Harry Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner novel has been recognised by the Independent Press Award in the General Fiction category.
The book by Gerald Everett Jones won the Silver Award after being voted as Distinguished Favorite in the category.
This is the seventh award for the novel published in June last year. Notably, the acclaimed author has been feted 14 times in the last two years.
The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers, and professional copywriters. Selected IPA Award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.
This year, the IPA competition had entries from across the world. Some of the authors who participated were from countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Jordan, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland.
Set in Kenya, Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner exposes intrigues on the Kenyan coast and the corruption vice in the East African country.
The book was inspired by real events fictionalized by the author to protect the guilty.
Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner follows the story of a lonely, widowed, middle-aged American expat from Los Angeles, United States, who seeks solace and good times in a resort town on the white-sand beaches of the Indian Ocean.
“Sex tourism is how it starts, but geopolitical intrigue is how it ends,” Jones writes.
In the story, Harry is persuaded to join a group of adventurous “voluntourists” by Aldo Barbieri, a slick Italian tour operator.
Harry doesn’t find the promised thrill with local women in the town. However, he meets Esther Mwemba, a demure widow who works as a bookkeeper. Although the connection is intense and reciprocal, Harry is concerned when he learns that Esther and Aldo have a past together.
Victor Skebelsky, reputed to be the town’s meanest guy, is introduced to him. Skebelsky intends to use his large colonial mansion and residential property as a rehab centre to avoid paying taxes. According to the plan, Harry will be in charge of the charity.
Harry has to come to terms with questions at the heart of his character: Is corruption a fact of life everywhere? Is all love transactional?
In the end, Harry refuses to be a bystander, who lets other people decide his fate.
As highlighted by Desmond Boi, an editorial writer for The Standard and Citizen TV, Kenyans can borrow Harry’s values on how to deal with similar vices bedevilling the country.
“Harry Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner is a captivating, witty read that explores the sociopolitical climate in Kenya in an honest way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. This is a clear and compelling outlook that realistically paints Kenya while exploring glaring issues that are a bane to the country,” writes Boi.
“When Harry decides to stop being a bystander who lets other people decide his fate, it’s noteworthy. This can be equated to Kenyans finally deciding to take responsibility rather than just going with the flow, waiting for decisions that affect their lives to be made for them. And it can be done without selling one’s soul in the process and leave a legacy and a better country worthy of its name.”
Other awards the novel has won include Florida Authors and Publishers Association (Bronze) in Adult Fiction, National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) Best in Literary Fiction, New York City Big Book Award (Silver), Royal Dragonfly Honorable Mention, Best Indies Top Shelf 100, and the IRWIN Award for Best Literary Fiction from the Book Publicists of Southern California.