The shortlists for the Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature 2021 have been revealed by the Kenya Publishers Association today, September 19, 2022.

The Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature celebrates Kenyan writers in the categories of fiction for adults, youth (young adults), and children in English and Kiswahili every two years. The awards, running since 1972, are given by the Kenya Publishers’ Association. Some of the previous winners of the award have been Okot P’Bitek, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, John Habwe, Meja Mwangi, Wahome Mutahi, Margaret Ogola, Ngumi Kibera, and Stanley Gazemba.

In 2019, the Kenya Publishers Association decided to make the Wahome Mutahi Prize a category in the main awards and have the combined honour given every two years. The winners that year were Mutu Wa Gethoi, Mwenda Mbatiah, Kinyanjui Kombani, Hassan Ali, Jennie Marima, and Simiyu Mukuyuni. Click here to read our reporting of the award ceremony.

The next edition of the awards was due in 2021 but due to a global pandemic, the announcement was deferred to this year. The Kenya Publishers Association which administers the awards, which apart from title sponsors Text Book Centre also has Madison Group as co-sponsors, have today announced the shortlisted titles for this cycle of the awards.

Those in the running are;

Adult Category in Kiswahili

  • Tubadilishe Jina, Leonard Sanja, Oxford University Press
  • Kwenzi Gizani, Kithaka Wa Mberia, Marimba Publications
  • Wema Waliobaki, Alphonse Ndambuki, Oxford University Press

Adult Category in English

  • Leading Light, Kithusi Mulonzya, One Planet
  • David Livingstone: The Wayward Vagabond, MGN Kahende, East African Educational Publishers
  • The Havoc of Choice, Wanjiru Koinange, Bunk Books

Youth Category in Kiswahili

  • Mbona Hivi, Shullam Nzioka, Oxford University Press
  • Makovu Ya Uhai, Shisia Wasilwa, Queenex Publishers
  • Taabu Ya Tabu, Mathias Momanyi, East African Educational Publishers

Youth Category in English

  • A Journey To Becoming, Egara Kabaji, One Planet
  • Benji’s Big Win, Nducu Wa Ngugi, East African Educational Publishers
  • Let’s Talk About This, Moraa Gitaa, Worlds Unknown Publishers

Children Category in Kiswahili

  • Tatiza La Mamba, Odhiambo Obura, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation
  • Fumbo La Watamu, Ali Attas, One Planet
  • Paka La Zena Na Hadithi Nyingine, Pauline Kea, Queenex Publishers

Children Category in English

  • The Secret Wish, Jennie Marima, Setmark Publishers
  • Chadi’s Trip, Sarah Haluwa, Storymoja Publishers
  • The Yao Stories, Seth Mboya, Storymoja Publishers

Wahome Mutahi Prize for Literature

  • Fools Express, Charles O. Okoth, Queenex Publishers
  • Hustler’s Chains, Samuel Wachira, One Planet

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Nairobi International Book Fair which runs in Nairobi from September 28 to October 2.

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