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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Thiong'o in 2012
Thiong'o in 2012
BornJames Ngugi
(1938-01-05) 5 January 1938 (age 86)
Kamiriithu, Kenya Colony (present-day Kiambu County, Kenya)
LanguageEnglish, Kiswahili, Kikuyu
EducationMakerere University (BA)
University of Leeds
ChildrenMũkoma, Wanjiku and others
Official website

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (ki;[1] born James Ngugi; 5 January 1938)[2] is a Kenyan author and academic. He is called "East Africa's leading novelist".[3] He started writing in English, but later wrote mostly in Gikuyu. He has written many novels, plays, short stories, and essays. His work has been many different things. He has written literary and social criticism, to children's books. He is the founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal Mũtĩiri. His short story The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright has been translated into 100[4] languages.[5]

Ngũgĩ was a professor at the University of California, Irvine, Northwestern University, Yale University, and New York University. Ngũgĩ has often said to be a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.[6][7][8] He won the 2001 International Nonino Prize in Italy. In 2016, he won the Park Kyong-ni Prize. His children are also popular authors, including Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ[9] and Wanjiku wa Ngũgĩ.[10]

Awards and honours

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Honorary degrees

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  • Weep Not, Child (1964), ISBN 978-0143026242
  • The River Between (1965), ISBN 0-435-90548-1
  • A Grain of Wheat (1967, 1992), ISBN 0-14-118699-2
  • Petals of Blood (1977), ISBN 0-14-118702-6
  • Caitaani Mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross, 1980)
  • Matigari ma Njiruungi, 1986 (Matigari, translated into English by Wangui wa Goro, 1989), ISBN 0-435-90546-5
  • Mũrogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow, 2006), ISBN 9966-25-162-6
  • The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi (2020)

Short-story collections

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Other non-fiction

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Children's books

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  • Njamba Nene and the Flying Bus (translated by Wangui wa Goro) (Njamba Nene na Mbaathi i Mathagu, 1986)[source?]
  • Njamba Nene and the Cruel Chief (translated by Wangui wa Goro) (Njamba Nene na Chibu King'ang'i, 1988)[source?]
  • Njamba Nene's Pistol (Bathitoora ya Njamba Nene, 1990), ISBN 0-86543-081-0[source?]
  • The Upright Revolution, Or Why Humans Walk Upright, Seagull Press, 2019, ISBN 9780857426475[source?]


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  1. Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: 'Europe and the West must also be decolonised'". YouTube. 10 September 2019.
  2. "Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: A Profile of a Literary and Social Activist". ngugiwathiongo.com. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  3. Scheub, Harold; Wynne Gunner, Elizabeth Ann (2 December 2022). "African literature; search for Ngugi wa Thiong'o". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  4. Kilolo, Moses (2 June 2020). "The single most translated short story in the history of African writing: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and the Jalada writers' collective". The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315149660-21. ISBN 978-1-315-14966-0. S2CID 219925787. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  5. "Jalada Translation Issue 01: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o". Jalada. 22 March 2016.
  6. Evan Mwangi, "Despite the Criticism, Ngugi is 'Still Best Writer'". AllAfrica, 8 November 2010.
  7. Page, Benedicte, "Kenyan author sweeps in as late favourite in Nobel prize for literature", The Guardian, 5 October 2010.
  8. Provost, Claire, "Ngugi wa Thiong'o: a major storyteller with a resonant development message", The Guardian, 6 October 2010.
  10. "A Family Affair at Calabash: Lit Fest hosts First Family of Kenyan Letters". Jamaica Observer. 18 May 2014. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  11. "Some of the Prize Winners". Nonino Distillatori S.p.A. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Ehrendoktorwürde der Universität Bayreuth für Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (German)". University of Bayreuth. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  13. "10 Best". TIME. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  14. "Where magic is reality". The Economist. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  15. "Books of the year 2006 | Fighting to be tops". The Economist. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  16. Miller, Laura; Frey, Hillary (13 December 2006). "Best fiction of 2006". Salon. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  17. Kinna (27 August 2010). "Beginnings: Wizard of the Crow". Kinna Reads. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  18. Lewis, Veronica (23 April 2007). "Ngugi Wins Fiction Prize". New University. University of California, Irvine. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  19. Pauli, Michelle (6 November 2007). "Crowd of contenders jostle for Impac prize". The Guardian.
  20. "Ngugi wa Thiong'o". Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  21. "Ngugi Wa Thiong’o" Archived 23 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Booker Prize Foundation. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  22. Flood, Alison (18 March 2009). "James Kelman is UK's hope for Man Booker international prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  23. Williams, John (14 January 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". The New York Times.
  24. "Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Honoured". Ghafla!. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  25. "American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects its 2014 Class of Members". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  26. "The Nicolas Guillén Philosophical Literature Prize". Caribbean Philosophical Association. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  27. "Honoring Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o at Archipelago's 10th Anniversary Gala". Archipelago Books. 18 August 2014.
  28. "Ngugi Wa Thiongo wins 6th Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award". donga.com. 21 September 2016.
  29. "Jalada Africa, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Win at Sanaa Theatre Awards". James Murua's Literature Blog. 16 December 2016. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  30. "Awards: LARB/UCR Lifetime Achievement". Shelf Awareness. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  31. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, lauréat du Grand Prix des Mécènes / Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o awarded Grand Prix des mécènes: actualitte.com
  32. "Inaugural RSL International Writers Announced". Royal Society of Literature. 30 November 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  33. Ibeh, Chukwuebuka (4 February 2022). "Ngugi wa Thiong'o Awarded Prestigious PEN America Honors". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  34. "43rd graduation" (PDF). University of Dar es Salaam. November 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2014.
  35. "Yale awards honorary degrees to eight individuals for their achievements". Yale News. 18 May 2017.
  36. "Honorary Graduates in 2019". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 "List of Works". Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  38. Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1992). Secret Lives and Other Stories. Pearson Education – via Google Books.
  39. Bokemper, Daniel (Summer 2019). "Minutes of Glory and Other Stories by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o". World Literature Today. Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  40. This Time Tomorrow. East African Literature Bureau. 1970. p. 50.
  41. Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo (2018). Wrestling with the devil : a prison memoir. New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-62097-333-2. OCLC 990850151.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  42. "Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: Towards a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa". Oxford Academic. 1998. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183907.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-818390-7.
  43. Mwangi, Evan, "Queries over Ngugi's appeal to save African languages, culture", Daily Nation, Lifestyle Magazine, 13 June 2009.

Further reading

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  • Toh, Zorobi Philippe. “Linguistic Mystifications in Discourse: Case of Proverbs in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Matigari”. Imaginaire et représentations socioculturelles dans les proverbes africains, edited by Lèfara Silué and Paul Samsia, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2020, pp. 63–71.
  • Wise, Christopher. 1997. "Resurrecting the Devil: Notes on Ngũgĩ's Theory of the Oral-Aural African Novel." Research in African Literatures 28.1:134–140.

Other websites

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