Literary Representations of Poverty in Selected Novels of Meja Mwangi and Roddy Doyle


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Literary Studies


The study explores fictional representations of poverty in selected novels of Meja Mwangi and Roddy Doyle, respectively Kenyan and Irish – examining techniques of literary representation and how the two authors make imaginative use of various stylistic techniques and verbal skills to achieve compelling representations of poverty. Rather than suggest that fiction replaces other approaches in the study of poverty, the study calls for a complementary “conversation” between fictional literature and other disciplines in depictions of the condition of poverty. However, the study notes the advantage that fiction has in its nuanced exploration of the subject of poverty. It argues that fiction reflects social reality in interestingly subversive but also empowering ways – showing a unique way of dealing with difficult situations. The six main chapters are thematically arranged, but the analysis draws on a variety of theoretical paradigms including but not limited to those of Maria Pia Lara and Mikhail Bakhtin.