Winner of Kenya's top literary prize
Desperate to make ends meet, Ombima commits a “harmless” crime. When he tries to conceal his misdeed, the simple farm laborer becomes a reluctant participant in a sinister affair. If discovered, the consequences could be disastrous for Ombima’s family, friends, and a spate of unwitting, gossipy villagers.
A delicious tale of greed, lust, and betrayal, Stanley Gazemba’s Forbidden Fruit is more than a dramatic tale of rural life in western Kenya. The moral slips and desperate cover-ups—sometimes sad, sometimes farcical—are the stories of time and place beyond the village of Maragoli. Gazemba's novel, previously published in Kenya as The Stone Hills of Maragoli (Kwani? 2010), won the prestigious Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.
paperback ($15.00) and Kindle ($10.00)
Fiction | African Literature
5.5" x 8.5"
Once in a while I come across a novel that affirms life, without cheapening it, or sensationalizing, a book that presents a human condition with such mastery it makes one proud to be alive…they are, for me, the sort of books that make literature great.
What makes [Forbidden Fruit] so special is that it has no pretensions about attempting to address issues of modernity, of city life, of “clash of cultures,” of the rural-urban divide...the issues it deals with are as immediate, even if they are beyond the gaze, beyond the limits of the urbanity that attracts most writers.
—African Review of Books
Publicity, Reviews, & Stanley in the Press
Reviewed in the African Book Review
Reviewed in World Literature Today
For World Literature Today, Stanley writes "What to Read Now: From Aden to Kampala to Washington, D.C."
Stanley is interviewed by Taz (Germany)
Reviewed in Africa in Words
The Crushing of the Safari Ants (New York Times)
Those Are Our People (New York Times)
How Award-Winning Middle Class Shamba Boy Got His Groove Back (Daily Nation, Kenya)
About the Author
Born in 1974 in Vihiga, Kenya, Stanley Gazemba has published three novels: The Stone Hills of Maragoli (Kwani?, winner of the 2003 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for fiction, published in the U.S. as Forbidden Fruit), Khama (DigitalBackBooks), and Callused Hands (Nsemia). He has also published eight children’s books, of which A Scare in the Village (Oxford Univ. Press) won the 2015 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for children’s fiction. Gazemba’s fiction has appeared in ‘A’ is for Ancestors, a collection of short stories from the Caine Prize (Jacana); Africa39: New Writing From Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury); The Literary Review (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.); Man of the House and Other New Short Stories from Kenya (CCC Press); Crossing Borders online magazine; among other publications.
A journalist by training, Gazemba has written for The New York Times, The East African, Msanii magazine, Sunday Nation, and Saturday Nation. Gazemba was the International Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007.
Gazemba lives in Nairobi where he is the editor of Ketebul Music.