Nuria Books announces its Top 100 Kenyan books of 2022.

Kenyan bookstore Nuria Books announced its Top 100 Kenyan Books of 2022 on Monday, January 9, 2023.

In 2015, Abdullahi Bule set up the Nuria bookstore; named after his mother, in Nairobi, Kenya; nuria also incidentally is a play on the word “nuru” which is “light” in Kiswahili. He started selling what was in vogue at the time, motivational and self-help books as well as biographies and novels mainly sourced from out of the country.

It all changed when he ran into Kenyan writer Joan Thatiah whose titles local stores wouldn’t stock thus she was forced to go to street vendors. Sympathising with her plight, he was happy to give her books a home. From that one writer, Nuria Books has quickly become the unofficial store of books authored by Kenyan writers. At this moment in time, half of his sales come from Kenyan readers buying titles of all types written by Kenyans.

On January 9, the store announced its top-selling books written by Kenyans of the year 2022. Reflecting the state of Kenyan letters today, with many of the so-called publishers chasing the educational book market, very few of these writers went to traditional publishers. They opted to go down the Self-Publishing route which has vastly improved in quality of product compared to what was quite terrifying just a decade ago. It is also an invaluable snapshot of what is being produced and consumed in Kenya today.

The biggest contributors to this Nuria list are the nonfiction titles with 63 of the 100 being in that category. These include biographies of personalities both prominent like politicians and not so well known like professionals in their respective fields. Here we saw work by among others Helen Pilale Nkaissery, Lilian Nga’ng’a, Babior Newton, David Musila, Robert Omamo, Lee Njiru, Prof. Bethwell Ogot, Oginga Odinga and the like. Then there are the essays written by the likes of Dr Willy Mutunga, Nanjala Nabola, Wahome Mutahi, Prof Githu Muigai, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and others. Apart from the memoirs, there are several works the self-help in topics like personal finance, education, and more.

The fiction entries, 33 of them, include novels for adults and children, short story collections and anthologies while poetry was the least with only four entries. Some of the big fiction sellers are Caroline Kinya Mbaya, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, Ciku Kimeria, Eunniah Mbabazi,Jackson Biko, Douglas Logedi, Otieno Opondo, Wanjiru Koinange, and Charles Chanchori.

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Here are those 100 books in full;

  • Unplugged, Jacob Aliet (Nonfiction)
  • Thursdays, Jackson Biko (Fiction)
  • Beer Pressure, Otieno Opondo (Fiction)
  • Juakali MBA, Dr Torooti Mwirigi (Nonfiction)
  • The Rise of A Hustler: From Chicken Seller to Presidency, Babior Newton (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The Big Conservation Lie, John Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada (Nonfiction)
  • The Path to Kaliech, Robert Omamo (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The President’s Pressman: A Memoir, Lee Njiru (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Making Cents: Real Conversations about personal finance, Waceke Nduati Omanga (Nonfiction)
  • Amandla: Born of the First Congo War, Antonio Longangi (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The Cannabis Story: The Health, Wealth and the Law on Marijuana, John Ochola (Nonfiction)
  • Heart Whispers, Brenda S. Wanjira (Poetry)
  • A life Undeserved Maingis Tribulations, Warugongo Wamathai (Fiction)
  • Beacons of Judiciary Transformation, Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga (Nonfiction)
  • Naika, Nyaboke and the Dead Lemon Tree, Rumona Apiyo (Fiction)
  • My Career, My Life, Dr Nagib A Omar (Nonfiction – self-help)
  • Disco Matanga, Alexander Nderitu (Fiction)
  • How To Get Into Harvard, Ed Magema (Nonfiction – self-help)
  • Wealth Beyond Generations, Karumba Kinyua (Nonfiction – self-help)
  • Guru: A Long Walk to Success: An Autobiography, Narendra Raval, Kailash Mota (Nonfiction – biography)
  • This Girl is on Fire, Wangari Kuria (Nonfiction – biography)
  • One Touch, Shijedi Derick, Barack Wandera (Nonfiction – education)
  • Chomz: A Novella, Nanu (Fiction)
  • How to invest in the Stock Market, Peter Wambu (Nonfiction – self-help)
  • Lords of Impunity Book, Rasna Warah (Nonfiction)
  • 50 Memos To Men, Silas Nyanchwani (Nonfiction)
  • Teens Guide to the Constitution of Kenya, Sandra Ochola (Nonfiction)
  • From The Cradle To The Cradle By Tony Olang (Nonfiction)
  • Tom Mboya, Prof. Bethwell Ogot (Nonfiction – biography)
  • In the Shadow of my Father, Oburu Oginga (Nonfiction – biography)
  • A Perfect Score; a Metis Alumnus Memoir, Clifford Chianga Oluoch (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The Havoc of Choice, Wanjiru Koinange (Fiction)
  • Best of Whispers: Politics, Family & Society, Wahome Mutahi (Nonfiction)
  • Declare Your Interest, Hamisi Wawire (Fiction)
  • A Slice of Darkness for Breakfast, edited by Charles Chanchori (Fiction – anthology)
  • The Leaves of May, Muthoni Maina (Fiction)
  • Carving of a Firebrand: A journey of brokenness, breakthrough, loss and restoration, Irene Kendi (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The Midnight Sun, J.B. Omukangala (Fiction)
  • The Art of Institutional Leadership: Unleashing the Potential of Emotional Intelligence, Prof. Laban Ayiro (Nonfiction)
  • Woman Beneath her Feet and Other Stories, Ida Kemunto and others (Fiction – anthology)
  • Boots Don’t Lie, Mariam Mell’Osiime Mpaata (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Looters and Grabbers, Joe Khamisi (Nonfiction)
  • Not Yet Uhuru, Oginga Odinga (Nonfiction)
  • Cocktail from the Savannah Book, Ciku Kimani-Mwaniki (Fiction)
  • Once, There was a Star, Meshack Yobby (Fiction)
  • They Were Us: Stories of Victims and Survivors of Police Brutality in Kenya, Kanyi Wyban (Nonfiction)
  • Back-Fence Talk and Other Vices, Caroline Kinya Mbaya (Fiction)
  • Broken Rhythm, Imani Wambui, Debrah Mulemiah, Gathoni Kinuthia, Eric Rugara, Tom Mwiraria, Vivian Sharon, Rehema Zuberi (ResH) and Odhiambo Kaumah (Fiction – anthology)
  • When a Stranger Called, Vincent de Paul (Fiction)
  • Away from Victory: Pain, Politics and Privilege in Kenya Football, Zachary Oguda (Nonfiction)
  • Dreams On A Motorcycle, Dr Kevin Rombosia (Nonfiction)
  • My Little Yellow Book, Sakina Taki (Poetry)
  • Should I? Your Questions about Money Book, Florence Bett (Nonfiction)
  • When The Ancient Tree Falls, Jared Ojuok (Fiction)
  • Decolonising the Mind Book by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (Nonfiction)
  • Murdering Romance, Kendi Karimi (Fiction)
  • Unbowed: One Woman’s Story, Wangari Muta Maathai (Nonfiction – biography)
  • The Campus Exile, Collins Ongoma Sakwah (Fiction)
  • Kenya’s Tax Czar: Autobiography, MG Waweru (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Vumba, Hassan Mwana wa Ali (Fiction – Kiswahili)
  • Of Pawns And Players, Kinyanjui Kombani (Fiction)
  • Scars Of A Nation: Survivor Of Kiambaa Church Massacre And The Elusive Justice, Peter Mbuthia (Nonfiction)
  • Mastering your money, Chacha Nyaigoti Bichanga (Nonfiction)
  • If You Don’t Mind Me Saying: Your Mental health is more Important, Josephine Kharay Macharia (Nonfiction)
  • Power, Politics & Law, Prof Githu Muigai (Nonfiction)
  • Wallet Words: A practical guide to managing personal finances for financial fitness, Wahome Ngari (Nonfiction)
  • The Colour of The Sun, Achieng Opiyo (Nonfiction)
  • It Is Possible, Phoebe Muga Asiyo (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Herding the Zebra, Peter Otieno (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Dawn of Fortune by Wanjiru M. Thuku (Fiction)
  • The Whorehouse Book, Njoki Kamande (Fiction)
  • Women of the Light, Mugoiri Old Girls Association (MOGA) (Fiction)
  • Black Coffee Steamy Nights, Eudiah Kamonjo (Poetry)
  • Staying the course: A memoir, Dr Lydia Nzomo (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Everything I know about life, Joan Thatiah (Nonfiction)
  • Treason, Miguna Miguna (Nonfiction)
  • Tamed by Trees and Other Stories, Rebecca Wanjiku (Fiction – Children)
  • Beyond the Shadows of My Dream: The Biography of Martin Oduor Otieno, Martin Oduor Otieno (Nonfiction – Biography)
  • Raindrops and Roses, Patrick Lavince (Poetry)
  • Going Down River Road, Meja Mwangi (Fiction)
  • Across The Bridge, M. Gicheru (Fiction)
  • The House of Rust, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber (Fiction)
  • Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move, Nanjala Nyabola (Nonfiction)
  • The Unbirthed Souls, Eunniah Mbabazi (Fiction)
  • Don’t Buy That House, Nashon Okowa (Nonfiction)
  • Madam First Lady, Lilian Nga’ng’a (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Despite Everything: A memoir on Family, Resilience and the PhD Journey, Diana Wangeshi Wambua (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Seasons of Hope, David Musila (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Luo Kitgi gi Timbegi, Ker Paul Mboya(Nonfiction)
  • A love affair with the sun Book, Michael Blundell(Nonfiction – biography)
  • Dance of the Monkeys Book, Ciku Kimeria (Fiction)
  • Bouncing Back & Thriving: Titans’ Secrets To Rising, Thriving and Staying on Top of Your Game, Joyce Gikunju (Nonfiction)
  • The Shadow of a Bullet, Douglas Logedi (Fiction)
  • The General and I: A memoir, Helen Pilale Nkaissery (Nonfiction – biography)
  • Unbounded, Boniface Mwangi (Nonfiction)
  • Forward to Independence: My Memoirs Book, Fitz Remedios Santana de Souza (Nonfiction – Biography)
  • Nairobi: 5453ft, Susan Wakhungu-Githuku, Natalie Githuku (Nonfiction)
  • Think. Aspire. Achieve, Prof Madara Ogot (Nonfiction)
  • Through The Wilderness Of Life, Richard Kioko Kiundi  (Nonfiction – Biography)
  • Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories, Laura Ogana (Fiction – children)