William Farquhar Conton
|William Farquhar Conton|
27 October 1925
|Died||23 June 2002
|Occupation||Educationalist, historian, author, writer|
|Nationality||British Subject, Sierra Leonean|
|Education||University of Durham|
|Spouse||Bertha Yvonne Thompson|
Background and early life
William Farquhar Conton was born in Bathurst, Gambia, to the union of Cecil Conton (1885–1926) and Olive Conton, née Farquhar. The Contons and Farquhars were Creole of Caribbean origin who settled in Sierra Leone during the late nineteenth century. Cecil Barger Conton had been born in Bermuda to William A. Conton (b. 1837) and Elizabeth Conton (b. 1857). Olive Farquhar was the daughter of Archdeacon Charles William Farquhar, (d. 1928) of Barbados.
Conton was educated at Durham University in England. After graduating, he taught at Fourah Bay College, and went on to become principal of Accra High School in Ghana. Returning to Sierra Leone, he was principal of two high schools, before rising to be chief education officer in Sierra Leone. He subsequently worked for UNESCO.
Conton's novel The African was the twelfth book published in the important Heinemann's African Writers Series. It treated an England romance between a black African student and a white South African woman, turning autobiographical elements into a call for Africa to move as a continent beyond apartheid. Wole Soyinka criticised its utopian "love optimism", calling the novel's main character, Kamara, an "unbelievable prig".
In 1949, William Conton married Bertha Thompson, the daughter of Thomas Josiah Thompson, a Sierra Leonean lawyer, and the couple had six children.
William Conton died in Conakry, Guinea, in July 2002.
- The African, 1960. Republished in the African Writers Series, 1964.
- West Africa in History, 1961
- The Flights, 1987
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