b. 1937, Somalia; d. 1991, Somalia
Faarax published the first long novel in Somali, Ignorance is the Enemy of Love (Aqoondarro waa u Nacab Jacayl) in 1972. It is set during the time of the Dervish movement in the first two decades of the last century against which the central love story is played. Literacy has a central role in the plot in that the illiterate hero is unable to read a message from the woman he loves, with tragic consequences. Faarax went on to publish two other novels: Garbaduubkii Gumeysiga (The Shackles of Colonialism) (1989) looks back at the history of the Somali territories through the words of an old man dictating to his son, who completes its writing in his own blood when he runs out of ink. The third novel Dhibbanaha aan Dhalan (The Unborn Victim) is set during the war between Somalia and Ethiopia in the late 1970s and is the story of a young woman caught up in the turmoil. Faarax brought Somali poetry into his novels, and this, interplaying with the narratives, gave them a distinctive and powerful style, a key contribution to Somali literature.
b. 1903, Òkè-Igbó, Western Nigeria; d. 1963, Nigeria
The Nigerian writer D.O. Fagunwa is one of the best-known figures of the pioneering generation of African writers. This generation did much of their work in the first half of the twentieth century, during the formative stages of cultural nationalism (see nationalism and post-nationalism). Fagunwa used an indigenous African language to develop a narrative style that fits into a tradition of the picaresque novel but also contains inflections that are specific to a colonial African context. He wrote in Yoruba, one of the major languages spoken in Nigeria (see Yoruba literature). His first novel, entitled The Forest of a Thousand Demons: A Hunter's Saga (Ogbójú Ode Nínú Igbó Irúnmalè) was originally written for a competition organized in 1936 by the education ministry in Nigeria (see education and schools). The novel was published by the Church Missionary Society in 1938 and became an instant success. The success of the novel inspired Fagunwa, with the encouragement of the Nigerian educational system, to write more novels using a similar innovative style.
Fagunwa was born in Òkè-Igbó in Western Nigeria. His parents had been converted to Christianity (see Christianity and Christian missions) and he himself worked at various levels of the Christian missionary educational system in colonial Nigeria. In addition to Ogbójú Ode Nínú Igbó Irúnmalè, he published four other novels: Igbó