June 15, 2024

I’ve been interested in exploring various languages lately, and one of those languages is Swahili. That has led to wanting to read more (or any) literature from the Swahili Coast of Eastern Africa, or at least somewhere in that vicinity. I’m making a list of authors here and will, I hope, keep updating it as I run across someone else from this region with books available in English translation.

Abdulrazak Gurnah

I have started reading Paradise by Gurnah, and I’m learning a good bit from it. Gurnah is from Zanzibar but lives in England. He won the Nobel Prize for literature for 2021. At this point his work is pretty widely available in English.

Ngugi wa Thiongo’o

I have several of Ngugi’s books on my Kindle. I think they came as some sort of package deal from Penguin Classes. I haven’t read any of them yet, but Ngugi is billed as Kenya’s most prominent writer, so he is definitely on my list. He is said to have written in Gikuyu, a Bantu language, rather than in Swahili or any of the other languages spoken in Kenya. I’m going to start with Wizard of the Crow just because I love that title.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Makumbi is Ugandan and British. I have Kintu and A Girl is a Body of Water on my list to start.

These are the three I have on my list so far. I will come back and update when I’ve made a little progress. I realized recently that almost all of the books I’ve read by African authors have come from Nigeria or another West African country, though I think I have read a few books from South Africa. East Africa is very much a weakness for me in terms of what I know about its literature, history, culture, and so forth. I hope to rectify that little by little.

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