Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening

Ngugi wa Thiong’o. New Press, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62097-240-3
Thiong’o, a Kenyan novelist (Wizard of the Crow) and a UC Irvine English professor, has penned an eloquent, perceptive memoir about coming into his own as a writer. He focuses on his four pivotal years as an undergraduate at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he wrote articles, composed plays, and discovered his voice as a novelist. Outside the university’s confines was a continent in flux; Thiong’o entered Makerere in 1959 as a colonial subject, and left in 1964 as a citizen of independent Kenya. He vividly describes how the colonial regime’s atrocities haunted him and shaped his sensibilities. As he taps his memories and his country’s history for material, he includes insightful commentary on the Land and Freedom Army resistance movement (once known as Mau Mau, a now-disavowed term), the distortions in European and American views of Africa, his social rites of passage at the university, his discovery of the Négritude school of poetry, his uncle’s imprisonment in a British concentration camp, and his mother’s (and mother country’s) sacrifices for his education. Evocative, poignant, and thoughtful, Thiong’o’s courageous narrative will linger in readers’ minds. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
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