July 14, 2020
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Celebrated novelist, poet and literary scholar Mukoma Wa Ngugi will deliver a lecture titled “The Rise of the African Novel: From Chinua Achebe to NoViolet Bulawayo” on Friday, Nov. 14, at 4:10 p.m. in the Cheever Room of Finn House.
Ngugi is among the vanguard of a new generation of African writers whose prose has gained unprecedented popularity. He received acclaim for his 2009 mystery novel Nairobi Heat and was shortlisted for the Caines prize in African writing the same year. Fellow author NoViolet Bulawayo proclaimed the novel a “delicious read… packed with engaged and relevant social commentary.” Publishers Weekly described the work as “an engaging insider's view of the cultural divide between Americans and Africans.” The German translation of Nairobi Heat was awarded the Crime Book of the Year in 2014 by the literary journal BuchMarkt.
Born in Illinois but raised in Kenya, Ngugi returned to the U.S. for his undergraduate and graduate educations, gaining insight into the cultures of both places. Ngugi’s essays and columns have appeared in a number of international publications, including the Daily Nation, an independent Kenyan newspaper, and the BBC.
Ngugi, son of post-colonial literature author Ngugu wa Thiong’o, is an assistant professor of English at Cornell University, and is currently writing a book tentatively titled The Rise of the African Novel in the Age of a Metaphysical Empire: Language, Politics and Identity.
The lecture is sponsored by the Department of English, the Robert P. Hubbard Chair in Poetry, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Kenyon Review, and the Program in International Studies. For additional information, call Pashmina Murthy, associate professor of English at Kenyon, 740-427-5213.
—Matthew Eley '15