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Publisher's Summary

One of's "17 Must-Read Books for the New Year" and O Magazine's "10 Titles to Pick up Now."

"Exquisite in its honesty and truth and resilience, and a necessary chronicle from one of the greatest writers of our time." --Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Guardian, Best Books of 2016.

"Every page ripples with a contagious faith in education and in the power of literature to shape the imagination and scour the conscience." --The Washington Post 

From one of the world’s greatest writers, the story of how the author found his voice as a novelist at Makerere University in Uganda

Birth of a Dream Weaver charts the very beginnings of a writer’s creative output. In this wonderful memoir, Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o recounts the four years he spent at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda - threshold years during which he found his voice as a journalist, short story writer, playwright, and novelist just as colonial empires were crumbling and new nations were being born - under the shadow of the rivalries, intrigues, and assassinations of the Cold War.

Haunted by the memories of the carnage and mass incarceration carried out by the British colonial-settler state in his native Kenya but inspired by the titanic struggle against it, Ngũgĩ, then known as James Ngugi, begins to weave stories from the fibers of memory, history, and a shockingly vibrant and turbulent present.

What unfolds in this moving and thought-provoking memoir is simultaneously the birth of one of the most important living writers - lauded for his "epic imagination" (Los Angeles Times) - the death of one of the most violent episodes in global history, and the emergence of new histories and nations with uncertain futures.

©2016 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Evocative, poignant, and thoughtful, Thiong’o’s courageous narrative will linger in readers’ minds.” --Publishers Weekly, starred

“A writer's coming-of-age tale featuring an artistic mix of pride and humility." --Kirkus Reviews

“An autobiographical masterpiece.... As essential as Achebe’s There Was a Country, this is a riveting read in African history and literature.” --Library Journal, starred

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  • Håkon Astrup
  • 27-01-21

Important memoir, disappointing production

The reading performance was good, but more could have been done with the quality of the recording and production. Happy that it's read by a kenyan, allthough it's not a kikuyu like the author It provides authecity. The production though, doesn't give credit to an important and interesting memoir that provides insight into Kenya and Ugandas history at the end of colonialism and begining of an era of upheaval, revolution and post colonial dictatorship.