Reach for the book, urged Bertolt Brecht, it is a weapon. Maybe you missed the Brecht reading and the Faulkner and the Marquez. But because he survived, because hes in political exile, because UC Irvine hired him, wisely, to run its International Center for Writing and Translation, renowned African novelist, playwright and essayist Ngugi Wa Thiongo is here, of all places, in Orange County. The Kenyan writer-activist was born James, rejected colonialism for an African name, and is called Googi by friends and fans worldwide who celebrate his lifeand by very bad people, like dictators and political thugs, whove tried to end it. Hell talk language and politics by way of his tour de force novel Wizard of the Crow, an epic political satire set in a fictional African nation, and a book which the Washington Post called a weapon against totalitarianism. Arm yourself.
Sun., March 8, 1:30 p.m., 2009