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Meja Mwangi's first novel, Kill Me Quick, was written in 1973.  
This young adult novel displays Mwangi’s talent for writing lively
stories depicting rural youth and societal problems in Kenya. It
narrates the experiences of Meja and Maina, two youths who
have come to the city with the hope of bettering their lives,
confident that their high school diplomas will lead to success.
However, they are unable to compete for jobs in the city and,
ultimately, they resort to petty theft and crime, and being
exploited by employers. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, in her article ‘Half
Education Is Madness!’: Mwangi’s Teenage Characters Battle
Poverty in a Post colonial African City,' states that the novel
shows the failure of the educational curriculum in post colonial
Africa. She writes that it is 'a typical story of a dream deferred
because each pays the price of daring to hope for a better life'
(15). Kill Me Quick was also made into a stage play.

Mwangi’s keen eye for the drama and humor in everyday rural
life in Kenya shines throughout his work.
Striving for the Wind,
set in the drought years of the 1980s, contrasts a traditional
farmer, who is dependent on oxen for plowing, with a wealthy
neighbor whose imported tractor is incapacitated during a global
petrol crisis. While this novel is suitable for young adults, it does
not shy away from some painful realities. It includes the
seduction of a young schoolgirl by a rich old man, and when the
young girl becomes pregnant, his son says that he will marry her
in his father’s place.

Other themes that are common to all his works are the difficulties
young educated Kenyans face when trying to return to their rural
homes to apply their learning and the impact of corrupt officials
on the lives of the poor. The young adult novel
The Last Plague,
which won Mwangi his third Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in
2001, offers a seldom-heard African male perspective on the
impact of HIV/AIDS in rural areas. Again, it features a well-
educated, well-meaning young man facing many obstacles as he
tries to set up his veterinary practice in a small, dying town.  
Mwangi’s tremendous concern for the poor and disadvantaged—
and his prescriptions for how they could really be helped—
resonate throughout the novel.

Mwangi continues to be a prolific writer. His latest novel,
The
Boy Gift, will be released in North America toward the end of
2006. Suitable for adults and young adults alike, it is about the
confusion caused by the birth of a light-skinned, green-eyed
baby in the Bush Hospital. While political aspirations and
intrigue surround the birth of the boy, at the emotional and
psychological levels the author explores a community’s reaction
to the strange and inexplicable

Readers interested in fast-paced stories that impart
considerable information on contemporary obstacles to rural
development and healthcare are encouraged to continue
reading the impressive list of novels published by Meja Mwangi.
Books
After a successful career as a civil
servant, the Old Man breaks ranks with
the Big Chiefs and is banished to live in
poverty in the Pit. In a bitter
recollection, he reveals how the Big
Chiefs set their subjects against one
another in order to weaken and control
them. Now, like the Old Man who made
it to the top, romanced with power and
came tumbling down into the Pit, the
Boy and his generation are after the
power that the Big Chiefs deem as theirs
and theirs alone.

In this adaptation of Meja Mwangi’s
apocalyptic novel,
The Big Chiefs, the
author has crafted a play that is just as  
inspiring.
THE READER.