The shortlists for the Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature 2019 were announced by the Kenya Publishers Association on September 9, 2019.
The Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, considered the most prestigious literary award in Kenya, has been handed out by the Kenya Publishers’ Association since 1972. Writers are celebrated in the categories of fiction for adults, youth (young adults), and children in English and Kiswahili. Some of the previous winners of the award have been Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, John Habwe, Meja Mwangi, Wahome Mutahi, Margaret Ogola, Ngumi Kibera, and Stanley Gazemba.
In the past, the award happened every second year alternating with the Wahome Mutahi Prize set up to honour the late great Kenyan satirist and author Wahome Mutahi who passed away in 2003. The Mutahi award celebrates works that explore human rights, governance, etiquette and other social issues using humour and satire. Some of the previous winners of the prize, first handed out in 2006, have been Ng’ang’a Mbugua and John Habwe as well as Oduko Bw’ Atebe.
In 2019, the Kenya Publishers Association have opted to have one annual award ceremony overall instead of alternating between the two awards. The new initiative is the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature with the Wahome Mutahi Award being the category focused on humour and satire. The award sponsors are bookshop chain Text Book Centre.
The shortlisted titles for this year’s awards are
English Adult Category
- Remembrance by Lily Mabura – Published by Longhorn Publishers.
- Elders of the Mace by Mutu wa Gethoi – Published by Longhorn Publishers.
- A Spider’s Web by Samuel Wachira- Published by One Planet and Media Services.
Kiswahili Adult Category
- Hidaya Yangu by John Habwe- Published by Moran Publishers (E.A).
- Watoto Wa Mwelusi by Mwenda Mbatiah- Published by Jomo Kenyatta Foundation.
- Hujafa Hujaumbika by F.M. Kagwa- Published by Longhorn Publishers
English Youth Category
- A Boy Named Koko by Adipo Sidang’- Published by Longhorn Publishers.
- Finding Columbia by Kinyanjui Kombani- Published by Oxford University Press
- Do or do by Kinyanjui Kombani- Published by Oxford University Press
Kiswahili Youth Category
- Picha Ya Karne by Hassan Ali- Published by East African Educational Publishers
English Children Category
- Trio Troubles by Jennie Marima- Published by Setmark Publishers.
- Curious Koko and the Water Activities by June Mwikali- Published by Longhorn Publishers
Kiswahili Children Category
- Busara Na Hekima by Simiyu Mukuyuni- Published by East African Educational Publishers.
- Masaibu Ya Bintu by Yahya Mutuku- Published by East African Educational Publishers
Wahome Mutahi Literary Award 2019 Shortlist
- Of Pawns and Players by Kinyanjui Kombani- Published by Oxford University Press
The awards will be handed out during the closing ceremony of the Nairobi International Book Fair 2019 on September 28, 2019.