Gendering the Indian Ocean

East African Writers in English

The list of East African writers is intended to be a resource for teachers who would like to include, in their course syllabi, texts by Indian Ocean writers from the East African littoral.  This list does not seek to be exhaustive.  The works here are mainly novels and collections of short stories, with some drama and collections of poetry. Many of the following writers have since moved from their country of origin (e.g., Gurnah now lives in the UK).  Others hail from another location, and have since made their home in E. Africa (e.g., Macgoye is from the UK, and has made Kenya her home).

Beginning in late Summer 2003, I will start to augment this list with links to helpful websites, and will add to the list of secondary sources.  Future additions will also include lesson assignments and reading questions particularly related to questions of gender (e.g., how do authors represent the ways nationalism and the state affect men and women differently?).  I welcome suggestions and comments, though unfortunately I will not be able to act on them nor respond to them until next summer.  However, I will keep them on file.  You may email me at

Primary List

Akare, Thomas. 
  The Slums
  Twilight Woman
Gicheru, Mwangi. 
   Across the Bridge
   The Double Cross
   The Ivory Merchant
   The Mixers
   Two in One
Kahiga, Samuel. 
   Dedan Kimathi, the Real Story
   Flight to Juba
   The Girl from Abroad
   Lover in the Sky
   Paradise Farm
   Potent Ash (co-authored with his brother Leonard Kibera)
Kibera, Leonard. 
   Voices in the Dark 
   Potent Ash (co-authored with his brother Samuel Kahiga)
Macgoye, Marjorie Oludhe.
   Coming to Birth
   Growing up at Lina School (for children)
   Murder in Majengo
   Song of Nyarloka and Other Poems
Mangua, Charles. 
   Kanina and I
   Son of Woman
   Son of Woman in Mombasa
   A Tail in the Mouth:  A Novel
Mativo, Kyalo.
Mollel, Tollolal.
Mwangi, Meja. 
   Adventures with Little White Man
   Bread of Sorrow
   The Bushtrackers
    Carcass for Hounds
    The Cockroach Dance
    Going Down River Road
    The Hunter’s Dream
    Kill Me Quick
    The Return of Shaka
    Striving for Wind
    Taste of Death
    Weapon of Hunger
Ngugi wa Thiongo’o. 
   Black Hermit
   Detained:  A Writer’s Prison Diary
   Devil on the Cross
   A Grain of Wheat
   I Will Marry When I Want 
   Petals of Blood
   The River Between
   Secret Lives and Other Stories
   This Time, Tomorrow
   The Trial of Dedan Kimathi
   Weep Not, Child
Ogot, Grace. 
   The Graduate
   The Island of Tears
   Land without Thunder
   The Other Woman and Other Stories
   The Promised Land
   The Strange Bride


Askar, Ahmed Omar. 
   Sharks and Soldiers
Farah, Nuruddin. 
   Close Sesame:  A Novel
   From a Crooked Rib
   A Naked Needle
   Sweet and Sour Milk 
Faarax, M. J. Cawl.  Ignorance is the Enemy of Love (translated)
Hanghe, Ahmed Artan 
   The Sons of Somal (or Xaange, Axmed Cartan)
Herzi, Saide.
Osman, Abdirazak Y.
   In the Name of Our Fathers.


Deng, Francis Mading.
   Cry of the Owl
   Seed of Redemption:  A Political Novel
Mahjoub, Jamal. 
   The Carrier
   In the Hour of Signs
   Navigation of a Rainmaker
   Wings of Dust
Salih, Tayeb. 
   Season of Migration to the North
   The Wedding of Zein


Gurnah, Abdulrazak. 
   Admiring Silence
   Memory of Departure
   Pilgrims Way
Ruhumbika, G. 
   Village in Uhuru
Vassanji, Moyez. 
   The Book of Secrets
   The Gunny Sack
   No New Land
   Uhuru Street:  Short Stories


Nazareth, Peter. 
   The General Is Up
   In a Brown Mantle
Oculi, Okello. 
   Kanta Rita
   Malak:  An African Political Poem
p’Bitek, Okot. 
   Horn of My Love
   Song of Lawino
   Song of Malaya
   Song of Ocol
   Song of a Prisoner
Ruganda,, John. 
   Black Mamba
   The Burden
   Echoes of Silence
   The Floods
   Music without Tears
Serumuga, Robert. 
   The Elephants
   Majangwa:  A Promise of Rains
   A Play
   Return to the Shadows
 Wangusa, Timothy. 
   A Pattern of Dust:  Selected Poems, 1965-1990
   Salutations:  Poems 1965-75
   Upon this Mountain

Selected List of Secondary Sources

Irele, F. Abiola.  The African Imagination:  Literature in Africa and the Black Diaspora.  Oxford:  Oxford U P, 2001.
Griffiths, Gareth.  African Literatures in English:  East and West.  Essex, UK:  Pearson Education Ltd., 2000.
Ojaide, Tanure and Joseph Obi.  Culture, Society, and Politics in Modern African Literature.  Durham, NC:  Carolina Academic P, 2002.
Simatei, Tirop Peter.  The Novel and the Politics of National Building in East Africa.  Bayreuth, Germany:  Eckhard Breitinger, 2001.

Maintained and updated by the authors, the initial development of this website is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) 2002 Summer Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. The website contents are reviewed regularly for accuracy and timeliness. Efforts are made to update material as the need arises in order to make this information accessible through the Internet. As with many Web Pages, these pages are often "under construction" to reflect the continuous changes in the web and in current information. Therefore, these pages may be incomplete or have missing links. Your patience is appreciated.

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© 2002 Jeanne Dubino All rights reserved.