Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was a top contender to win the Nobel prize in literature this year.

Among the favourites is Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, poet Anne Carson, both from Canada, novelist Maryse Condé, from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

We looked for a more diverse shortlist this year and we're moving away from a more ‘male-oriented’ and ‘Eurocentric perspective of literature,” the BBC quoted Academy member Anders Olsson.

Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Ngugi's writing was often critical of postcolonial Kenya and its rulers.

New winners

When he wrote a play in his native language Gikuyu that was when he was seen as a threat and arrested.

As for that elusive Nobel Prize, Ngugi finds it more amusing than anything and says he is more interested in what he calls "the Nobel of the heart."

Every year, when it's time to give out the Nobel Prize for Literature Ngugi Wa Thiong'o is viewed as a top contender.

Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

On Thursday the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 was awarded to the Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. 

Austrian author Peter Handke was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019.