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.


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 ?
Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong'o echoes Fanon when he remarks:
An example is Prof Ngugi wa Thiong'o, as Prof Simon Gikandi and Prof Ndirangu Wachanga narrate in their recently published book, Ngugi: Reflections on his life of writing.
The ilk of Ngugi wa Thiong'o found a permanent home in the West.
Of a fact, it is hardly possible to engage serious debate on the native African language question without due mention of the spirited struggle of the Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o as depicted in some of his landmark works like Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature and Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance.
This year, the guest list included, for instance, Don DeLillo, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Helene Cixous.
That said, earlier this year, in a quietly explosive digital moment, the literary collective Jalada translated a short story, The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright by Ngugi wa Thiong'o simultaneously into 30 languages, 28 of them indigenous African languages; a year ago, Ankara Press, an imprint of Cassava Republic, translatea 14 short stories into various African languages on Valentine's Day; so it seems publishers in Africa are increasingly waking up to the possibility of African literature in indigenous African languages being a huge market opportunity for them.
The rift between Ngugi wa Thiong'o's formal education and the familial and political contexts in which he was born and raised, as well as the literary impasses that ensued from his condition as an exiled constitute some of the main issues the writer has tried to negotiate in the course of his career (1).
I do appreciate the great works of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, distinguished writers Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Chinua Achebe in battling with Western media depictions of Africa.
of Botswana; theater and the African renaissance; and the relevance of Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes and Ngugi wa Thiong'o to the African renaissance.
Since the cultural bomb (Ngugi wa Thiong'o's term) is central to the hegemonic process that "annihilate[s] people's belief...
However, their male compatriot, gifted writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o, leapt far ahead of them in international acclaim.
Only one escape route is available to him: the solution of exemplary severance as proposed recently by the famous Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o in a profession of faith published in Le Monde Diplomatique for August 1987 under the title "the subversive strength of African languages: decolonising the spirit" in which Thiong'o announces that he has decided that he will henceforth write only in Gikuyu, his mother tongue, or in Swahili.