Ngugi wa Thiong’o is a world-acclaimed Kenyan writer cut from the same cloth as African veteran Chinua Achebe. Ngugi is the author of several novels, plays, short stories, critical pieces, and children books. Ngugi reached fame writing in English, and then decided to write in Gikuyu, his mother-tongue. Today, his books are written in Gikuyu, and then translated into English. His first books Weep not child (1964) followed by The river between (1965) were on the secondary school syllabus in Cameroon, and a friend of mine used to love reading The river between.
When Ngugi first started writing in Gikuyu, he was threatened by the Kenyan government, and in the late 70’s, the political overtone of his play I will marry when I want, got him arrested by the then vice-president Daniel Arap Moi (who later became president, and ruled Kenya for 22 years). After his release from jail, Ngugi spent two decades in exile, and tried returning to Kenya in 2004 under the new government, but was viciously attacked in his hotel and his wife was sexually assaulted… after that he returned to the USA where is a professor at New York University. His latest novel, The wizard of crow which is 1000-pages long, and which I own, discusses a dictatorship in an imaginary country in Africa.
Please enjoy an interview with Ngugi wa Thiong’o conducted by Granta magazine. To learn more about one of the greatest African literary geniuses, check out: http://www.ngugiwathiongo.com/, Wikipedia, Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams. If you have never read Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s books, I recommend that you start with The river between, Petals of Blood, A grain of wheat, and Weep not Child.