13 years after, 81-year-old Ngugi wa Thiong’o set to publish epic novel

Thirteen years after his last novel, ‘Wizard of the Crow’, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who turned 81 on 5 January, is having another one forthcoming. ‘Kenda Muiyuru: Rugano Rwa Gikuyu na Mumbi’, published in Gikuyu by East African Educational Publishers.

 According to Kenya’s The Standard, the book which is “a ground-breaking epic that subverts patriarchy and roots for social equity,” is the author’s 10th fiction book and 34th overall and will be translated into English by him, as ‘The Perfect Nine: The Story of Gikuyu and Mumbi’.

Writing in The Standard, Peter Kimani, author of ‘Dance of the Jacaranda’, described ‘Kenda Muiyiru’ as “ground-breaking on several fronts,” both as an epic, “a genre that he is least known for,” and as “an affirmation of his decades-long commitment of writing in an African language.”

While the revered author has been writing fiction primarily in his native Gikuyu for decades, since 1980’s ‘Caitaani Mutharaba-Ini’ (Devil on the Cross), he has stated that his nonfiction and academic work would continue to be written first in English.

Kimani added that the 136-page novel, Ngugi’s shortest so far, his most feminist yet, saying that it “proudly joins the hallowed space of world epics, such as ‘Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali’ and epics of ancient India such as ‘Ramayana and Mahabharata’. Aesthetically, it is possibly his most sophisticated. Every line encapsulates sage philosophy, rendered with lyrical tenderness.”

In December, ‘Ngugi: Reflections on His Life of Writing’, edited by Simon Gikandi and Ndirangu Wachanga to celebrate his 80 years of age, was released by the British publisher Boydell & Brewer.

VLS calls for submissions to 2019 Valentine’s Day anthology

Nigerian book marketing company, Vanguard Literary Services (VLS), is compiling a romance and sexuality-themed anthology, for the 2019 Valentine’s Day, and is calling for short story submissions.

A statement sent to Blueprint Weekend by the founder of the company, Nonso Anyanwu, said the project “is centered, strictly, on the idea of portraying a romantic Africa, an Africa full of healthy people and environment. It is also a way of presenting to the world a new crop of writers who might have been overlooked or not really had the opportunity to publish their stories.”

Anyanwu, who is also a writer and editor, added that while the anthology will be made available online, “negotiations are ongoing for sponsorship of the print version which would be sold and royalties given to the contributing authors.”

Giving guidelines for submission, the founder said all submissions must be previously unpublished and must be sent as an attachment to [email protected]

“Please paste a 200-word-or-less biography in the body of the mail. Title of Story and Name of Author should be just before the start of the story. Word count: 3000 word to 4000 words. Word font: Calibri (Body) or New Times Roman.

“Formatting: submissions should be 1.5 or double-line spacing. The text should be left Justified. The email subject should be the author’s name and the title of the work. Deadline for submission: 5th February, 2019,” he added.

Blueprint Weekend reports that Vanguard Literary Services “promotes African storytelling through book marketing and distributions, organising writing workshops, mentorship programs, book readings, and literary anthologies.” In 2017, it released an anthology on sexual and HIV/AIDS awareness, The Vanguard Book of HIV/AIDS and Sexual Awareness.

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