With all this back and forth, who's in first place? That would be Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the Kenyan playwright, novelist, journalist and memoirist who currently teaches at UC Irvine. Thiong'o is best known in America for his novel "Wizard of the Crow," which he wrote in his native Gikuyu and translated into English. In Kenya, Thiong'o was once imprisoned for his writing and, after living in exile, was attacked by gunmen upon his return. Although he's 78, he continues to publish; his next book, the memoir "Birth of a Dream Weaver," hits shelves Oct. 25.