Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and spent periods of her childhood in Zambia, Iran and Thailand. She holds dual British and Sierra Leonian nationality. Her most recent novel, The Memory of Love, was winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award 2011 and shortlisted for the Orange Prize and Warwick Prize. The Devil that Danced on the Water was shortlisted for the 2003 Samuel Johnson Prize and her first novel, Ancestor Stones, was winner of the 2007 German Liberaturpreis, the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction 2007 and the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize 2010 in the US. A short story, Hayward’s Heath was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2010.
Between 1989 and 1999 Ms Forna worked for BBC Television as a reporter and film maker in the spheres of art and politics, including on The Late Show. She has filmed a number of documentaries in Africa: Through African Eyes, the series Africa Unmasked and most recently The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu. She is a regular guest and occasional host of BBC Radio’s Open Book and Saturday Review and other BBC radio arts programmes.
Aminatta is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She sits on the Advisory Board of the Caine Prize for African Writing and the Royal Literary Fund. She is currently Sterling Brown Visiting Professor of African Literature at Williams College, Massachusetts.