Kenyans remain hopeful that renowned writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, will this time round win the coveted Nobel prize in literature.
Regarded as East Africa’s most influential writer, Ngugi has always been tipped to win the prestigious prize since 2010 but lady luck has never smiled on him.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee is set to announce the winner of what is widely considered to be the world’s most prestigious prize on Oct 8. The most expectant field Africans focus on is in the field of literature.
Caribbean-American author Jamaica Kincaid, Canadian poet Anne Carson, Hungary’s Peter Nadas and American novelist Thomas Pynchon are also being fronted as possible winners with the secretive jury expected to play it safe in the wake of three years of controversy.
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Five Africans have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature was Nigerian essayist, poet and playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, in 1986.
Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz in 1988, South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer in 1991, and J.M. Coetzee in 2003, and Zimbabwe’s Doris Lessing in 2007.
Ngugi is famed for distinguished literary work and defense of African languages with his popular Weep Not, Child (1964) recorded as first major novel in English by an East African. His other books include Wizard of the Crow, Petals of Blood, Weep Not Child, The River Between and A Grain of Wheat.
Last year, the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Peter Handke, an Austrian writer.
The prize has been mired in scandal since November 2017, when the Swedish Academy, which selects the winner, was caught up in sexual abuse and financial misconduct allegations, which resulted in the conviction of Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson, for rape in 2018
History of the Nobel Prizes
The Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1901 and conferred on top achievers in six fields: Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Physiology or Medicine, Promotion of Peace and Economic Sciences.
Prize-winners are often individuals, teams of two or three and organisations called Nobel Laureates. The laureates are nominated by their peers, including former laureates, politicians, justices and academics among a few others, and then secretly chosen by Nobel Committees and prize-awarding institutions.
For the peace prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee composed of five members is appointed by the Norwegian parliament.
The Committee chooses the laureates through a majority vote before the winner is announced in October.
The awards were created by Swedish scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel who bequeathed most of his fortune to the establishment of the prize upon his passing in 1896.
The first prizes were presented in 1901 and since then, over 900 people have been awarded.