19 Facts About Aminatta Forna


Aminatta Forna is the author of a memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Quest, and four novels: Ancestor Stones, The Memory of Love, The Hired Man and Happiness.


Aminatta Forna is currently Director and Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University.


Aminatta Forna was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to literature.


Aminatta Forna is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, sits on the advisory committee for the Royal Literary Fund and the Caine Prize for African Writing, has been a judge on several high-profile prize panels, including the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and continues to champion the work of up-and-coming diverse authors.


In March 2019, Aminatta Forna's Happiness was shortlisted for the European Literature Prize, and in April 2019 was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and for the Jhalak Prize.


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


Aminatta Forna later became involved in politics and entered government, only to resign citing a growth in political violence and corruption.


Mohamed Aminatta Forna was hanged on charges of treason in 1975.


Aminatta Forna studied law at University College London and was a Harkness Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.


Between 1989 and 1999, Aminatta Forna worked for the BBC, both in radio and television, as a reporter and documentary maker in the spheres of arts and politics.


Aminatta Forna is known for her Africa documentaries: Through African Eyes, Africa Unmasked and The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu.


Aminatta Forna is a board member of the Royal National Theatre and a judge for The Man Booker International Prize 2013.


Aminatta Forna is the founder of The Rogbonko Village Project, a charity begun as an initiative to build a school in a village in Sierra Leone.


Aminatta Forna is married to the furniture designer Simon Westcott and lives in south-east London.


In 2007, Aminatta Forna was named by Vanity Fair magazine as one of Africa's best new writers.


Aminatta Forna was one of 10 writers contributing to 10x10 Girl Rising.


Aminatta Forna wrote through the lens of Mariama, an intelligent woman who studies engineering in university and strives to extend the opportunity of education to young girls.


The Financial Times review of Happiness said: "Aminatta Forna is a risk-taker, a writer who doesn't hold back from tackling big themes".


In December 2020, in a conversation with Maaza Mengiste published by LitHub, Aminatta Forna revealed the cover of, and announced, that an essay collection named The Window Seat would be published in May 2021.