April 25th 2017

Society / Education

Egerton beats other universities to Oludhe Macgoye’s collections

Egerton University has received the entire literary archives of the Late Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye, the illustrious British-born Kenyan writer who died in December 2015

By Lemmy Bramwellbramwel@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 18 Jun 2016 15:30 EAT

Egerton University has received the entire literary archives of the Late Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye, the illustrious British-born Kenyan writer who died in December 2015.

Marjorie had donated a significant part of her collection to the university in 2007, but this April her family gave her entire collection to the university. The collections in the archive include the first and progressing drafts of her notable books such as Coming to Birth, Punda, Chira, and printouts of Kishinev with notes and cuttings.

Born on October 21, 1928 in Southampton, UK, Marjorie studied English at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and a Masters in English at Birkbeck College, University of London. Thereafter, she took a job with the Church Missionary Society, arriving in Nairobi in 1954 to run the church group’s bookshop.

It was the height of Emergency, and she frequently visited Remand Prison where her future husband, Daniel Oludhe Macgoye, worked as the medical officer. They married in 1960, after which the family moved to Kisumu, where Marjorie immersed herself in a life of teaching and writing. She was one of Kenya’s best known writers, and she contributed to the literary careers of such writers as Okot p’ Bitek, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Taban lo Liyong, Ibrahim Hussein and Jonathan Kariara.

The university also announced at its 34th graduation ceremony that James Foster, a Kenyan citizen of British, donated a wide personal collection of books and printed materials on subjects ranging from history, agricultural and scientific research concerning land to crops and animal husbandry. The books are set to be transferred to the University and will be housed at a separate location within the University.

As a colonial era collector, Foster had rare books on social studies of people, their origins and customs, the economics of the nation, health and education of the people. Foster has been in Kenya from 1954, serving as chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya, St. John Ambulance Brigade and as Kenya’s Commissioner for the President’s Award Scheme among other important positions.

The Foster library, whose main readership is set to be mainly senior scholars and postgraduate students, is set to open its doors in July.

The writer is a student at University of Kabianga currently on internship at the Kenya Free Press.





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