Today, I submitted to the English Department the description of a seminar I will be teaching in the Fall, 2011, titled "Ngugi: African Literature and Politics." Here is the description, now available to prospective students:
Ngugi wa Thiong’o is one of Africa’s leading writers. He is also a political and cultural activist. He has written short stories, novels and plays, as well as essays on literature, politics and language. He is the most well known champion of African language literatures. His work draws on sources as diverse as Gikuyu folklore, The Bible, Chinua Achebe, Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon. In this seminar, we will read and discuss a selection of Ngugi’s works in a chronological order, including his earliest short stories, The Black Hermit, The River Between, The Trial of Dedan Kimathi, A Grain of Wheat, and Wizard of the Crow. We will explore the evolution of Ngugi’s writings, and how he has been influenced by, and in turn influenced, African writing and debates about politics, culture and language. Studying Ngugi offers a unique opportunity to understand the relationship between literature and politics in contemporary Africa.
(The photo above, featuring Ngugi and me, was taken during Ngugi's visit to Macalester College, where he gave a reading of Wizard of the Crow)