Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese writer and playwright, currently based in Scotland. She won the first Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000, and is the author of three acclaimed novels, including Lyrics Alley, which won the 2011 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year and was listed for the Orange and Commonwealth Writers prizes.
Camara Laye, a Guinean novelist, short story writer, and essayist, was born in 1924 in the ancient city of Kouroussa, Upper Guinea. Laye’s first novel, The African Child (titled L’Enfant Noir in French) was published in 1954 and received the Priz Charles Veillon – one of France’s leading literary awards. The African Child was one of the first novels by an African writer to gain international attention, and is still regarded among the continent’s best works.
Considered by some to be Francophone Africa’s’ answer to the Chinua Achebe, the late Ivorian writer and political activist, Ahmadou Kourouma is easily one of Africa’s most celebrated authors. Born in 1927, in the Ivory Coast, Kourouma belonged to the Malinke ethnic group and was raised by an uncle. From 1950 to 1954, he served in the French army in Indochina, following which he moved to Lyon, France to study mathematics.
Born August 14, 1944, Buchi Emecheta is a Nigerian novelist who has published over 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Her books mainly focus on women issues, particularly the theme of gender bias. Other themes include racial prejudice and the experience of immigration.
Born in 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dinaw Mengestu immigrated to the United States in 1980 with his mother and sister, joining his father who had fled Ethiopia two years earlier. A hugely talented writer, Mengestu has attained significant success at a young age as a novelist and journalist. He has authored two critically acclaimed novels.
Nigerian author, Ben Okri is one of Africa’s most prolific and celebrated authors with a writing career that dates back more than thirty years. He is best known for two of his books – Incidents at the Shrine, which won the 1987 Commonwealth Writers Prize, Africa region for Best Book, and The Famished Road, which won the 1991 Booker Prize for Fiction.
Professor George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation, which is based in Washington DC, USA. Dr. Ayittey is, perhaps, better known for his international activism than for his academic work. He has long argued that “Africa is poor because she is not free”.