ON WRITING

22 Jul

Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o  (1938- )*

In his address to The South African Literary Awards 2012 (in part):

“Writers and artists value prizes and monetary rewards of course. But they hardly write for monetary prizes and if they did, most would starve to death waiting for returns commensurate with the time invested. My own novels take me anywhere between one to five years to write and when published it takes a few more years to build a loyal readership. The best seller that sells in millions is a very rare beast. But ……….

like prophets and seers, writers are driven by a force, an irresistible desire to give to the inner impulses, the material form of sound, color and word. This desire cannot be held back by laws, tradition, or religious restrictions. The song that must be sung will be sung; and if banned, they will hum it; and if humming is banned, they will dance it; and if dancing is banned, they will sing it silently to themselves or to the ears of those near, waiting for the appropriate moment to explode……”

*Ngugi wa Thiong’o is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Wizard of the Crow, and Dreams in a Time of War.

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