Let us first accept that Ngugi wa Thiong’o being listed as a possible contender for the coveted Nobel Prize Award for Literature 2019 is worth celebrating.
This is a milestone for us Kenyans especially bearing in mind the white man’s unfounded claim that Africa is a desert of literary art.
Today, Kenyans have got every reason to celebrate following Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s nomination for the 2019 Nobel Prize Award for Literature.
The celebrated Kenyan author was listed for the competition alongside Maryse Conde (Guadeloupe), Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Lyudmilla Ulitskaya (Russia), Anne Carson (Canada) and Margret Atwood (Canada).
This is a more diverse list as opposed to the male-dominated and euro-centric view of literature.
Some of Ngugi’s works include:
Petals of Blood
Weep Not Child
The River Between
Grain of Wheat
Wizard of the Crow
The winner will be announced on Thursday in the Swedish capital Stockholm.
S/he will consequently receive a cash prize of Kshs 93 million, a diploma and a medal.
Last year’s award was put off due to a sexual and financial abuse scandal which led to the numerous resignations at the Swedish Academy, an independent body that is in charge of the awards.
This scandal greatly daunted and reduced public confidence in the organization.
Jean-Claude Arnault was sentenced to two years imprisonment after being convicted of rape, an incident that delayed the whole process. Jean was also accused of leaking the names of several Nobel Prize winners.
He is the husband of Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Swedish Academy.
Katarina Frostenson, a poet, who was among the seven academy members left the Academy after bitter rows that emanated from the rape accusations levelled against her husband.
There were also serious allegations of leaking of names of Nobel Prize winners and conflict of interest.
It, therefore, paved the way for major changes in how the prize should be awarded.
Lars Heinkeinsten, the Executive Director of the foundation has also confirmed that there are major changes in the panel.
Several new members have been introduced to ensure transparency.
Besides, members will now be allowed to resign.
According to Vincent Dowd, the BBC arts correspondent, these changes have created an impression that chances of future winners being White males who write in English are slim.
The following is a list of the previous winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature:
1. Alice Munro (2013)
2. Bob Dylan (2016)
3. Orhan Pamuk (2006)
4. Toni Morrison (2003)
5. Gabriel Garcia (1982)