Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o spoke in Toronto several years ago about his experiences as a young writer, finding a place in African writing and international writing communities.
I am looking forward to memoirs which will consider this period but, in the meantime, Dreams in a Time of War (2010) and In the House of the Interpreter (2012) consider his younger years.
Stories are important from the start:
“Daylight is always welcome. It allows the book of magic to tell me stories without interruptions except when I have to do this or that chore.”
Readers learn about family relationships.
“Now banished from my larger family by my father, I was lucky to have my younger brother and the book of stories for companions and the solace of reunion with my mother in her father’s place, the place of her birth.”
And about conflicts which later he wrestled with in words too.
“Thus in moving from a Kamandũra, a Kĩrore school, to Manguo, a Karĩng’a school, I was crossing a great historic divide that had begun way before I was born, and which, years later, I would still be trying to understand through my first novel, The River Between.”