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Kenyan author, activist Ngügï Wa Thiong’o joins visiting scholar as part of Brown University’s Focus On Africa

The Africana Studies Department, Brown University is pleased to present Politics and the Novel: Conversations in Africana Writing with author and activist Ngügï Wa Thiong’o and George Lamming, moderated by Anthony Bogues, Friday, November 7, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. in Salomon 101 on the Main Green (between George and Waterman Streets. Providence, RI). This historic event will bring two world famous novelists, one from Africa and the other from the Caribbean, writing about the post-colonial moment together with one of the field’s pre-eminent cultural scholars. It is free and open to the public. For more information call 401-863-3558.

Ngügï 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.

George Lamming is considered to be one of the Caribbean’s most important novelists. He entered academia in 1967 as a writer-in-residence and lecturer in the Creative Arts Centre and Department of Education at the University of the West Indies. Since then, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pennsylvania and a lecturer in Denmark, Tanzania, and Australia. He is currently a visiting professor in Brown University’s Africana Studies Department. Lamming’s first novel, In the Castle of My Skin, was published in 1953. Sandra Pouchet Paquet describes it as an “autobiographical novel of childhood and adolescence written against the anonymity and alienation from self and community the author experienced in London at the age of twenty-three.” His more recent works represent an attempt “to rediscover a history of himself by himself.” Lamming has been a receipt of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and Langston Hughes Award. He is the author of six novels and major books of cultural criticism.

Anthony Bogues is Professor and chair of Africana Studies and Brown’s Harmon Family Professor of Africana Studies. Bogues’s major research and writing interests are intellectual and cultural history, radical political thought and critical theory as well as Caribbean and African politics and literature. He is the author of Caliban’s Freedom: The Early Political Thought of C.L.R. James, Black Heretics and Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals, Empire of Liberty: Power, Imperial Freedom and Desire, and Caribbean Thought: History, Literature and Politics. He is also the editor of two volumes on Caribbean intellectual history and has published numerous essays and articles on the history of criticism and critical theory, political thought, political philosophy and intellectual and cultural history. Bogues is an associate director of the Center for Caribbean Thought, University of the West Indies, Mona; an associate editor of the journal Small Axe and a member of the editorial collective for the journal boundary 2. He is honorary professor in the Center for African Studies at the University of Cape Town.

Politics and the Novel: Conversations in Africana Writing with author and activist Ngügï Wa Thiong’o and George Lamming, moderated by Anthony Bogues, takes place on Friday, November 7, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. in Salomon 101 on the Main Green (between George and Waterman Streets. Providence, RI). This program is free and open to the public. For more information call 401-863-3137.