Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor stepped into the literary limelight in one fell swoop in 2003 when she won the The Caine Prize for African Writing. Since then, she has made a significant contribution to increasing the visibility of African literary culture on a global scale. Her writing, in both fictional and non-fictional areas, impresses her readers with a haunting and multi-layered depiction of life in Africa.
Owuor is one of the leading voices in contemporary literature, which is not least due to a profound philosophy of language on which her work is based. She knows how to use the lyrical power of storytelling through poetic language that not only reflects reality, but also looks into the deep, dark undercurrents of violence in history and social existence.
Contrary to an African literary tradition that tries to question the symbolic grammar of colonization through realistic storytelling, Owuor understands language as a magic that is able to link colliding realities in such a way that African Life comes to light in all its historical complexity.
Her current fictional work pushes and breaks boundaries in yet other ways. The Dragonfly Sea testifies that Owuor is part of a new generation of African women writers who are about to take the literary field by storm. Contrary to a tradition that has always been dominated by men, women authors like Owuor rewrite Africa’s past and reshape the present – a present in which they focus on the lives of women. The Dragonfly Sea is a book that would have been unthinkable in a previous literary climate.