Aminatta Forna at the awards ceremony of the LiBeraturpreis 2008 for her book "Ancestor Stones"

Aminatta Forna



Aminatta Forna is a Scottish-born writer. Forna was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1964 to a Sierra Leonean father, Mohamed Forna, and a Scottish mother, Maureen Christison.

Forna studied law at University College London and was a Harkness Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2013 she assumed a post as Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and is currently Sterling Brown Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College, Massachusetts.

Between 1989 and 1999 Forna worked for the BBC, both in radio and television, as a reporter and documentary maker in the spheres of arts and politics. She is also known for her Africa documentaries: Through African Eyes (1995), Africa Unmasked (2002) andThe Lost Libraries of Timbuktu (2009). Forna is also a board member of the Royal National Theatre and a judge for the The Man Booker International Prize 2013.

Forna’s work, both fiction and non-fiction, is typically concerned with the prelude and aftermath to war, memory, the conflict between private narratives and official histories, and examines how the gradual accretion of small, seemingly insignificant acts of betrayal find expression in full-scale horror. In her fiction she employs multiple voices and shifting timelines.

The Devil that Danced on the Water, Forna's first book, received wide critical acclaim across the UK and the US. In 2006 Ancestor Stones, Forna's second book and first novel, won the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for debut fiction in the US and the Liberaturpreis in Germany. In 2007, Forna was named by Vanity Fair magazine as one of Africa’s best new writers. Her novel The Memory of Lovewas awarded the Commonwealth Prize for "Best Book" in 2011, and was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

In July 2012, Aminatta Forna was announced as one of 10 writers contributing to 10x10 Girl Rising. The film tells the stories of ten girls in 10 developing countries. The girls' stories are written by 10 acclaimed writers and narrated by 10 world-class actresses, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Freida Pinto and Cate Blanchett.

At the close of 2013, The Hired Man, Forna’s third novel, featured on several lists of the best books of the year, most notably The Boston Globe's and The Independent's. 

To make your own nomination download the nomination form here