Writing, Language, and the State

Filed under:

Readings from Wizard of the Crow
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi wa Thiong'o discusses his book Wizard of the Crow. Commencing in "our times" and set in the fictional "Free Republic of Aburiria," Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, this magnificent novel reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is the author of, among other works, Petals of Blood, Weep Not Child, The River Between, A Grain of Wheat, The Devil on the Cross, and Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, now an essential text in post-colonial studies. As a Kenyan who has been grappling with the politics of language in colonialism and national liberation for over forty years, Ngugi writes in his native Gikuyu, translating his works into English himself. In exile now for more than twenty years, Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet and critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o has become one of the most widely read African writers. He is Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine.