Ngugi WaThiongo & these Literary Awards

Ngugi is an important writer, prolific. He has played a big role in shaping African literature. Because of the sheer size of his work – his novels, his essays -, he deserves one of these European prizes that everyone gets. Recently, Achebe received the Mann Booker prize for his literary achievement; we all (I know I did) celebrated such an honor. Now, where is Ngugi’s Mann, Ngugi’s Nobel, Ngugi’s Booker? Don’t tell me his works are too political to be practical for these prizes, or that his stance on language and literature is too radical. He still writes (translates) in English, goes on to portray the experiences of his people, and as a writer, stays close to politics, in some cases taking the position of the voice of the voiceless, has been improsioned for such choices, and now he holds an important position in the area of international languages and translation there in California’s Orange County. Ngugi, let me hasten to say, should be accorded the honor he deserves (something, a Nobel etc, or perhaps something coming from deep within Africa? A prize of African origins? Maybe something named after one of Africa’s pioneer authors? Maybe an Okigbo? A Mutswairo Orange Prize? Something…).

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