Ben Okri, others on Ngūgī wa Thiong’o’s 82nd birthday

Ben Okri, others on Ngūgī wa Thiong’o’s 82nd birthday

Sunday, January 5, 2020 9:28 pm

From Left, Kunle Ajibade, Executive Editor, The News Magazine; Molara Wood, Journalist and moderator; and Ngugi wa Thiong’o after the panel on Prison Stories and Literature of Resistance at the Ake Arts and Book Festival. Photograph: Ake Arts and Book Festival

Today, Sunday, 5 January is the birthday of Ngūgī wa Thiong’o, the Kenyan literary giant. He was born on 5 January 1938. Below is a piece published (Nigeria’s Ben Okri contributed too) on him today in

Ngugi speaking during the Life and Times Series.Photograph: AdedejiHamed /Elixir

The prolific legend has published 34 books in total. His fictional works include seven novels: Weep Not, Child (1964), The River Between (1965), A Grain of Wheat (1967, 1992), Petals of Blood (1977), Caitaani Mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross, 1980), Matigari ma Njiruungi (1986), Mũrogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow, 2006), and Kenda Muiyuru: Rugano Rwa Gikuyu na Mumbi (2018), published in Gikuyu; and two short story collections: A Meeting in the Dark (1974) and Secret Lives, and Other Stories (1976). He has published four memoirs: Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1981), Dreams in a Time of War: a Childhood Memoir (2010), In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir (2012), and Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening (2016).

In addition, Ngūgī has published thirteen essay collections and nonfictional texts: Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture, and Politics (1972), Writers in Politics: Essays (1981), Education for a National Culture (1981), Barrel of a Pen: Resistance to Repression in Neo-Colonial Kenya (1983), Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986), Mother, Sing For Me (1986), Writing against Neo-Colonialism (1986), Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom (1993), Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams: The Performance of Literature and Power in Post-Colonial Africa (1998), Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (2009), Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing (2012), In the Name of the Mother: Reflections on Writers and Empire (2013), and Secure the Base (2016).

Ngugi wa Thiong’o photographed in Kenya for the FT by Trevor Snapp

Ngūgī has also published four plays: The Black Hermit (1963), This Time Tomorrow (1970), The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976), and Ngaahika Ndeenda: Ithaako ria ngerekano (I Will Marry When I Want, 1977); and three children’s books: Njamba Nene and the Flying Bus (1986), Njamba Nene and the Cruel Chief (1988), and Njamba Nene’s Pistol (1990).

In honor of Ngūgī’s life and works, here are five snippets from introductions written by five African authors to five of his books that were republished by Penguin Random House as part of their African Writers Series.

Introduction to Weep Not, Child by Ben Okri. Continue reading Ben Okri and other contributors in

Image of Okri via SCMP.


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