Meja Mwangi

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Meja Mwangi
Born David Dominic Mwangi
(1948-12-27)December 27, 1948
Nanyuki, central Kenya
Nationality Kenya
Education Nanyuki Secondary School, Kenyatta College, University of Leeds[1]
Occupation novelist, a film industry professional (screenwriting, assistant directing, casting, location management)
Agent Annemarie Friedli
Known for One of Kenya's leading novelists; author for children's books with African people and culture
Notable work Kill Me Quick (1973), Going Down River Road (1976),[2] the Cockroach Dance (1979)[3]
Awards Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa (1975-6). For awards for literal works, see Section-signMeja Mwangi#Prizes and awards

Meja Mwangi (born 27 December 1948)[4] is one of Kenya's leading novelists.[5] Mwangi has worked in the film industry, including screenwriting, assistant directing, casting and location management.


He was born David Dominic Mwangi[4] in Nanyuki, Kenya, and was educated at Nanyuki Secondary School, de:Kenyatta College and studied at the University of Leeds for a while.[1] He then worked on odd-jobs for French Broadcasting Corporation, a British Council in Nairobi for Visual Aids Officer,[6] before he turned to full-time writing. He was Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa (1975-6).[4]

Between 1975 and 1976, Meja Mwangi stayed in the United States of America as a Fellow in Writing at Iowa University writers’ workshop. Mwangi, the path to a popular writer was never obtained casually. After prolonged period in the Kenyan and African publishing scene over the years, he moved to the US after the recognition in several awards and winning reputation.[7][8]

American publishers who was interested him as a juvenile literature novelist started to issue his works, and those publishers also put on print Mama Dudu, the Insect Woman (2007),[9] as well as two screen plays, Power (2009), and Blood Brothers (2009) a work expanded from Mama Dudu, the Insect Woman. His best known early work is a trilogy of Kill Me Quick (1973), Going Down River Road (1976),[2] and The Cockroach Dance (1979),[3] illustrating the urban landscape in Kenya with struggle against poverty and epidemic of AIDS.[10]

Prizes and awards[edit]

For general readers[edit]

For juvenile readers[edit]

  • de:Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize), for Kariuki und sein weißer Freund. Eine Erzählung aus Kenia (Little White Man (1990) title changed to Mzungu boy (1992))
  • Le Prix Lire au College for Kariuki (1992)
  • American Library Association (USA) Notable Children's Books Award for Older Readers, The Mzungu Boy (2006)[12]


Literary works[edit]

Before recognized internationally as a novelist, Meja Mwangi worked as a soundman at French television ORTF,[13] when he started writing his first novel.[14] His literal works were issued and read by limited readers in Kenya and African nations until translation in French, German, and English began in the 1980s when he had put several novels in print already.

In English[edit]


Screen play[edit]



"Interviews on Voice of America" was recorded between 1975-1979, and broadcast preservation master was archived for Library of Congress Magnetic Recording Laboratory in 1977.[19][note 1] It was in 1979 when the unedited version of audio recording was copied from tapes lent by Lee Nichols, the interviewer of the program, which was archived at the Library of Congress. The transcript of broadcast version was produced around 1977.[20] Bernth Lindfor interviewed twenty-seven writers from six African countries including Meja Mwangi. Lindfor was a prominent scholar of Africana, and he archived in his library the four magazines that published those interviews. Lindfor reprinted them, or Palaver,[21] Dem-Say, Mazungumzo, and Kulankula.[22][23]


  1. ^ Additional formats, Washington, D.C.: 1 sound tape reel : analog, 7 1/2 ips, 2 track, mono. ; 10 in. Unedited version -- preservation master. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress Magnetic Recording Laboratory, 1979. On 1 sound tape reel: analog, 7 1/2 ips, 2 track, mono.


  1. ^ a b He did not complete a full university degree at University of Leeds."Meja Mwangi biography". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b Going Down River Road. Peak Library. Heinemann. 1976. ISBN 9780435901769. 
  3. ^ a b The Cockroach Dance. 1979. ISBN 0-582-64276-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Carol Brennan, "Meja Mwangi", Gale Contemporary Black Biography.
  5. ^ "Meja Mwangi". Contemporary Writers. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. 
  6. ^ Chakava, Henry (1976). An H.E.B. Student's Guide Notes on Meja Mwangi's Kill Me Quick. Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Educational Books (East Africa) Ltd. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  7. ^ Ciugu, Mwagiru (2013-12-13). "Meja Mwangi, the reclusive writer with a mighty pen". Nation Media Group. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  8. ^ Writing has been very hard work for him. It was certainly not a very easy occupation, though as moving from Kenya to the United States, the literal environment as well as material for Meja Mwangi will be abundant to be advantages for his career.
  9. ^ Mama Dudu, the Insect Woman. Columbus, OH: HM Books. 2007. ISBN 978-1-84728-468-6. 
  10. ^ Dictionary of African Biography, via Oxford African American Studies Center database, accessed March 13, 2015.
  11. ^ Arana, R. Victoria (2008). The Facts on File companion to world poetry: 1900 to the present. Infobase Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-8160-6457-1. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  12. ^ "2006 Notable Children's Books announced — Older Readers". The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  13. ^ "soundman for French Broadcasting Corp., Nairobi". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  14. ^ Kill Me Quick. East African Ecucational Publishers. 1973. p. backmatter. 
  15. ^ "Meja Mwangi". Literature: Writers. British Council. ISBN 0-435-90143-5. Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2016-10-23. 
  16. ^ Meja Mwangi; Ola Balogun (fr) (director). Cry Freedom. Nigeria. 
  17. ^ Muriungi, Agnes (2001-12-31). "The 'Total/Real' Man and the 'Proper' Woman: 1 Safe sex, risk and gender in Meja Mwangi's The Last Plague". English Studies in Africa. 
  18. ^ "Kariuki (aventures avec le petit homme blanc)" (in French). 1992. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  19. ^ Meja Mwangi, Lee Nichols (Interviewer) (1977). Meja Mwangi of Kenya (1 sound tape reel (30 min.) analog, 7 1/2 ips, 2 track, mono; 7 in). Conversations with African writers (Radio program) (Full sound recording). Archive of World Literature on Tape, between 1975-1979. Washington, D.C., USA: Voice of America (Organization). LCCN 96703614. 
  20. ^ Voice of America (1981). Conversations with African writers. Washington, D.C. pp. 195–205. 
  21. ^ "Palaver". UNCW's online interdisciplinary journal. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  22. ^ "Africa Talks Back: Interviews with Anglo-phone African Authors — Book Review)". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  23. ^ Roger, Kurtz, J (2003-04-01). Lindfors, Bernth, ed. "Interviews with Anglo-phone African Authors — Book Review". World Literature Today. Africa Talks Back. Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press. ISBN 086543-965-6. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]