Aminatta Forna

Aminatta FornaAminatta Forna is a novelist, memoirist and essayist. She was born in Scotland and raised between Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. Her novels are The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and Ancestor Stone. In 2002 she published a memoir of her dissident father and Sierra Leone, The Devil that Danced on the Water. All her books have won or been nominated for awards. Aminatta held the post of Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and was Sterling Brown Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College, MA, in 2011 and 2013.

Aminatta has acted as judge for several major literary awards including the International Man Booker 2013. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, sits on the Board of the National Theatre of Great Britain, on the Advisory Committees of the Royal Literary Fund, the Caine Prize for African Writing and Purchase College (SUNY) Writer’s Centre.

Formerly a BBC Television reporter, Aminatta has made several landmark documentaries on Africa’s art and culture. She is a regular guest and sometime presenter on BBC’s Saturday Review and Open Book as well as presenting and writing radio documentaries on the arts.

In 2003 Aminatta established the Rogbonko Project to build a school in a village in Sierra Leone, where she now overseas a number of projects in the spheres of education, sanitation, maternal health and agriculture. She is the current Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics.

from The Hired Man

September 2007
At the time of writing I am forty-six years old. My name is Duro Kolak.
Laura came to Gost in the last week of July. I was the first to see her the morning she drove into town. From the hillside you have a view of the road, one of the three that lead into town: the first comes direct from the north, the second and third from the south-east and the south-west respectively. The car was on the road that comes from the south-west, from the coast. An early sun had burned off most of the mist and on a day like this the deer might be encouraged to leave the woods and come down the hill, so I’d turned back to fetch my rifle even though it was not the season to hunt.

I’d chosen my spot and laid out my breakfast. On the branch of a tree a collared dove rested out of view of the falcon soaring above. I trailed the bird lazily through my rifle sights and that was when I noticed the car. A large, newish four-wheel drive, being driven very slowly down an entirely empty road as though the driver was searching for a concealed entrance. I lowered the gun so that I had the vehicle fully in my sights but the angle and reflection of the sun made it impossible to see who was driving.

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