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Jomo Kenyatta/Wahome Mutahi Literary Prizes announced

Marx Kahende, a retired diplomat and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s son, Nducu, are among the winners of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.

Kahende’s book, The Wayward Vagabond, published by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP), won in the adult English category, while Nducu wa Ngugi’s book Benji’s Big Win (EAEP), won in the youth English category. Former Nairobian columnist, Sarah Haluwa’s book, Chadi’s Trip (Storymoja) won in the children’s English category.

The awards ceremony, organised by the Kenya Publishers Association, was held on Saturday evening at the Pride Inn Hotel, in Westlands, at the tail-end of the Nairobi International Book Fair.

Samuel Wachira, a Catholic priest based in Meru won the Wahome Mutahi Literary Prize with his book, Hustlers’ Chains, published by One Planet Publishers.

Other winners included Kiswahili scholar Prof Kithaka wa Mberia, whose book Kwenzi Gizani (Marimba Publications) won the Kiswahili Adult Category. In the Kiswahili youth category, the winner was Mbona Hivi? Written by Shullam Nzioka and published by Oxford University Press.

The winner in the Kiswahili children’s category was Fumbo la Watamu by Ali Attas, published by One Planet.

During the event, Prof Laban Ayiro, the Daystar Universtity Vice-Chancellor, who was the chief guest, challenged Kenyans to embrace the culture of reading if they hoped to become good leaders. He emphasised that reading is a prerequisite to good leadership. He also decried the poor reading habits exhibited by the younger generation and majority of leaders across all sectors.

Kiarie Kamau, the chairman of Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) spoke about the supremacy Kenyan publishing. “We are increasingly becoming a force to reckon with in the area of Publishing in Africa and beyond,” said Kamu, who is also the managing director of EAEP. “We sit on the Executive Committees of the International Publishers Association as well as the African Publishers Network. We publish high quality and wide range of general reading materials, most of which serve a global audience. We are already visible on the digital publishing and online selling space … the two literary awards demonstrate that indeed Publishing in Kenya has come of age.”

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And the winners are…

Kenya Publishers Association announced the winners of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature at the end of the 12th Nairobi International Book Fair. They are:

Adult English Category: 1st position: Blossoms of the Savannah by Henry ole Kulet (Sasa Sema/Longhorn)
2nd position: Hawecha: A Woman for all time by Rhodia Mann (Sasa Sema/Longhorn)
3rd position: The Big Chiefs by Meja Mwangi (East African Educational Publishers)

Adult Kiswahili Category: 1st position: Kyalo Wamitila’s Unaitwa Nani? (Wide Muwa).
2nd position: Vipanya vya Maabara by Mwenda Mbatiah (Jomo Kenyatta Foundation)
3rd position: Kala Tufaha by Omar Babu (Phoenix)

Youth English Category: 1st position: Walk with me Angela by Stephen Mugambi (Kenya Literature Bureau).
2nd position: Lake of Smoke by Juliet Barnes (Phoenix)

Youth Kiswahili Category: 1st position: Dago wa Munje by Sheila Ali Ryanga (Jomo Kenyatta Foundation). Apparently there was no second or third positions here. A little bird tells me the entries were awful.

Children’s English Category: 1st position: The Prize! by Elizabeth Kabui’s (Oxford)
2nd position: On the run by Mwaura Mwigana (Oxford)
3rd position: A Mule Called Christmas by Nyambura Mpesha

Children’s Kiswahili Category: 1st Position: Kisasi Hapana by Ken Walibora (Oxford)
2nd position: Sitaki Iwe Siri by Bitugi Matundura (Sasa Sema/Longhorn)
3rd position: Ngoma za Uchawi by Atibu Bakari (Kenya Literature Bureau)
Winner in the adult categories each got Sh150,000 each, while winner in the youth and children categories got Sh75,000 each

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And the nominees are…

Following the announcement, by the Kenya Publishers Association, that they have increased the prize money from Sh40,000 to Sh150,000 maisha yetu is proud to announce the nominees for this year’s Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature. The judging panel, chaired by Prof Henry Indagasi, of the University of Nairobi, announced the list of nominees as follows: For the adult English category, the nominees are Hawecha, (Longhorn) by Rhodia Mann, Blossoms of the Savannah (Longhorn) by H.R. Ole Kulet and The Big Chiefs (EAEP) by Meja Mwangi. In the Adult Kiswahili category, the nominees are Kala Tufaha (Phoenix) by Babu Omar, Vipanya Vya Maabara (JKF) by Mwendah Mbatiah and Unaitwa Nani (Wide Muwa) by Kyalo Wamitila. Nominees in the English Youth Category are Lake of Smoke (Phoenix) by Juliet Barnes and Walk with me Angela (KLB) by Stephen Mugambi. In the Kiswahili Children’s category nominees are Ngoma za Uchawi (KLB) by Atibu Bakari, Kisasi Hapana (OUP) by Ken Walibora and Sitaki Iwe Siri (Longhorn) by Bitugi Matundura. Nominees in the Children English category are A Mule Called Christmas (Phoenix) by Nyambura Mpesha, The Prize (OUP) by Elizabeth Kabui and On the Run (OUP) by Mwaura Muigania. Winners in both adult categories will win the improved prize money of Sh150,000, while winner in the Youth and Children’s categories will each pocket Sh75,000. The winners will be announced on Saturday, September 26 at Avalon Restaurant along Riverside Drive