Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna

Sierra Leone writer Aminatta Forna is quite well known to many for her books which include a memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water and three novels, Ancestor Stones, The Memory of Love and The Hired Man.

The writer has been recognised for her work with her book Memory of Love winning the 2011 Commonwealth Prize for Literature. She was also very recently a recepient of the Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction 2014.

But she doesn’t just do it for the awards. She also does it for those of us who love to read for whatever reason. Check out one of her well written status update about why she writes,

Here’s a story for when people ask me why I write. It will warm your heart. Last week I had a telephone conversation with a man from South Sudan who had been a political prisoner in that country. The charges he faced brought with them the death penalty. In prison he and the three other men with whom he had been arrested and charged were given and forced to read The Devil that Danced on the Water. They met and discussed the book, wondering why they were being made to read it. ‘We felt it was intended as a form of psychological torture, that we would meet them same fate and be executed,’ he told me. But instead of hating the book they loved it, were uplifted and heartened by it. They promised each other that if they made it out alive they would find the author and tell her so. The government’s case against them collapsed as soon as it came to trial, the judge threw it out. All charges were dropped and they were released. That was April 24. Ezekiel told me his story on the phone from Kenya. Before we finished the call he asked if he could pass my number on to his former cell mate who wanted to tell me how much he loved the book too. Of course I said yes.”