Ngugi wa Thiong'o


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Ngugi wa Thiong'o

(ĕngo͞o`gē wä tē-ŏng`gō) or

James Ngugi,

1938–, Kenyan writer, acclaimed as East Africa's foremost novelist. He studied at universities in Uganda and England. His first novel, Weep Not, Child (1964) and his second, A Grain of Wheat (1967), are accounts of the Mau MauMau Mau
, secret insurgent organization in Kenya, comprising mainly Kikuyu tribespeople. They were bound by oath to force the expulsion of white settlers from Kenya. In 1952 the Mau Mau began reprisals against the Europeans, especially in the "white highlands," claimed as Kikuyu
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 rebellion. Ngugi is particularly concerned with preserving native African languages, and in 1977 he wrote (with Ngugi wa Mirii) and directed a play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (tr. I Will Marry When I Want, 1982), in Kikuyu. The production was so popular among Kikuyu farmers and workers that the government, fearing the play would encourage political dissent, banned it. Arrested and detained (1978–79) for his novel Petals of Blood, Ngugi wrote about his prison experience in Detained: A Writer's Prison Diary (1981). After his release, he continued to write in Kikuyu and English. In 1982 he went into self-imposed exile in London, later settling in the United States, where he now is a professor at the Univ. of California, Irvine. A triumphant trip home in 2004 was cut short when he and his wife were brutally attacked in Nairobi; they soon returned to the United States.

Ngugi's literary targets have included governmental corruption, socioeconomic exploitation, and religious hypocrisy. Some of his writings, such as the novels Petals of Blood (1977), his last novel in English; Caitaani mutharaba-ini (1980; tr. Devil on the Cross, 1982), his first novel in Kikuyu, written while he was in prison; and Matigari (1986, tr. 1990), are still politically controversial. Ngugi's lengthy novel Murogi wa Kagogo (2004, tr. Wizard of the Crow, 2006) is a surreal, allegorical, and satirical fantasia of corruption, venality, and shape-shifting magic in a fictional postcolonial country resembling his homeland—and other 20th-century African nations. His nonfiction works include Barrel of a Pen (1983), Decolonising the Mind (1986), Moving the Centre (1992), and Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams (1998). He also has written children's books.

Bibliography

See his memoirs, Dreams in Times of War (2010) and In the House of the Interpreter (2012); studies by C. B. Robson (1979), G. D. Killam (1980; as ed., 1984), D. Cook and M. Okenimkpe (1983, repr. 1997), C. Sicherman (1990), C. M. Nwankwo (1992), H. Narang (1995), C. Cantalupo, ed. (1995), I. B. Lar and T. I Ogundare (1998), J. Ogude (1999), S. Gikandi (2000), O. Lovesey (2000), P. Nazareth, ed. (2000), and J. G. Ndigirgi (2006).

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References in periodicals archive ?
OPTIMISTIC PLACE I guess I didn't realise just how lucky I was to have conversations there with Elimo Njau, Ngugi wa Thiong'o (James Ngugi then) and Okot p'Bitek Tanzania's greatest artist, Kenya's greatest novelist, and Uganda' greatest poet.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o was imprisoned in his native Kenya in 1977, and while he was never officially charged, his "crime" was daring to write and speak out against the oppressive post-colonial regime.
With names including Margaret Atwood, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and Haruki Murakami leading the odds at the bookmakers, Ishiguro was a surprise choice.
A many-sided intellectual, Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist.
The Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o is one of the greatest novelists to come out of Africa and I would highly recommend his work - his novels Devil on the Cross and Matigari are among my favourites.
The work of Kenyan post-colonial theorist, Ngugi wa Thiong'o is pertinent.
Thus from within this recognition of their own humanity, potential and capabilities, Nyamnjoh considers the issue of "whiteness" and "white-ache" (p 65) by referring to the literary works of Ngugi wa Thiong'o.
Seagull Books puts their recent edition of Zaqtan's Describing the Past (gorgeously translated by Samuel Wilder, who has not left a flat sentence) with books by Ladbrokes listeesLEiszlE Krasznahorkai (20:1) and Ngugi wa Thiong'o (4:1), while also mourning the fact that the great Mahasweta Devi never took the prize .
The challenge for African writers, the Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o famously asserted half a century ago, is a challenge of language; if violence was the weapon of physical subjugation, then language was the weapon of spiritual subjugation.
This links Abdilatif Abdalla to his friend and comrade Ngugi wa Thiong'o, who has often pointed to Abdalla as a comparable role model of political critique and a leading figure in African literature, also because of his insistence on raising fundamental and uncomfortable questions that need to be addressed (for example, Ngugi 1993:94; 1998:16-17, 105; 2009:92-3; 2016).
In this issue, we are privileged to publish fiction by the distinguished Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and a short fiction piece by Eric Priestley.
Emphasizing the insurgent aspects of their work--the Leavises shaking up the stuffy, clubby provincialism of academic English studies up to the 1930s and Brathwaite's challenge to the mimic men and women of Caribbean letters--Kalliney makes an intriguing case that the connections between figures like the Leavises, Brathwaite, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o are more important than the evident differences that also separate them.