Meja Mwangi is a Kenyan writer who began his writing career in the 1970s, a decade after compatriots Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Grace Ogot had already published. Born in Nanyuki, Kenya, in 1948, Mwangi initially made a huge impact on the literary world with his first novel, Kill Me Quick which was published in 1973 and received the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature in 1974.
Mwangi was hailed in various quarters as a rising star in the East African literary constellation for helping to disprove Taban lo Liyong’s oft-cited claim that East Africa was a literary desert.
Since then, Meja Mwangi has gone on to establish himself as one of the most prolific Kenyan writers, publishing eleven novels in 17 years in addition to short stories, children’s books and working with a variety of projects in film. Mwangi’s works have received awards in Kenya and abroad, have been translated into six languages, and there are film versions of two of his novels.
While Mwangi has touched on all of these concerns, we might divide his work into three major categories. The first comprises his Mau Mau novels. For many Kenyan writers, the armed resistance to British colonialism, which came to be known as the Mau Mau revolt and reached its height in the 1950s, was a far-reaching experience.
Although “Carcase for Hounds” was Mwangi’s first novel, it was his second to be published, as well as the second to be filmed. The book has much in common with Mwangi’s other Mau Mau novel, Taste of Death. Both feature the typical Mwangian style of fast-paced action and snappy dialogue. Continue reading