83-year-old veteran writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is eyeing a prestigious International Booker prize after his book titled The Perfect Nine earned him a nomination for the award.
With this nomination, he becomes the first writer to be selected as both author and translator of the same book, and the first nominee writing in an indigenous African language.
As described by the judge, Thiong’o’s book which is written in the Bantu language Gikuyu; is a magisterial and poetic tale about women’s place in a society of gods.
Thiong’o is competing for this prize alongside 13 other authors nominated under the best-translated fiction category. The winner will be awarded Kenyan shillings 6.4M which should be shared equally between the author and translator.
This year’s International Booker longlist spans 11 languages and 12 countries, and many of its works also cross genres.
Before embarking on writing in his native language, Thiong’o wrote some of his novels like A Grain of Wheat and Petals of Blood in English. Since the 1970’s he began writing in vernacular language and has since encouraged other writers to embrace the same.
Other than this recent nomination, Thiong’o boasts of several other global awards like the Catalonia International prize, Lotus prize for literature among others.