Friday, March 19, 2010
Reading: Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Ngugi wa Thiong'o reads more like a poet than a prose writer. He selected a number of shorter excerpts from his memoir and linked them with reminisces and digressions. He reminded me of an old English professor, delivering a lecture, but the deeper he goes into the material, the more he recalls scenes from his own life that coalesce off the page. When a questioner asked about his reaction to the death of South African poet Dennis Brutus, Thiong'o recalled a story in which he and his wife were travelling with Brutus. Thiong'o's wife went through without a problem, but Thiong'o and Brutus were held back. Thiong'o was soon released, but as time passed, they began to worry about Brutus. Eventually, they saw Brutus walking towards them, waving a sheet of paper. "Look," Brutus said. "I wrote a poem."