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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Books In Order

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Publication Order of Adventures of Njamba Nene Books

Njamba Nene and the flying bus (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Njama Nene's Pistol (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Memoirs Books

Dreams in a Time of War (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In the House of the Interpreter (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Birth of a Dream Weaver (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Weep Not, Child (1964)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The River Between (1965)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Grain of Wheat (1967)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Petals of Blood (1977)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Devil on the Cross (1980)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Matigari (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wizard of the Crow (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Perfect Nine (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Upright Revolution (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Plays

The Black Hermit (1968)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I Will Marry When I Want (1982)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Secret Lives and Other Stories (1975)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
This Time Tomorrow (1977)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
To Stir the Heart: Four African Stories (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Minutes of Glory and Other Stories (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Homecoming (1972)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Detained (1981)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Decolonising the Mind (1981)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Writers in Politics (1981)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Barrel of a Pen (1983)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Writing Against Neocolonialism (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Moving the Centre (1993)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams (1998)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Speaks (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Something Torn and New (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Globalectics (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In the Name of the Mother (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Secure the Base (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Language of Languages (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

The Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has been hugely influential over the course of his lifetime, creating a long-lasting literary legacy. Seen by many as East Africa’s leading novelist, he’s written in both English and Gikuyu, with him being a massively versatile novelist. Writing in various different formats, including short stories, plays, novels, and essays, he’s a gifted writer with a lot to say. Working as an academic too, he’s provided insight into a whole range of different issues and subjects, providing his own unique perspective.

For the duration of his career, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has produced a great deal of literature, with much of it being cited by his peers and contemporaries alike. Shining a light on issues in Kenya, it would provide an insight into the political upheaval there, while doing it with humor and intelligence. His unique perspective as an author would prove to be massively popular, with many of his books reaching readers from around the world. Setting himself apart as a writer, he would go on to become one the best and most influential authors working within his field.

Not only did he write groundbreaking stories, but he also wrote fully fleshed out three-dimensional characters who really stood out from the page. Pushing the format to its fullest, he would take his writing in new and exciting directions, creating something entirely new in the process. Speaking at numerous establishments around the world, he’s made a name for himself that is quite unlike any other today. With a long-lasting legacy that continues to grow to this day, his writing isn’t disappearing any time soon, as more and more discover it all the time.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1938 on the 5th of January, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, born James Ngugi, was born and raised in Kamirithu, Kenya. Growing up speaking both English and Kikuyu, his family would be swept up in the Mau Mau Uprising, this being integral to his life. His brother would serve in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o would later go on to change his own name.

Studying at Alliance High School, he would later go on to attend Makerere University College based in Kampala, Uganda. Also attending the African Writers Conference in Makerere in 1962 as a student, he would see his play, ‘The Black Hermit,’ premiere at The National Theatre. Four of his children have also gone on to become gifted writers as well, as his legacy continues to inspire to this day.

Writing Career

Publishing his first novel in May, 1964, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o would make his big literary debut with the title ‘Weep Not, Child.’ It would also be the first novel in English that would be written from a writer in East Africa, and he would publish under the name James Ngugi. Later he would change this name after travelling to England and studying for an MA in Leeds, publishing all subsequent books as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

Studying a range of different subjects, he would begin to form the basis of his own literary output, writing numerous academic essays as well. Over time he would come to write in a variety of different formats, from plays to novels, making him one of the most versatile writers to date. Continually putting out work, he would begin to write in Gikuyu, later translating many of his stories back into English as well.

Petals of Blood

First published in 1977, this would come out through the ‘Heinemann – African Writers Series’ outlet, with it being a stand-alone novel. Set in Kenya at the time, it would deal with a whole range of different themes and ideas, from capitalism and corruption, to education. On the book’s release, the vice-president of Kenya would order Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s arrest, and he would be released in 1978, before being forced to live in exile with his family.

A foreign-owned brewery sees three of its directors murdered, as the story itself takes place in upcountry Kenya. On the surface, everything appears to be a straightforward investigation, while underneath there are numerous tensions brewing in modern-day Kenya. Depicting a country that’s teetering on the edge, the investigation itself could potentially uncover a country frustrated with its own leaders. What is really going underneath it all, can they hope to discover the truth, and where will their investigation take them as they uncover the petals of blood?

This book has so many layers, yet it remains so accessible, making it easy to pick up, providing plenty of insight. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o himself would be arrested by the Kenyan government upon its release, despite having no charges against him. Still as incendiary as ever, the book provokes plenty of food for thought, as it shines a lot of light on a serious subject.

Wizard of the Crow

Originally released in 2006, this was translated into English from Kikuyu by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o himself, with its magical realist narrative. Hugely entertaining, it would be his first novel in over twenty years, making a massive impact upon its first release. First published through the ‘Harvill Secker’ publishing imprint, this would be a stand-alone title, receiving the ‘Tähtifantasia Award’ in 2008.

Taking place within the ‘Free Republic of Aburĩria,’ this charts a battle that rages for the souls of the Aburĩrian people. Seeking to capture Africa during the twentieth century, this follows two thousand years of history, with numerous contenders participating in the battle. From ‘His High Mighty Excellency,’ the eponymous wizard, to the corrupt Christian Ministry and the villainous Global Bank. Who is going to emerge victorious from it all, can they find the truth, and what will finally become of the Wizard of the Crow?

Told with a lot of humor and wit, this engaging insight into Africa and its place in the modern world is compelling on every level. There are so many different elements to this novel, as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o really manages to bring them all to life for the reader. The story itself is easy to follow and accessible, making it a definite must for those looking to find out more on the subject matter.

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