Biography of Camara Laye

Camara Laye was a novelist from Guinea. He is regarded as a foundational writer of Francophone African literature.

Born in the town of Kouroussa, French Guinea (at the time a French colony), Laye studied mechanics as a teenager in the country's capital of Conarky. In 1947, he moved to Paris and furthered his education in engineering. These formative events became the source material for his 1953 autobiographical novel, L'Enfant noir (The Dark Child). The book won the 1954 Prix Charles Veillon.

Laye followed his debut with Le Regard du roi (The Radiance of the King) the following year and moved back to Africa in 1956. Laye worked for the now-independent government of Guinea in the early 1960s before moving to Senegal in 1965. He did not publish his third novel, Dramouss (A Dream of Africa), until 1966. Never returning to his home country, Laye continued to live in Senegal, releasing his last novel, Le Maître de la parole—Kouma Lafôlô Kouma (The Guardian of the Word), in 1978. He died in 1980 of a kidney infection.

Study Guides on Works by Camara Laye