Meja Mwangi’s book The Last Plague, published by Kenya’s East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) has been included in the current issue of African Writing (AW), a bi-monthly online journal, under the Books Worth Reading column. This is a column that makes a case for potential African classics. This is a major honour for the book that addresses the issue of HIV/Aids.
The honour is not misplaced though. The book, which was published in 2000, won the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, Kenya’s biggest and most prestigious literary prize, in 2001. AW pays glowing tribute to Mwangi’s book by comparing it with Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s latest masterpiece Wizard of the Crow.
In his 449-page novel, THE LAST PLAGUE, Kenyan writer, Meja Mwangi, achieved two things: he wrote a restrained AIDS novel that was true to the apocalyptic character of the pandemic, and he wrote a classic of delirious humour. It is this combination of tragedy (that never quite loses its grasp on hope), deft satire, and unexpected humour that bushwhacks the reader at the most sombre moments, that makes this book compelling rereading, even seven years after its first publication.
Read the complete review on AW here
Meja Mwangi’s other book Kill me Quick, also by EAEP won the inaugural edition of Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 1974. During this year’s edition of Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, his book The Boy Gift, also by EAEP, took third position in the youth category. The second position was taken by Ken Walibora with his book Innocence Long Lost, Published by Sasa Sema. The Overall winner was Kingwa Kamencu’s book To Grasp at a Star (EAEP)