The literary development in Guinea has been characterized by the fact that most of the country’s writers have lived in exile because of conditions under authoritarian regimes. This applies, for example, to Guinea’s most famous author, Camara Laye (1928-80). Famous lyricist and theater man Keita Fodeba (1921–69) died in captivity.
The first literary works from Guinea were published in the 1950s and were marked by the history of West Africa and the legacy of the powerful Muslim empires of sub-Saharan Africa. Mention is made of the epic Soundjata; ou, l’épopée mandingue (1960) by Djibril Tamsir Niane. Among those who celebrated the new, free Africa was the lyricist Mamadou Traoré. Of younger writers, Alioum Fantouré has made use of both novels and plays. Tierno Monénembo in the novel Les crapauds-brousse (1979) criticized the conditions after the settlement of the colonial empire. Williams Sassine’s novels combined a socially critical attitude with a reflected optimism of progress. He also wrote children’s books.