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Kenyan author, activist Ngügï Wa Thiong’o reads from his new novel, Wizard of The Crow, as part of Brown University’s Focus On Africa

The Africana Studies Department, Brown University is pleased to present Writing, Language, and Globalization: Readings from Wizard of the Crow with Kenyan author Ngügï Wa Thiong’o, Monday, November 10, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in MacMillan 117 (Starr Auditorium), 324 Brook Street, Providence, RI. This program is free and open to the public. For more information call 401-863-3558.

Author Ngügï Wa Thiong’oNgügï Wa Thiong’o is Kenya’s foremost author and scholar working in English and Gïküyü. Finely attuned to the political implications of language in the experiences of former colonial subjects, wa Thiong’o’s critically acclaimed work includes novels, plays, short stories, essays and scholarship, criticism and children’s literature. He is also the founder and editor of the Gïküyü-language journal, Mutiiri. Wa Thiong’o went into self-imposed exile following his release from a Kenyan prison in 1977; living in the United States, he taught at Yale University for some years, and also taught at New York University, where he was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Languages, with a dual professorship in Comparative Literature and Performance Studies. Currently he is Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation the University of California, Irvine and distinguished professor of Comparative Literature.

Publisher’s Weekly called Wa Thiong’o’s latest novel, Wizard of The Crow, “a sometimes lurid, sometimes lyrical reflection on Africa’s dysfunctions — and possibilities”; Bookforum called it “an epic burlesque of a sick lumbering state and a praise song to the manifold forms of African resistance”; and Foreign Policy puts it on par with “the great Latin American novels of dictatorship by Miguel Angel Asturias, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez … It now stands as a vivid portrait of post-colonialism and the banality of evil.”

Cover of Wizard of the CrowWizard of the Crow is set primarily in the fictional African nation of Aburiria, described as a country “of crooked roads, robberies, runaway viruses of death, hospitals without medicine, rampant unemployment without relief, daily insecurity, epidemic alcoholism.” Aburiria’s despotic ruler proposes to build the world’s tallest building, to be called “Marching to Heaven.” While in New York to get loans from the Global Bank for the tower, the ruler inexplicably begins growing larger and larger. To cure him, a mysterious sorcerer, Wizard of the Crow, is called in. Their adventures, in Africa and New York, unfold in more than 700 pages, narrated by multiple voices from multiple viewpoints. Wa Thiong’o says of Crow: “Globalization is a big drama, and I wanted to explore this phenomenon. It produces a world characterized by a dangerously widening gap between the wealth of a small stratum and the poverty of the social majority within each of the nations of the Earth. This trend is accompanied by loss of voice for the impoverished majority.”

Writing, Language, and Globalization: Readings from Wizard of the Crow with Kenyan author Ngügï wa Thiong’o, Monday, November 10, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in MacMillan 117 (Starr Auditorium), 324 Brook Street, Providence, RI. This program is free and open to the public. For more information call 401-863-3137.