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Henrik Ibsen Returns in New List of Set Books

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has release the new set of compulsory texts for KCSE 2019-2022. The new list affects the books that were not affected in last year’s revision. The affected books in English are; ‘The River and the Source’, ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ and ‘Betrayal in the City’. In Kiswahili, the only affected book was ‘Kidagaa Kimemwozea’ which bows out to be replaced by Assumta Matei’s ‘Chozi La Heri’

The new list sees the return of 19th Century playwright Henrik Ibsen into the syllabus. Ibsen’s other title, ‘An Enemy of the People’ was a popular text that was taught and tested between the years 2009-2013. This time, the selection panel have settled for Ibsen’s other classic, ‘A Doll’s House’.

The new list of set texts also sees the entry of veteran playwright, actor and Literature scholar, David Mulwa, into the high school set books’ arena. His play, ‘Inheritance’ has been selected as the optional set text to replace Francis Imbuga’s ‘Betrayal in the City’ whose stint came to an end in KCSE 2017.

It’s also interesting to see another newcomer in the name of Henry Ole Kulet who has, for a long time, been side-lined by the Ministry despite being one of the most accomplished writers in the country. The two-time Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature winner got his 2008 publication, ‘Blossoms of the Savannah’ selected as a compulsory set text replacing Margaret Ogola’s long standing title, ‘The River and the Source’.

In terms of themes, KICD chose to remain with the usual themes of women empowerment which are central in the English compulsory novel (Blossoms of the Savannah) as well as in the compulsory play (A Doll’s House). The optional English text, Inheritance, deals with the issues of governance and politics of succession.

The above texts will be an addition to the ones released late last year. They included: The Pearl, Memories We Lost and Other Stories, ‘Kigogo’ and ‘Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine’

The table below shows all the new texts

No. Title Publisher Duration Status
1. Blossoms of the Savannah by Henry Ole Kulet Sasa Sema Publishers 2018-2022 New Compulsory Novel
2. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen Penguin (Spotlight Publishers (E.A) Limited.) 2018-2022 New Compulsory Play
No. Title Publisher Duration Status
1. Inheritance by David Mulwa Longhorn Publishers 2018-2022 Current optional play
2. Memories We Lost and Other Stories (Approved by KICD 2016 Edition) Moran E.A. Publishers 2017-2021 New anthology of short stories
3. The Pearl (Approved by KICD 2016 Edition) by John Steinbeck Bookmark Africa 2017-2021 New optional novel
No. Title Publisher Duration Status
1.  Chozi La Heri Assumta Matei One Planet 2018-2022 New Novel (Riwaya)
2. Kigogo by Pauline Kyovi (Kimeidhinishwa na KICD Toleo la 2016) Storymoja Publishers 2017-2021 New play (Tamthilia)
3. Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine by Alifa Chokocho na Dumu Kayanda (Kimeidhinishwa na KICD Toleo la 2016) Longhorn Publishers 2017-2021 New anthology of short stories (Hadithi Fupi)


At My literature Lesson, we shall be looking at the English set books in great details.


Talk to us. What do you think about the new titles?

John Nyakoyo

Does written Literature rock your boat like it does mine? I think so… that’s why you’re here 🙂 Join me as I take a look at some of East Africa’s most prolific writers and their works.

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