Aminatta Forna

Category: 1990s /  All Harkness Stories /  Humanities /  Journalism, Broadcast, Films & TV / 

Aminatta Forna (HF 1996-97) OBE was a Harkness Fellow at Berkeley, California. Before she went to the States she was a current affairs and arts reporter at the BBC, where she had worked since 1989. She rejoined the BBC on her return to the UK to host a programme on European politics. She left in 1999 to write full time. Aminatta was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and Great Britain and spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of the novels The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and the memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water. Her most recent novel, Happiness, was published in 2018. She has a world-wide following and her books have been translated into over twenty languages. In 2003 Aminatta established the Rogbonko Project to build a school in a village in Sierra Leone. The charity has also run a number of projects in the spheres of adult education, sanitation and maternal health. Aminatta is the recipient of a Windham Campbell Award from Yale University, has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award 2011, the Liberaturpreis in Germany and the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize. She has been a finalist for the Neustadt Prize for Literature, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the IMPAC Award and the Warwick Prize. She was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2017. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.