Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
One of the most famous books about Kenya, this autobiographical novel by Danish writer Karen Blixen describes the time she spent in Africa. Blixen left Denmark for Kenya in 1914 to run a coffee plantation. The book beautifully describes African landscape and life during the last years of the colonial British Empire.
Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Set is Kenya’s turbulent 1950s and 1960, Dust is debut novel by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. The action begins with a murder of a young man Odidi Oganda on the streets of Nairobi. The death prompts the reunion of his family and unlocks the memories of the past. The book covers a range of topics like life in Kenya before and during the liberation struggle, Mau Mau rebellions and Tom Mboya’s assassination.
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
Collection of five stories written by Nigerian Jesuit priest. Each of the stories is told from the perspective of a child and set in different African country. Beautiful and devastating, Say You’re One of Them shines a light on the poverty and violence that exists in many African nations.
The White Masai by Corinne Hoffman
The White Masai is an autobiographical novel written by Corinne Hofmann about the time she spent in Kenya, where while on vacations in Mombasa she met and fell in love with a Samburu warrior. Despite language and cultural barriers, she decides to leave her home country of Switzerland and move to an isolated Masai village.
One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
In this memoir, Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina tells the story of his middle-class childhood in post-colonial Kenya and journey toward becoming a writer. Along his personal story, Wainaina also describes the life in Africa in the seventies and eighties, Western influences and political unrest.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
Circling the Sun takes readers back in time to 1920’s colonial Kenya. This is the fictionalised story of Beryl Markham, an extraordinary woman, record-setting aviator and racehorse trainer. Markham was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo from east to west, the achievement however isn’t the focus of this novel.
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
A book by Kenyan novelist and playwright Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. The story takes place in a Kenyan village, in 1963 during preparation for Kenya’s independence day (Uhuru day). It focuses on Mugo, the village’s hero, who is haunted by a terrible secret. As Mugo’s story unfolds, we learn about other villagers’ troubled past.
My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty
A memoir by a young middle class American woman, who spent a year living with a Maasai tribe in rural Kenya. The book describes the cultural differences, customs, beliefs and Maasai way of life .