that he had died in detention.”

By virtue of being a headmaster before detention, Kairo’s father was a man of means and had a number of pieces of land to his name in his home area of Nyathuna. He lost all that since land consolidation was done when he was still in detention.

That setback in his early life did not prevent Kairo from making it in life. He is a trained medical doctor, who later veered in the world of pharmaceuticals, before settling into real estate. That is not all, Kairo, who is turning 70 in June, recently opened a new chapter into his colourful life, by becoming a published author.

At an age when his peers are in semi-retirement, Kairo took pen and paper and wrote an engrossing archaeological thriller, whose publication he funded. He worked with Mystery Publishers, who offered him editorial, design and printing services.

His book Sibiloi, is a fictional story of a group of scientists, who set up camp among the Amalek, a community found in Northern Kenya, where they make a discovery that has the potential of shocking the whole world.

This discovery, once unveiled, will turn, on its head, the story of creation as the world knows it.

It all starts when a sacred belt, stolen from the Amalek, finds its way to a pawn shop in London and acquired by a collector, who is also an archaeologist.

The collector soon discovers that this is not an ordinary belt. So explosive is the mystery held by the ancient belt that some people are willing to kill to ensure it is not unveiled to the world.

The sacred belt, the Amalek elders explain, is part of what their ancestor’s gods bequeathed them, and the complete information is stored in caves on the edges of Sibiloi National Park.

The scientists and the Amalek elders hammer out a deal; the scientists get access to the secret caves for research purposes, in return to handing sacred belt back to the community.

One thing leads to another and the book comes to an explosive end, literally. You would have to read the book know what transpired. The book is truly edge-of-the-seat stuff. 

Back to the Mau Mau detention story: “While in detention, my father took up teaching fellow detainees, a job that paid him one shilling a day. At the time of his release, he had had saved up sh2,700,” explains Kairu. “He used the money to buy a seven-acre piece of land adjacent to the school he used to teach.”

It is ironical that despite having worked as a teacher, while in detention, by colonial authorities, the same colonial government refused to give him a teaching job after he was freed from detention. By this time, the school had been taken over by the government and renamed Kahuho DEB Primary School.

Two years after Kenya gained independence, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president visited Kahuho and expressed desire to upgrade the school into a secondary school. “For it to be upgraded to Kahuho Uhuru High School, the institution required additional land, and that is how my father moved to Nyandarua, where he bought a larger piece of land and settled his family,” explains Kairo.

When his family relocated to Nyandarua, Kairo was in Standard Seven, so he was left behind with his grandmother, as he completed his education. “I later joined Dagoretti High School, which was quite a distance from my grandmother’s place. Being a day scholar, I ended up staying with a relative, who operated a food joint in Uthiru,” says Kairo. “It was a two-roomed affair and we would sleep on the ground in the other room, which also served as the store for things like charcoal.”

As a result, young Kairo found himself with time to spare, time he used to frequent social joints, singing and dancing to Lingala music, which was the craze in town.

One of the patrons of those social joints worked as a driver at Kabete Vet Lab. “I knew the man since we used to pass through his farm, going to school,” recalls Kairo. “Every time he emerged from his drinking joint, he would see me hanging around and ask me to help him push his bicycle across Naivasha Road, as he was already drunk.”

One day, as Kairo was helping the man with his bike, he sought to know what a boy in school uniform was doing hanging around drinking joints. “I told him my story and he said that he wouldn’t wish to see me to ending up as a drunk, like him. When we got to his home, he told his wife that I would henceforth be staying at his home,” explains Kairo adding the man’s decision to accommodate him saved his education.

He kept touch with his benefactor’s family and would later take care of him when he was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital, where Kairo was working a medical intern. 

Kairo finished his ‘O’ Levels at Dagoretti and proceed to Kenyatta College, now Kenyatta University, for his ‘A’ Levels. He later joined the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine. “I practiced as a medical doctor for a few years but left to join the pharmaceutical industry, where I worked for twenty years,” he explains, adding that he later shifted to real estate.

Sibiloi is available at Nuria Bookstore.

Categories
Books Issues Non-Fiction Reviews

Sometimes, life commands death to stay its hand

TITLE: Hop Skip and Jump

AUTHOR: Scholar V. Akinyi

PUBLISHER: Self

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Bookstore and Cheche Bookshop

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Hop, Skip, and Jump is a story based on the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence (PEV) in Kenya. Told by three children, Bobo, John, and Vena, it explores the horror that happened after the elections and how it affected the children and their families. The children look forward to Christmas, they dance, they write letters to girls they like, they take care of their siblings, they watch TV.

Until they don’t. 

Suddenly, they are no longer safe. There is an enemy everywhere… the worst part is, they don’t know the face the enemy wears. It may be their neighbour, it may be the father or mother of the children they play and go to school with; it may be a stranger’s face. The violence they see on their television screens has spilled into their neighbourhood and the life they knew is no more. New and unfamiliar homes, running through unfamiliar burning streets with borrowed names, hospitals, pain and camps are the new norm.

The innocence, personal touch and rawness in emotion that Scholar weaves into her story, is its most interesting aspect. The PEV, to many people, was merely statistics: the losses (human and property), the displaced persons… This book, however, takes the reader back to the theatre, where it all happened, but now you experience it through the eyes of the children, who lived through it.

The ones everyone says will grow up and forget. The one no one cares to ask, what if they don’t remember to forget? What if they don’t know how to forget… what if they just don’t know how to forget.

The soft delivery in Scholar’s writing makes this an appropriate read for all ages. The violence bit is narrated ever so delicately; yet so powerfully, you can’t help but be impressed. Child soldiers, arson, violence, rape are some of the themes explored in this book. Perhaps the book’s greatest victory is how successfully and accurately it has managed to show the state of affairs in the aftermath of the elections and from an angle most people rarely look at. Children’s point of view.

In a country whose emotions flare up with politics, I hope this book serves as a reminder of what happens when things are taken too far. I hope it reminds us that we are all capable of violence and that so many things can go wrong when we alienate other people based on their political alignment and tribes. Above all, I hope we remember the children. That they may never be able to heal completely from the aftermath of the violence.

They may never be able to jump.

Highly recommended.  For everyone.  For those who seek to know, to remember, to be cautioned.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Categories
Books Issues Non-Fiction Releases Reviews

These two books hold the key to your financial breakthrough

TITLES: Should I? and How Much

AUTHOR:  Florence Bett

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Book Store

If you ask most people about money and investments, you will likely realise that they are clueless about what they are doing and what is going on. If you ask about inflation and investments, most people will fumble, trying to explain what they understand by that.

The only thing they know about investments is buying land. Because their fathers told them so. Because during their grandfather’s time, that type of advice worked well. More often than not, they are wrong, they are unsure and they need help. And that is where Florence Bett comes in with her books, Should I? and How Much

Explained in an easy to understand manner; in a question and answer format, you are likely to find many of your questions, on investment, in this book. Your eyes will be opened and you will see the light. You will, in effect, break free and as Florence says; “your money will start working for you.”

In Should I?, Bett teaches about budgeting, how to avoid being broke before your next pay day, where to start your investment journey, how to handle love, sex and money. She also addresses the topic of Saccos; what they are and how they work. Also addressed in the book, is the question on why you should consider saving in a money market fund instead of a bank.

Other areas include whether or not you should buy a car, what you need to know about bonds, what you need to know about starting a side hustle, among many other issues.  She breaks it down into palatable portions and when you finally put the book down, the cobwebs will be removed from yours.  The beauty about her style of writing is in the way you can put yourself into the scenarios she describes and the simplicity of the steps she encourages the reader to take.

In her second book, How Much, the reader can reap from her experience as a personal finance columnist, a business owner, a certified accountant and former financial auditor. In this book, she explores the murky waters of money and marriage, managing family finances and current issues with regards to making money, such as social media, agriculture, pyramid schemes, and recovering from loss. There is a high probability that if you have wondered about any nagging financial issue, Florence Bett has probably written about it. 

The humour in her tone also makes it easy to go through the books, thus making this an interesting if not fun experience.

The books are highly recommended for young people fresh out of school and who don’t know where and how to start managing their finances. It also comes in handy for for employed people, who live pay check to pay check, as well as for people wondering on whether to start their business, to parents trying to educate and take care of their children

Above all, these are books for anyone who is seeking financial freedom.

The books are relatable, educative and beautifully written.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Categories
Books Fiction Issues News Short Stories

Introducing the Soma Nami Press short story submission

Do you have that story that not only captivates but also resonates with the diverse voices and perspectives that collectively contribute to the kaleidoscope of Kenyan culture? This call is for you.

Soma Nami Press is a newly established publishing house based in Nairobi Kenya. Soma Nami Press exists to share outstanding East African stories with the world and to bring compelling Pan-African stories to East Africa.

The publishing house is currently looking for short stories that will make up their very first Kenyan anthology. At this time, they are looking for fiction that celebrates, unpacks, questions and critiques the essence, beauty and peculiarity of Kenyaness. For this inaugural anthology, they are interested in submissions that are playful, enjoyable and offer a delightful reading experience. Writing that is boundless and daring while still being communicative and accessible. Submissions are not restricted to any genre as long as they recognizably speak to the subject matter.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Submission is taken as an acceptance of these submission rules.
  2. Submit your short story between January 10th 2024 and March 15th 2024 (11:59pm, Kenyan time). Stories submitted after the entry date will not be accepted. 
  3. All entries must be made through this online form.
  4. Your short story should be 2000-5000 words long (including the title, your name, and contact details).
  5. Please do not submit work that does not speak to the subject matter
  6. Submission Format: Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, and submitted in .doc or .docx format.
  7. Submissions will only be accepted from Kenyan citizens, and you will need to provide proof of citizenship if your work is accepted.
  8. Submit an author bio and links to any previously published works
  9. All entrants must be age 18 years and above
  10. All submissions must be in English although they may include other languages in them.
  11. We will accept original works ONLY that have not been published before. Stories selected for the anthology will undergo editing, copywriting, and proof reading as necessary and you can expect to undergo several rewrites.
  12. Multiple Submissions: Authors may submit up to two stories, but not more than one may be accepted per author.
  13. Only submit work that is exclusively your own work. Plagiarism is not acceptable.
  14. There is no submission fee

Submission Deadline: Submissions will be accepted until March 15, 2024.

How to Submit:

Include your story as an attachment and a brief cover letter that includes your name, contact information, and a short bio.

Follow this link to submit

Selection Process:

All submissions will be reviewed by our editorial team. We will notify selected authors by April 30, 2024. Due to the volume of submissions, we regretfully cannot provide individual feedback on each entry.

Compensation
Accepted submissions will receive a one-time and final compensation based on the final word count. Compensation will be paid up upto Kes. 10,000

Important Note: 

  1. By submitting your work, you agree to grant us first worldwide publication rights should your story be accepted for the anthology. 
  2. World rights of the anthology will remain with Soma Nami Press. Soma Nami Press will hold non-exclusive publishing rights to your story in perpetuity.
  3. Excerpts of stories published in the anthology will be used for promotional purposes online.
  4. Writers whose work appears in the anthology will be expected to take part in publicity activities, including online.
Categories
Books Issues Non-Fiction Reviews Short Stories

The emotions expressed are too raw and life-changing

TITLE: CONFESSIONS OF NAIROBI MEN

AUTHOR: Joan Thatiah

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Bookstore

After Confessions of Nairobi Women book 1 and 2, Confessions of Nairobi Men is a breath of fresh air. Finally, we are getting something from the men who are always closed up, afraid to let the world see where it hurts. Afraid to share what happened.

Joan Thatiah has not disappointed with this one.

Confessions of Nairobi Men is a collection of 15 short stories that tell the stories of 15 men. From men who give everything and still get their hearts broken, men whose dreams were killed before they even had a chance take flight, men who have been humiliated so badly, they break at the slightest trigger; to men who search for their identity in the cracks between time and in the faces of the strangers they meet, Joan brings it all out in the painful yet graceful strokes of her pen.

From this book we learn that all men have a story.  They may wear their manhood like armour but deep down they are looking for home; for a safe space to rest their tired wings and the least we can do is to be kind as they figure this out. Reading this collection was as eye-opening as it emotionally wrenching. It is a gift, getting to read and experience these lives who come alive in these pages and whose stories will always remain etched in our minds.

If you are easily triggered, this may not be the book for you. The emotions expressed are too raw and life-changing. If you decide to pick this read, do so with caution because the humane way Thatiah picks up these stories and puts them together is so heartbreakingly beautiful and it may send you over the edge.

Categories
Books Education News publishing

Thieves disable tracking system of van transporting books to Nyamira before stealing it

The tracking system of a truck ferrying textbooks to Nyamira County was interfered with before it was stolen and books dumped in a forest.

The Grade 8 books that were abandoned in Kaptagat forest belong to Moran Publishers.

“Moran Publishers further indicated that the driver of the truck ferrying the books and the truck itself could not be traced. They had tried to reach the driver of the truck without success,” reads a press statement issued by the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA). “They suspect that although the vehicle had a tracking system to enable them know its location and hence that of the books, the system could have been interfered with, since they are not getting any signals.”

 The books were however secured and taken to Kaptagat Police Station.

The incident happened on the morning of Saturday January 20

“The DCI are therefore currently doing investigations to establish the whereabouts of the driver of the truck, trace the truck, and hence shed light on what could have happened,” said the statement signed by Kiarie Kamau, the chairman of KPA.

“KPA (and the affected publisher – Moran) are therefore waiting for updates from the DCI, after which they will know the next course of action,” added the statement. “Meanwhile, KPA wishes to assure the public that the exercise of Grade 8 book distribution is on its tail end, in spite of the heavy rains that continue to pound many parts of the country.”

KPA added that although the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) had given Publishers up to January 19 to complete the distribution, this was not possible, “mainly due to challenges relating to access of the areas heavily affected by the ongoing rains. However, KPA is confident that the exercise will be fully done by 31st January.”

Meanwhile, Moran Publishers wishes to assure head teachers in Nyamira County that despite the unfortunate turn of events affecting their books, they have in place contingency measures to ensure the region receives its share of books on schedule to facilitate normal learning activities.

The Ministry of Education, through KICD, tasks publishers, whose books have been vetted and approved for use by pupils, to deliver them to schools as a way of ensuring a 1:1 ratio of books and pupils.

Categories
Awards Books Culture News

Here are the winners of the Maisha Yetu Awards 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, Maisha Yetu would like to appreciate and celebrate the best in terms of books and honour them with the Maisha Yetu Excellence Awards for 2023.

For hosting a successful Nairobi International Book Fair, the Kenya Publishers Association, for the second year running, takes the Maisha Yetu Award for the Best Body Corporate. This year, NIBF went a step further and hosted the first ever Rights Trading forum, in conjunction with eKitabu and the African Publishers Forum (APNET)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

In early September Peter Ngila Njeri, won the 2023 edition of the James Currey Prize for African Literature with his fiction manuscript, The Legend of Beach House. He beat other writers including those from Western and Southern African countries. What is more, Ngila shared his prize money with fellow nominees (he did not have to do that). For that reason, we award him the Maisha Yetu Young Writer of the Year (Male)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Eunniah Mbabazi, is a self-published author and editor. Despite being a trained engineer, Eunniah chose a life of writing and publishing, with its ups and downs. She has written Breaking Down, an anthology of short stories, If My Bones Could Speak, a collection of poems, Unbirthed Souls, a collection of short stories and My Heart Sings Sometimes, a collection of poems. She has also edited, When A Stranger Calls, an anthology of Short stories, by different writers, currently doing well in the market. Eunniah, thus takes home the Maisha Yetu Young Writer of the Year (Female).

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Will Clurman is the CEO of eKitabu. For masterminding the Rights Café Pavilion, the first ever rights trading forum at the Nairobi International Book Fair, where 13 agents from different publishing, houses across the globe, congregated at the Nairobi International Book Fair, where several publishing deals were inked, Will Curlman wins the Maisha Yetu CEO of the Year Award.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Alliance Française in Nairobi has, since November 2019, offered its library space for authors, mostly young and self-published, to launch their books, free of charge, as well as hosting literary debates. This year alone, more than 50 books have been launched at the Alliance Française library. AF also hosts the Nyrobi Book Fest, where self-published authors have an opportunity to exhibit their books for free. For its role in promoting literature and writing, the  Alliance Française gets the 2023 Maisha Yetu Foreign Cultural Organisation of the Year.

XXXXXXXXXX

Independently published writers aka self-published writers, have for the longest time agonised over an outlet for their creative outlet. Many bookstores impose stringent, nay, impossible rules for them to stock independently published books. This changed when Nuria Bookstore came onto the scene. Nuria revolutionised bookselling in Kenya. Many first-time writers, who are mostly self-published found a willing ally in Nuria.

Nuria not only stocks their books for sale, they also help them market. Nuria, a brainchild of Abdullahi Bulle, goes out of its way to seek out events where they can sell, market, and generally promote books and their authors.

For the second year running, Nuria gets the 2023 Maisha Yetu Bookseller of the Year Award.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The 2023 Maisha Yetu Award for the Most Creative, Most Sustained and thus, the Most Effective Marketing Campaign for a Book goes to Rough Silk, a memoir by Deborah Auko Tendo. The book shares the remarkable story of her father, a man who lived an extraordinary life in ordinary circumstances. Through his daughter’s eyes, we see his wisdom, his humor, his love and his legacy.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

In May this year, Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) donated foodstuffs, books and other assorted items to Eldoret School for the Hearing Impaired. This was during the Eldoret Regional Book Fair. Come September, KPA did the same for the Compassionate Hands for the Disabled in Ruai, during the Nairobi International Book Fair. Donating to the less fortunate has become a ritual for KPA, whenever they organise a book Fair.

It is thus in order for KPA to receive the 2023 Maisha Yetu Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The 2023 Maisha Yetu Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Edward Mburu Gachina. Mzee Gachina, 76, from Kandara in Muranga, beat all the odds to write and publish his memoirs, The Odyssey of an African Man. Despite the fact that he is just an ordinary retired old man, living in the village, he felt compelled to pen his autobiography for the sake of future generations. He is a retired accountant.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

John Kiriamiti, is reformed bank robber, who wrote My Life in Crime, while still in jail. For its vivid descriptions, twists and turns, cliff-hanger suspense and easy conversational writing style My Life in Crime remains a Kenyan bestseller 38 years after its publication. Little wonder then that when Neflix Kenya asked Kenyans, which book they would wish to be turned into a movie, Kenyans on social media voted for My Life in Crime, closely followed in second position to Mwangi Gicheru’s Across the Bridge.

Kiriamiti has written four other equally popular book, My Life in Prison, My Life with a Criminal, The Sinister Trophy and Son of Fate. This year alone, Kiriamiti headlined three major literary events in Nairobi, The NBO Litfest, The Nairobi International Book Fair and the Nyrobi Book Fest. It is for that reason that we award him the Maisha Yetu Personality of the Year.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Silas Nyanchwani and Jacob Aliet have in the past two years made a name for themselves, for publishing socially conscious books that seek to advise men on how to lead better lives. Though their writing tends to be a bit controversial, these two writers have kept at it, in the process earning themselves grudging respects from some of their most persistent critics (women). Aliet is the author of Unplugged, which he recently upgraded to Unplugged 2 and 3. Nyanchawani, other hand dispenses his wisdom through 50 Memos to Men 1 and 2.

Nyachwani and Aliet make a tie and therefore share the 2023 Social Awareness Campaign through books.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Maisha Yetu Children’s Category Award goes to Brian Wairegi and the triplets of Julie, Jeremy and Jason Mugo. All are aged ten and have published books. Brian has written A Visit to the Farm, while the twins have written Triplet Tales.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Maisha Yetu Award for publisher of the Year Award goes to eKitabu for curating and hosting the very successful Rights Café at the Nairobi International Book Fair, a first in the region, where agents from different international publishers held talks with various authors and publishers in Kenya, with a view to buying rights to those books.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Author’s Feet is a YouTube based show that features interviews with Kenyan authors. For its role in expanding and cementing the writers’ craft in Kenya, Author’s Feet, produced by Cynthia Abdallah Productions and hosted by the lively Ciku Kimani-Mwaniki, takes the 2023 Maisha Yetu Literary Show of the Year, for the second year running.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

For consistently bringing us news an information on African books, African authors and the general publishing scene in Africa, James Murua, who runs the Writing Africa website, takes the Maisha Yetu Blogger of the year.