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Kenyan literature describes literature which comes from Kenya. Kenya has a long oral and written literary tradition, primarily in English and Swahili, the two official languages of the country.
One of the best known pieces of Kenyan literature is Utendi wa Tambuka, which translates to The Story of Tambuka. Written by a man named Mwengo at the court of the Sultan of Pate, the epic poem is one of the earliest known documents in Swahili, being written in the year 1141 of the Islamic calendar, or 1728 AD.
Thiong'o's first novel, Weep Not, Child, was the first novel in English to be published by an East African. His The River Between is currently on Kenya's national secondary school syllabus. His most famous novel is A Grain of Wheat.
Numerous authors of European background also wrote or based their books in Kenya. The best-known of these include Isak Dinesen (the pen name of Karen Blixen), whose Out of Africa was the basis for the popular film starring Meryl Streep; Elspeth Huxley, author of The Flame Trees of Thika; Margorie Oludhe Macgoye, whose Coming to Birth won the Sinclair Prize; and Beryl Markham, author of West with the Night.(The new Kenyan generation is not let out on poetry, from the city of Mombasa a young poet Changez Ndzai has been the poetry flag bearer across the Kenyan country. Already both local and international poetry websites have been hosting most of his poems.)
- Muchemi Wachira (2 April 2008). "Kenya: Publishers Losing Millions to Pirates". The Daily Nation. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Joseph Ngunjiri (25 November 2007). "Kenya: Ngugi Book Causes Rift Between Publishers". The Daily Nation. Retrieved 14 January 2010.