William Farquhar Conton

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William Farquhar Conton
Born William Conton
(1925-10-27)27 October 1925
Bathurst, Gambia
Died 23 June 2002(2002-06-23)
Conakry, Guinea
Occupation Educationalist, historian, author, writer
Nationality British Subject, Sierra Leonean
Education University of Durham
Spouse Bertha Yvonne Thompson
Children Six children

William Farquhar Conton (27 October 1925 – July 2002) was a Sierra Leonean educator, historian and novelist.[1]

Background and early life[edit]

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.[2] He subsequently worked for UNESCO.[1]

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".[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1949, William Conton married Bertha Thompson, the daughter of Thomas Josiah Thompson, a Sierra Leonean lawyer, and the couple had six children.

Later years[edit]

William Conton died in Conakry, Guinea, in July 2002.



  1. ^ a b Conton, William Farquhar – Literary Map of Africa
  2. ^ Simon Gikandi, "Conton, William", in Gikandi (ed.), Encyclopedia of African Literature. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 978-0-415-23019-3.
  3. ^ Wole Soyinka, Myth, Literature, and the African World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.