Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an assistant professor of English at Cornell University and the author of Nairobi Heat, Black Star Nairobi, and Hurling Words at Consciousness. In 2014, Buchkultur named the German translation of Nairobi Heat the Crime Book of the Season. In 2009, Mukoma was short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing and in 2010 for the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his manuscript The First and Second Books of Transition, which became Mrs. Shaw.

Listed in: African Studies · African Literature · Fiction

Photo of Mukoma Wa Ngugi



Mrs. Shaw · A Novel
By Mukoma Wa Ngugi

In the fictional East African Kwatee Republic of the 1990s, the dictatorship is about to fall, and the nation’s exiles are preparing to return. One of these exiles, a young man named Kalumba, is a graduate student in the United States, where he encounters Mrs. Shaw, a professor emerita and former British settler who fled Kwatee’s postcolonial political and social turmoil.

“What emerges in Mrs. Shaw is the cyclical nature of a postcolonial nation-state returning, over and over again, to its violent origins. Yet Mukoma is just as critical toward revolutionary movements that they themselves cannot escape the pathologies of violence.… Mrs. Shaw is a treatise on traumas, individual and collective, but it is also a document on working through these physical and psychological wounds through the technologies of writing.”

Los Angeles Review of Books