Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Picture of Ngugi wa Thiong'o
UCI Distinguished Professor, Comparative Literature
School of Humanities
UCI Distinguished Professor, English
School of Humanities

Phone: (949) 824-6722
Fax: (949) 824-6723
University of California, Irvine
279 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 2651
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
African Literature, postcolonialism, globalization
Academic Distinctions
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, by Albright College, 1994
Honorary Doctor, Roskilde University, Denmark, 1997
Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Leeds, 2004
Honorary Doctor of Literature and Philosophy, Walter Sisulu University, 2004
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Dillard University, 2005
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2005
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature, University of Auckland, 2005
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, New York University, 2008
Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters, University of Dar es Salaam, 2013
Honorary Degree, University of Bayreuth, 2014
Honorary Doctorate degree of Human Letters (honoris causa) in Education, KCA University, Kenya, 2016; Honorary Degree, Honorary Doctor of Letters, Yale Univerity, 2017
Honorary Doctor of Letters, Edinburgh University, 2019
Research Abstract
My research interests include Caribbean and African Literature. I am interested in the politics of culture in post-colonial condition. My main interest is in the problematic interaction between dominant languages and marginalized ones. A large amount of knowledge in most postcolonial societies is produced in former colonial languages. What is the impact and effect of this on the culture/s where most people do not speak the dominant language? I explore how the production of knowledge affects the development of these societies. I draw on various disciplines, particularly politics and philosophy and cultural theories.

My other interests lie in writing fiction. I use the novel form to explore issues of wealth, power and values in society and how their production and organization in society impinge on the quality of a people’s spiritual life. In my current novel, Wizard of the Crow, I explore issues of globalization.
Awards and Honors
Paul Robeson Award for Artistic Excellence, Political Conscience and Integrity (1992)
The Zola Neale Hurston-Paul Robeson Award, for artistic and scholarly achievement, National Council for Black Studies,1993
Gwendolyn Brooks Center Contributors Award for Significant Contribution to the Black Literary Arts (1994)
Fonlon-Nichols Prize for Artistic Excellence and Human Rights (1996)
Distinguished Africanist Award by the New York African Studies Association (1996)
Nonino International Prize for Literature (2001)
Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Cabinet, International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzu Centre (2002)
Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (Kenyan Presidential Medal) (2008)
Grinzane for Africa Award, 2008
Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals, University of Hawaii (2008)
Africa Channel Literary Achievement Award (2011)
W.E.B. Du Bois Award, National Black Writer’s Conference, New York (2012)
UCI Medal, October 2013
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014)
The Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement Award for Philosophical Literature (2014)
6th Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award, October (2016)
Sanna Theatre Awards/Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in Kenyan Theatre, Kenya National Theatre (2016)
Los Angeles Review of Books Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)
Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize (2019)
On Literature and Culture
Homecoming, Heinemann, London, 1969
Writers in Politics, Heinemann, London, 1982
Barrel of a Pen, Heinemann, London, 1983
Decolonising the Mind, James Currey Ltd, London, 1986
Moving the Centre; Struggle For Cultural Freedoms, James Currey Ltd, London, 1993
Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams, Oxford University Press, 1998
Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance, 2009
In the Name of the Mother: Reflections on Writers & Empire, James Currey, 2013
Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing, Columbia University Press, 2014
Secure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the Globe. Seagull Books, 2016
Detained: A Writers Prison Diary, Heinemann, London, 1982
Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir, Pantheon Books, New York, 2010

Short Stories
Secret Lives, a collection, Heinemann, London, 1970

The Black Hermit, Makerere University Press, 1962 and Heinemann, London, 1969
This Time Tomorrow, Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 1970
The Trial of Dedan Kimathi, (with Micere Mugo); Heinemann, London, 1976
Ngaahika Ndeenda, (Gikuyu with Ngugi wa Mirii); Heinemann, Nairobi,1980
I will marry when I want, (English trans. of the above); Heinemann, London, 1982
Weep not Child, Heinemann, London, 1964
The River Between, Heinemann, London, 1965
A Grain of Wheat, Heinemann, London, 1967
Petals of Blood, Heinemann, London, 1977
Caitaani Mutharabaini, Gikuyu, Heinemann, Nairobi, 1980
Devil on the Cross (English trans. Heinemann, London, 1982
Matigari Ma Njiriuungi, Gikuyu, Heinemann, Nairobi,1986
Matigari, English trans. Heinemann, London, 1989
Murogi wa Kagogo (Gikuyu), E.A. E. P., Nairobi, 2004 (Bk 1 & 2); Bk 3, 2006
Wizard or the Crow, (English translation), Pantheon Books, New York, 2006
Something Torn & New: An African Renaissance, Basic Civitas Books, 2009
Kenda Muiyuru : Rugano Rwa Gikuyu Na, East African Educational Publishers Limited, 2018. (Gikuyu)
Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Clifford B. Robson, New York: St Martins Press, 1979
An Introduction to the Writings of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, G. Killam, London, Exeter, NH: Heinemann Educational, 1980
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, an Exploration of his Writings, David Cook, Michael Okenimkpe, London: Heinemann, 1983
Ngugi wa Thiong’o: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources 1957- 1987, Carol Sichermann, London, Munich, New York: Hans Zell Publishers, 1989
Mother Sing For Me: People's Theatre in Kenya, Ingrid Björkman; Ngugi wa Thiong’o, London, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books, 1989
Ngugi wa Thiong’o: The Making of a Rebel, Carol Sicherman, London, Munich, New York: Hans Zell Publishers, 1990
The World of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Charles Cantalupo, ed., Trenton: African World Press, 1995, 1993
Achebe and Ngugi, Indrasena Reddy, New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1994
Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Texts and Contexts, Charles Cantalupo, ed, Trenton: African World Press, 1995
Politics as Fiction: The Novels of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Harish Narang, New Delhi: Creative Books, 1995
Ngugi and African Postcolonial Narrative: The Novel as Oral Narative in Multi-genre Performance, F. Odun Balogun, St-Hyachinthe, Quebec: World Heritage Press, 1997
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Patrick Williams, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998
Ngugi’s Novels and African History: Narrating the Nation, James Ogude, London, Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 1999
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Oliver Lovesay, New York: Twayne Publishers, 2000
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Simon Gikandi, Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000
Critical Essays on Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Peter Nazareth, New York: Twayne Publishers, 2000
The Writer as Activist: South Asian Perspectives on Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Bernth Lindfors, Bala Kothandaraman, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2001
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