A Prison Memoir
An unforgettable chronicle of the year the brilliant novelist and memoirist, long favoured for the Nobel Prize, endured in a Kenyan jail
Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s powerful prison memoir begins half an hour before his release on 12 December 1978. A year earlier, he recalls, armed police arrived at his home and took him to Kenya’s Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. There, Ngugi lives in a block alongside other political prisoners, but he refuses to give in to the humiliation. He decides to write a novel in secret, on toilet paper – it is a book that will become his classic, Devil on the Cross.
Wrestling with the Devil is Ngugi’s unforgettable account of the drama and challenges of living under twenty-four-hour surveillance. He captures not only the pain caused by his isolation from his family, but also the spirit of defiance and the imaginative endeavours that allowed him to survive.
“One of the greatest writers of our time”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“A tremendous writer... It's hard to doubt the power of the written word when you hear the story of Ngugi wa Thiong’o”
“Ngugi is affording us a glimpse into how a prisoner of conscience, by stubbornly reiterating his convictions, keeps faith with the ideals that those in power want him to betray... This thrilling testament to the human spirit had, for me, a fierce resonance... I could not help feeling that his luminous words were meant for those victims and many others being persecuted across the world, a way of urging humanity to never surrender to the demons of fear and silence”
Ariel Dorfman, New York Times
“One of Kenya's greatest storytellers”
“A visionary writer”
“In his crowded career and eventful life, Ngugi has enacted, for all to see, the paradigmatic trials and quandaries of a contemporary African writer, caught in sometimes implacable political, social, racial and linguistic currents”
John Updike, New Yorker