MEJA MWANGI is a prolific Kenyan novelist who has achieved worldwide recognition as a most exciting writer. He was born
in 1948 in Nanyuki in central Kenya, and was educated at Nanyuki Secondary School and Kenyatta University College.
Kill Me Quick (1973), was his first novel and has received acclaim over the years. A subsequent
work, Carcase for Hounds (1974), won the inaugural Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature. Meja Mwangi won the Jomo Kenyatta
Prize for Literature again in 2000, through his seminal novel, The Last Plaque. His other works are: Going Down River
Road (1976), Striving for the Wind (1990) and The Boy Gift (2006), which was first runner-up in the 2007 Jomo Kenyatta
Prize for Literature; and runner-up in the 2008 Wahome Mutahi Literary Award. Apart from writing novels, Meja is also extensively involved in film-making.
After a successful career as a Government Minister, the Old Man breaks ranks with the Big Chiefs and is banished to a
remote outpost in the Northern Frontier. In an emotional recollection to the Boy, he reveals how the Big Chiefs used the colonial labels of tall and short to set their subjects against one another. Although he is caught up in the genocide that ensues, the Old Man lives to tell his story, albeit with bitterness. The mind-boggling question for the Boy is why a
people who fasted and feasted together, lived and reasoned together, intermarried and integrated, should suddenly rise against each other's kith and kin. Yet, like the Old Man who had made it to the top, gloated over power and wealth and came tumbling down to the Pit, the young generation is only but searching for a spark of light to illuminate the inherent evil so evident in the hearts of men - and women - who believe in the right of might.
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