Kenyan author wins prize in literature

Saturday September 16 2023

James Currey Prize for African Literature winner, Peter Ngila Njeri. PHOTO | ALEX MBURU | NMG


Kenyan author Peter Ngila Njeri has won the 2023 James Currey Prize for African Literature for his story, Legend of a Beach House.

Njeri was announced at the closing ceremony of the inaugural James Currey Literary Festival held in Oxford, England, from September 1 to 3.

According to Njeri, The Legend of Beach House is a magical realism novel manuscript in which an ageless gender non-binary being called 'The Angel of Dreams' gets tired of too much human pride and seeks to bring about a new school of thought and philosophy to the world.

The Angel of Dreams picks a pair of triplets living in Kenya's Kahawa West region in 2040 to research the reason behind the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 so that they could look into the existence of other worlds apart from just Mother Earth.

Read: Ayobámi Adébáyo makes longlist for 2023 Booker Prize

A group of mysterious orphans in a nearby children’s home helps with the research, and soon all the characters realise that The Angel of Dreams had picked them before they were born to be part of a noble cause. Njeri received a cash prize of £1,000, and his winning manuscript will be published by Abibiman Publishing UK.


“The jury was impressed by the quality of entries. The writing coming from Africa at the moment is really fantastic and very impressive,” one of the judges, Dr. Nneoma Otuegbe, announced in a video.

Njeri’s manuscript was selected from a shortlist of five writers: Bolga by Bus by A.G. Agambila (Ghana), Akala by William Ifeanyi Moore (Nigeria), Black Fractures in Exile by Limpho Sechele (South Africa), and A Dangerous Job for a Woman by Patricia Brickhill (Zimbabwe).

The James Currey Prize for African Literature is now in its third year.

Njeri's short stories have been published in 10 countries across the world.