Again, Ngugi wa Thiongo tipped for Nobel


Win expected to further boost fortunes of African writers


By Ada Anioji


There are very strong feelers that the illustrious Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa Thiongo is in pole position to be named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature in a few days time.

The prize which is considered as perhaps the most influential in the literary world yet, is normally awarded to a writer for the body of literary texts that he has scripted and published.

Established by the scientist and inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, the prize is one of several that are awarded in several subject categories every year. There is also the Nobel Peace Prize that has over time been won by prominent political figures in the world.

Before now, Ngugi, author of the landmark texts like Weep Not Child, A Grain of Wheat, The River Between, Devil on the Cross and I will marry when  want had been mentioned once or more as a likely front-runner for the prize which however did not pan out. Last year, for example, he was reportedly in very strong reckoning until the last minute.

Somewhat corroborating the grapevine buzz that this may finally be the year of Ngugi, his fellow writer of Kenyan descent, Binyavanga Wainaina posted Tuesday night on his Facebook wall: ‘just got an email from Swedish radio asking me to be available `if ““ngugi wins the nobel this year..“““`6 october!!!!’

It will be recalled that the floodgate of African writers winning the Nobel Prize was opened in 1986 when the dramatist and playwright, Wole Soyinka clinched it.

Other African writers that have been honoured with the prize include Nadine Gordimer of South Africa who clinched it in 1001, three years after Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt had also crossed the bar.

Until his death also, Nigeria’s celebrated novelist, Chinua Achebe was severally tipped as a likely laureate but it did not materialize.


Ngugi reading to an assembled audience at a reading event hosted by the United Bank for Africa in Lagos, Nigeria


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