Patrice Nganang, a Cameroonian-American novelist, poet, and academic, was detained at an airport and arrested earlier this month in Douala, Cameroon, following the publication of an article critical of government repression in the country. He has been imprisoned in Kondengui, a maximum security prison in the nation's capital, Yaoundé.
Nganang, an associate professor of comparative literature at SUNY Stony Brook, was born in Yaoundé and educated both in Cameroon and in Germany, and holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature. He is scheduled to serve as an Old Dominion Professor at Princeton University in spring 2018, in addition to taking up a fellowship at Princeton's Humanities Council. He is the author of seven books, including the novel Mount Pleasant, which was published in English translation last year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
The publisher learned of Nganang's transfer to Kondengui following an email from his wife, Nyasha, dated December 14, in which she wrote: "This is a very frightening development for me, as it's known to be a sinister place. The lawyers were also informed of a new charge of insulting the armed forces. The Cameroonian government does not appear to be following any defined judicial process, according to my local sources in the legal team and at the U.S. embassy."
In a statement, Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of FSG, called for a wider attention to the issue.
"Nganang was arrested in Douala after writing critically about the Cameroonian government’s brutal response to local instability and protests in the English speaking regions of the country," Galassi said. "As a result of his vocal engagement and advocacy on these issues, Nganang is currently being held in a maximum security prison, without possibility of bail, awaiting a hearing now scheduled for January 19th. We at FSG are extremely concerned about Patrice Nganang’s situation, and join PEN America, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and others in calling for his immediate release and safe return to his family."
Further information is available via a Facebook page, Free Patrice Nganang.