Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Literary Birthday – 5 January – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o


Happy Birthday, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, born 5 January 1938.

Quotes

  1. If you really think you’re right, you stick to your beliefs, and they help you to survive.
  2. If I meet an English person, and he says, ‘I write in English,’ I don’t ask him ‘Why are you writing in English?’ If I meet a French writer, I don’t ask him, ‘Why don’t you write in Vietnamese?’ But I am asked over and over again, ‘Why do you write in Gikuyu?’ For Africans, the view is there is something wrong about writing in an African language.
  3. If you can control the psyche of a people, then in a sense, you don’t even have to have a police force.
  4. What’s good about writing is that when you write novels or fiction, people can see that the problems in one region are similar to problems in another region.
  5. Through the act of translation we break out of linguistic confinement and reach many other communities.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is a Kenyan writer and academic. His work includes novels, plays, short stories, and essays, ranging from literary and social criticism to children’s literature. He has published 34 books, including seven novels, two short story collections, and four memoirs: Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary, Dreams in a Time of War: a Childhood Memoir, In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, and Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening. His popular Weep Not, Child (1964) was the first major novel in English by an East African.

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 by Amanda Patterson

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