Written By Faith Oneya
Perhaps you have been thinking about what books to read next, which ones to buy as presents for the New Year, or maybe you just want to know if you have read any of the books that have made the list! Literary Chronicles has seen it fit to end the year by highlighting some of the bestselling books of 2011 in Nairobi city.
The compilation has been as a result of research conducted at major bookshops in Nairobi. The list is based on the books that elicited the highest sales by December 2011.
LC did not include any school set books for obvious reasons. The concentration is also on adult books as opposed to children’s books.
The bias of the article is on Kenyan authors though there was not much to go by with booksellers admitting that books by Kenyan authors generally registered very low sales. The Kenyan(or rather global citizen) that has maintained consistently high sales through the years remains Ngugi wa Thiong’o.Kwani Trust publications have also dominated the market over the last couple of years thanks to their formidable distribution network and contemporary, cutting-edge and quality work.
In the Kenyan / human style, where heroes are feted after their demise, Wangari Maathai’s books also registered high sales after her death in September 2011 perhaps in a bid to immortalize her.
Self-help books by renowned motivational speaker Pepe Minambo among others also seem to be popular and the “preferred stock” of Kenyan writing for some bookshops.
Award-winning Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie remains a force to be reckoned with as her books literally “fly off the shelf”.
As expected, booksellers register more sales from foreigners (Read: White folks) than from Kenyans. This makes one revisit the words: ‘‘If you want to hide something from an African put it in a book’ and ponder on its grains of truth. That, however, is a discussion for another day.
Novels and Short Story Anthologies
v Half a Yellow Sun-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
v Kwani? African Fiction Omnibus
v On Black Sister’s Street-Chika Unigwe
v Purple Hibiscus-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
v Say You are One of Them-Uwem Akpan
v Son of Fate -John Kiriamiti
v Songs of Enchantment-Ben Okri
v The Stone Hills of Maragoli-Stanley Gazemba
v The Thing around Your Neck -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
v To See the Mountain and other stories (The Caine Prize for African Writing 2011)-Kwani Trust
v Tracking the Scent of My Mother-Muthoni Garland
Memoirs, Biographies and Auto-biographies
v Broken to be Made Whole-Winnie Thuku
v Can Scars Become Stars?-Catherine Gitonga
v Dreams in a Time of War-Ngugi wa Thiong’o
v In my Dreams I Dance -Anne Strike
v Left to Tell(Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust) by Immaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin
v One Day I will Write about this place –Binyavanga Wainaina
v Tale of Kasaya: Let us Now Praise a Famous Woman -Eva Kasaya
v Unbowed-One Woman’s Story-Wangari Maathai
v Wahome Mutahi’s World-Longhorn Publishers
v Anyone Can Win -Murori Kiunga
v Be Inspired before you Expire -Pepe Minambo
v Breaking Protocol (Street Wisdom)Rahab Gikaru
v Challenges of Starting a Business and How to Overcome Them-Murori Kiunga and Muriithi Gituma
v How the Rich Make Money and Keep it by Murori Kiunga
v How to Become a Lifelong Financial Success-Manyara Kirago
v How to Save Money for Investments-Ken Monyoncho
v Inspired for Greatness-Pepe Minambo
v The Art of Entrepreneurship- Mukuri Kunga
v Nairobi 24(An exploration of a city by photographers and writers)-KWANI TRUST-Sponsored by Goethe Institute
v Dead Aid-Dambisa Moyo
v How to Write About Africa-Binyavanga Wainaina
v Kenya Burning-(Magoro Baada ya Uchaguzi)-Kwani Trust
v The Challenge for Africa-Wangari Maathai
v Re-Membering Africa-Ngugi wa Thiong’o
v The Peculiar Kenyan-Sunny Bindra
v Living Memories-Al Kags
v Kizuizini-Joseph Muthee
v How To be a Kenyan-Wahome Mutahi
v Kwani?Hung’arisha Haswa-Africa’s best creative writing-Kwani Trust
v Kwani?Vol.2 Badala ya Aerial Ekeni Sufuria Niwape Food ya Ubongo-Kwani Trust
v Kwani?2 Kwani Trust
v Kwani?Vol.6-Kwani Trust
v Cut Off My Tongue-Sitawa Namwalie
Special Thanks from LC to the Participating bookshops.
|Savanis Bookshop Westgate|
|New Media bookshop, Westgate|
|TBC Sarit Centre|
|Bookstop Yaya Centre|
- Book Review : Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie (progresspublishing.wordpress.com)
- The Alternative, The Underground, The Oh-Yes-That-One List of Favorite Books of 2011 (themillions.com)
- All Hail the African Renaissance: The Storymoja Hay Festival with the British Council in Nairobi (telegraph.co.uk)
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun (smritidaniel.wordpress.com)
- African Literature: Purple Hibiscus (demorrieaux.wordpress.com)
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: religious leaders must help end Nigeria violence (guardian.co.uk)
- Meet the Griot: Grandmaster Masese (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)
- Down to the wire with IndieGoGo! (busarablog.com)
- Half of a Yellow Sun (rheumadroid.wordpress.com)
- ” I am infuriated – and puzzled”-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (africaunchained.blogspot.com)
- Bestselling Books of 2011 (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)
- Meet the Poet: Margaret Muthee (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)