Peter Nduati named winner of the 2023 Book Prize

Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize

Winner of the second edition of the Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize Engineer Peter Nduati for his book Gooka from the Village to the City with Mrs Margaret Lesuuda, Director of Education, Ministry of Education at the Multimedia Library of the Alliance Française de Nairobi on December 15, 2023 

Photo credit: Pool

Engineer Peter Nduati is the winner of the 2nd edition of the Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize. In his book Gooka from the Village to the City, he describes his experiences and his love for the elderly. The ceremony was held at the Alliance Française de Nairobi Multimedia Library on December 15, 2023.

In his acceptance speech, Eng Nduati, 70, said: "This prize is a challenge to grandfathers and grandmothers. They are sources of wisdom and experience. They are trusted and believed by their grandchildren. We can pass on this wisdom to the grandchildren," he said.

"We have an opportunity to instil in them the true values of education, hard work, generosity, respect for elders and integrity, and change the trajectory of this nation," he added.

The runner-up was The Leaves of May, a novel by Muthoni Maina, while the second runner-up was Back-Fence Talk and Other Stories by Caroline Kinya Mbaya.

The 2023 winner will receive a cash prize of Sh30,000 which is an increase from 2022 where the winner received Sh20,000.

The award ceremony was presided over by Ms Margaret Lesuuda, Director of Education at the Ministry of Education.

The book, Gooka from the Village to the City, is a memoir that captures the author's daily experiences intertwined with the past, making the narrative both semi-biographical and a social commentary moulded in historical, scientific and mathematical satire.

The winner of the second edition of the Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize is a writer who exudes energy and vitality for his age.

The prize aims to recognise independently published books by Africans, with a focus on stories that address Africa's present and future (Afro-currency and Afro-futurism).

Gooka from the village

The cover of Gooka from the Village to the City by Eng Peter Nduati. 

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

It is awarded annually and is administered by the Kenyan pan-African publishing house Mystery Publishers.

During the event, Dr Emmanuel Shikuku Tsikhungu of Kenyatta University said, "As Africans, we should continue to write about ourselves and our cultures because if we do not write ourselves, others will, and the result could be so disastrous".

The event saw a fusion of art, literature and open mic performance. The audience was entertained by open mic performers Oyamo Richard and Abanu (Bryan Bundi). The guest of honour urged artistes and writers to keep writing to be global citizens as envisaged in the African Union's Agenda 2063 'The Africa We Want'.

Ms Lesuuda also urged writers to write in African languages to preserve our culture.

According to the chairperson of the judges, Lexa Lubanga, who is also the founder of Kenyan Readathon, an annual reading marathon that encourages readers to read only Kenyan writers/books, the winning book must score over 90 per cent (judges' score) in the professional assessment. For a book to be considered good on Afro-currency/Afrofuturism, it must score over 80 per cent. For runners-up, books must score between 80 and 90 per cent in professionalism.

"Different books scored differently; some would be strong in writing style but fail in professionalism and theme; others would be strong in professionalism but fail in theme; while others would be good in theme but fail in writing style and professionalism," she said.

"It is therefore up to us to support such initiatives, as it will be a challenge to recognise them without the necessary support, resources and systems," appealed Vincent de Paul, CEO of Mystery Publishers.

The speakers encouraged independent writers to invest in their writing, to preserve our (African) art and culture in their works, and to be humble in their endeavours.

"From 2024, the prize will be open to all African writers living on the continent or in the Diaspora," said Vincent de Paul.

The Director of Alliance Française de Nairobi, Mr Charles Courdent, said that Alliance Française de Nairobi will continue to support linguistic diversity and self-published authors. In 2023, the Alliance Française de Nairobi supported over 50 book launches by Kenyan self-published authors.