Writing the Story of Kenya

Construction of Identity in the Novels of Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye

by Petra Bittner (Author)
Thesis 184 Pages


New historicism has profoundly altered the way historiography is perceived by academics as well as the public and novelists have seized the resultant opportunity to render historical events through their artistic lenses. This book analyses the oeuvre of the British-born, Kenyan novelist Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye, one of the best-known Kenyan writers today. Macgoye’s work traces Kenya’s recent history and the nation building process, transcending cultural and literary categories. Part of her achievement is the advancement of a new concept of identity, which rejects an essentialist model. Bittner shows how Macgoye amalgamates different literary genres, creating the story of Kenya in an effort to forge a national identity among members of this young state. Using analytical tools provided by post-colonial as well as Western theory and adapting them to the specificities of the Kenyan context, Bittner’s study proposes original parameters through which Macgoye’s work can be interpreted. These criteria permit a new reading of identity in the post-colonial national context and open up avenues of investigation for the still evolving field of East African literature.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. 184 pp.

Biographical notes

Petra Bittner (Author)

The Author: Petra Bittner received her Ph.D. in English literature from the Technical University of Berlin (Germany). From 1998 to 2001 she was Visiting Scholar at the department of English at Boston University. In the field of post-colonial literature, the author has contributed to scholarly Journals and numerous Conferences. She has taught courses in American and German literature, culture and language at Harvard, MIT, and Boston University, where she has earned awards for teaching and advising.


Title: Writing the Story of Kenya