Camara Laye was born in Guinea in 1924. He studied engineering in Paris, where he wrote his first book, The African Child
, an autobiographical bildungsroman set in pre-colonial Africa. The sequel, A Dream of Africa
, written twelve years later after he had returned to his native land, sees an Africa on the violent brink of independence. In 1979 The Guardian of the Word
, a collection of native songs and lore, was cited by the Académie Française—the same year Laye died in Senegal, where he had lived in exile for thirteen years.