Ngügï wa Thiong'o (b. 1938)

Kenyan novelist, playwright, and social critic. Born in what was then British East Africa, Ngügï grew up amidst colonialism, revolution, and the emergence of independent Kenya in 1963. His first novel, Weep Not, Child (1964), and his second, A Grain of Wheat (1967), depict the Mau Mau Uprising against the British. His 1977 play, Ngaahika Ndeenda, written in his native Gïküyü and translated by the author as I Will Marry When I Want (1982), was critical of the Kenyan government, resulting in Ngügï’s year-long imprisonment. He has since lived in self-imposed exile in the United States and is currently a professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. His books include Decolonising the Mind (1986), which argues for the use of native languages; Wizard of the Crow (2006), a novel; and Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir (2010). See also ngugiwathiongo.com.