Ngũgĩ, Wainaina and the genre autobiography
NAI library staff has compiled this web dossier in view of the seminar with the Kenyan authors Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Binyavanga Wainaina held at the Uppsala Public Library (Stadsbiblioteket) on March 22nd 2013.
Presented below is a selection of resources regarding the two authors who both recently published their memoirs. There are also links and references to biographies more in general, and to resources on the autobiography and memoir as a genre — although with a focus on Africa.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Official web site
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o official web site
Including links to writings, reviews etc.
About Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- "Why Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o should have won the Nobel prize for literature", by Zoe Norridge in The Guardian, October 2010.
- "Celebrating Ngugi wa Thiong'o at 70", by Emilia Illeva in African Writing online, Dec/Jan 2008.
By Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- Resistance to linguistic feudalism and Darwinism : conditions for creating a reading culture in Africa, published in Pambazuka News online, 2009-10-01, Issue 450.
- on Swedish public service television's Kulturnyheterna (available only until March 28 2013)
- at the Göteborg Book Fair 2010 (video)
- Granta Magazine, February, 2010 (on Youtube)
In our library catalogue, AfricaLit:
By Binyavanga Wainaina
- "In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu", Granta Magazine 103 (2008).
- "How to Write About Africa", Granta Magazine 92 (2005). Evidently the most popular article on the Granta website.
In our library catalogue, AfricaLit:
- Binyavanga Wainaina was the founding editor of the Kenyan literary journal Kwani?
Autobiographies and memoirs
In our library catalogue
"Biographies" is the standardised keyword for all titles whether they are about the writers themselves or about another person. You might however benefit from performing a broader search on "memoirs" or "autobiographies" as well.
In the library catalogue you might also want to combine the terms mentioned above with a country or a language to narrow down the results.
At the moment we have in our library nearly all of the Top 10 African memoirs Alexandra Fuller mentions in The Guardian, October 2011.
- Cynthia Kros, "Lives in the Making: The Possibilities and Impossibilities of
Autobiography with Reference to the Case of Amina Cachalia", South African Historical Journal, 64:2 (2012), 236-255.
Abstract freely available, subscription needed for full text access (for instance via NAI or your university).
- Roger A. Berger, "Decolonizing African Autobiography", Research in African Literatures, Volume 41, Number 2, Summer 2010. Abstract freely available, subscription needed for full text access (for instance via NAI or your university).
- Journal of Literary Studies, issues 1 and 2 in 2009 (vol 25) were special issues on "The Power of Autobiography in Southern Africa". Abstracts are freely available, subscription is needed for full text access (for instance via NAI or your university): Issue 2009:1, Issue 2009:2.
- Paul E. Lovejoy, "Autobiography and Memory: Gustavus Vassa, alias Olaudah Equiano, the African", paper at a Tubman Seminar in September 2005 at the Hariiet Tubman Resource Centre on the African Diaspora at York University, Toronto, Canada. Freely available as pdf via the seminar pages.
- Research in African Literatures Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer, 1997 — a special issue on "Autobiography and African Literature". Short article previews freely available, subscription needed for full access (for instance via NAI or your university).
- African Autobiography (pdf) — course given by the Humanities University, specialized on e- and m-learning. The document covers in brief, through seven units, the development of the African autobiography, suggests further reading and puts questions to the student in the end of each unit.
- African Biography on the Internet — link collection within the African Studies section of the Columbia University Libraries.
- Eritrean print and oral culture — archive based in Edmonton including autobiographies and other writings.