Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Ngũgi wa Thiong’o

Ngũgi wa Thiong’o was born in 1938 in Kenya. He was educated at Makerere University College in Uganda. In 1964 he wrote his first novel Weep Not, Child.

In 1977 his play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want) led to his arrest and imprisonment under Jomo Kenyatta’s Kenyan government. He spent a year in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison without charge. While behind bars he wrote the novel Devil on the Cross, and later captured his time in prison in Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary.

Ngũgi was released in 1978, but he and his family were continuously harassed by the Kenyan regime. Ngũgi left Kenya and went into exile in 1982. He continued to write and in 1986 his novel Matigari was banned in Kenya. In 1992 he became Professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University and in 2004 he returned to Kenya for two years, until an armed robbery at his home once again forced him into exile for fear of his family’s safety.

Ngũgi is now Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.