Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye

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Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye
Born Marjorie Phyllis King
(1928-10-21)21 October 1928
Southampton, England, UK
Died 1 December 2015(2015-12-01) (aged 87)
Nairobi, Kenya
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Citizenship Kenyan
Alma mater Royal Holloway, University of London
Years active 1983–2009
Spouse Daniel Oludhe Macgoye (m. 1960–90)
Children Four

Marjorie Phyllis Oludhe Macgoye (21 October 1928 – 1 December 2015) was an English-born Kenyan novelist, essayist and poet.[1]


Born Marjorie King in 1928 in Southampton, England,[1] Marjorie travelled to Kenya to work as a missionary in 1954. She worked at the S.J. Moore Bookshop on Government Road, now Moi Avenue in Nairobi, for some years. There she organised readings that were attended by, among others, Okot P'Bitek, author of Song of Lawino, and Jonathan Kariara, a Kenyan poet. She met Macgoye, a medical doctor, and the two were married in 1960.[1]

In 1971, an anthology entitled Poems from East Africa included the acclaimed poem "A Freedom Song".[1] Her 1986 novel Coming to Birth won the Sinclair Prize[1] and has been used as a set book in Kenyan high schools.[citation needed] She has been called the "mother of Kenyan literature".[1][2]

Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye died on 1 December 2015, at her home in Nairobi.[3]


  • 1972: Murder in Majengo
  • 1977: Song of Nyarloka and Other Poems
  • 1986: Coming to Birth
  • 1987: Street Life
  • 1987: The Present Moment
  • 1994: Homing In
  • 1997: Chira
  • 2005: A Farm Called Kishinev (winner: Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature)
  • 2009: The Composition of Poetry


  1. ^ a b c d e f ed. by Simon Gikandi. Encyclopedia of African literature. London: Routledge. p. 135. ISBN 0-415-23019-5. 
  2. ^ "Coming to Birth". The Feminist Press. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Ilieva, Emilia (1 January 2016). "Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 

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