Literature as a force for change

A meeting with nobel prize nominee Ngugi wa Thiong’o

This year marks 50 years since the important book Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o was published, a book made available in Norwegian translation last year, under the title of Hvetekornet. Thiong’o is Africa’s most celebrated author and is often mentioned in association with the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and the dismantling of the British colonial rule are central themes in his writing, but also heroism and betrayal, lackeys and rebels, and the random events that often determine the side on which many people land. Thiong’o wrote his first published books in English, the language of the authorities, but then began writing in his mother tongue, kikuyu, a decision that led to both imprisonment and corporal punishment. Since his debut in 1962, he has written more than 30 books in different genres and this spring he is making headlines in Norway with the Norwegian translation of The River Between (Elven som skiller). Meet him in conversation with Tonje Vold.

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