Nairobi Heat

by Mukoma wa Ngugi

KSh 600

“I generally love my books on the heavy side, the kind that leave me dizzied by humanity and gasping for air. But were I to hit the beach right now I’d take with me something laid back, pleasurable, and still compelling, and Nairobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugi comes to mind. It’s a fast-paced novel about an African-American detective trying to solve the murder of an unnamed young white woman in a whirlwind of action that takes us from a suburb in Madison, Wis., where the crime occurs, to the slums and streets of Nairobi, Kenya. This alone delights me — somehow most African works seem to move in the opposite direction, from Africa to the West.

Nairobi Heat takes us to Kenya with a refreshing authority, and we encounter the East African country as a complex place with interesting people and stories. By the end of the novel I want to pack my bags for a visit. But besides the usual fun and thrill of crime novels, what makes the book a delicious read is that it’s also packed with engaged and relevant social commentary, including the often unexplored relationship between Africans and African-Americans, and the shenanigans that go on in the world of international philanthropy. These may be serious issues but they are easy to wade through because the book is light and easy to read. Despite sections where I had to suspend disbelief, I still couldn’t wait to read the next page.”

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Mukoma-Wa-Ngugi (Author/Prof.)

Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and a book of poetry, Hurling Words at Consciousness. Logotherapy (poetry) is forthcoming. He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and co-director of the Global South Project – Cornell.  The goal of GSP is to facilitate public conversations among writers and scholars from Africa, Latin America, and Asia as well as minority groups in the West.  In 2013, New African magazine named him one of the 100 most Influential Africans.  In 2015 he will be a juror for the Writivism Short Story Prize and the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

 

He is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Rise of the African Novel and the English Metaphysical Empire: Language, Politics and Identity that looks at the African literary tradition.

Mukoma holds a PHD in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University and a BA in English and Political Science from Albright College.  In 2009, he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing  and in 2010 for the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his novel manuscript,The First and Second Books of Transition (Mrs. Shaw). The German translation of Nairobi Heat was named the 2014 Crime Book of the Season by Buchkultur.

A former co-editor of Pambazuka News and political columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Mukoma’s columns have also appeared in The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Ebony.com, Chimurenga, Los Angeles Times,South African Labour Bulletin, Africa is a Country, and Business Daily Africa. He has been a guest on Democracy Now, NPR, Al Jazeera and the BBC World Service.  He is currently a columnist for the popular This is Africa

His essays have been published in World Literature Today, LA Review of Books, The World Today, The Black Commentator,Progressive Magazine and Radical History Review. His short stories have been published in Wasafiri, African Writing,Kenyon Review and St. Petersburg Review, and his poems in theNew York Quarterly, Mythium, Brick Magazine, Kwani? and Tin House Magazine amongst other publications.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi was born in 1971 in Evanston, Illinois, and grew up in Kenya before returning to the United States for his undergraduate and graduate education. He is currently based in Norwalk, CT. He is the son of world-renowned African writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi reads from his work and discusses contemporary African literature at the Library of Congress, part of the series of Conversations with African Poets and Writers.

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Mukoma wa Ngugi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and a book of poetry, Hurling Words at Consciousness. Logotherapy (poetry) is forthcoming. He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and co-director of the Global South Project – Cornell. The goal of GSP is to facilitate public conversations among writers and scholars from Africa, Latin America, and Asia as well as minority groups in the West. In 2013, New African magazine named him one of the 100 most Influential Africans. In 2015 he will be a juror for the Writivism Short Story Prize and the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Rise of the African Novel and the English Metaphysical Empire: Language, Politics and Identity that looks at the African literary tradition. Mukoma holds a PHD in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University and a BA in English and Political Science from Albright College. In 2009, he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing and in 2010 for the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his novel manuscript,The First and Second Books of Transition (Mrs. Shaw). The German translation of Nairobi Heat was named the 2014 Crime Book of the Season by Buchkultur. A former co-editor of Pambazuka News and political columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Mukoma’s columns have also appeared in The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Ebony.com, Chimurenga, Los Angeles Times,South African Labour Bulletin, Africa is a Country, and Business Daily Africa. He has been a guest on Democracy Now, NPR, Al Jazeera and the BBC World Service. He is currently a columnist for the popular This is Africa. His essays have been published in World Literature Today, LA Review of Books, The World Today, The Black Commentator,Progressive Magazine and Radical History Review. His short stories have been published in Wasafiri, African Writing,Kenyon Review and St. Petersburg Review, and his poems in theNew York Quarterly, Mythium, Brick Magazine, Kwani? and Tin House Magazine amongst other publications. Mukoma Wa Ngugi was born in 1971 in Evanston, Illinois, and grew up in Kenya before returning to the United States for his undergraduate and graduate education. He is currently based in Norwalk, CT. He is the son of world-renowned African writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o.