Celebrated author, playwright and activist Ngugi was Thiong’o becomes the first writer to be nominated for the international Booker prize as both author and translator. – By Stephanie Mwangi.
He is also the first nominee writing in a vernacular language (kikuyu), the International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a book or fiction that is in any language and is then translated to English and published in the UK or Ireland.
The prize money is split between the book’s author and its translator, Thiong’o was among 13 other authors nominated for best translated fiction and he stands to walk away (7.7m shillings).
Ngugi earned the award through his novel called the perfect Nile which the judges described as “a magisterial and poetic tale about women’s place in a society of gods” the book is also written in Kikuyu.
During his acceptance speech in 2020 Ngugi used his mother tongue kikuyu for the 31st Catalonia international prize by the Catalan government .