Vamba Sherif was born in Liberia and spent part of his youth in Kuwait. He grew up speaking many languages, including his native Mandingo, Kpelleh, Lomah, Mende, Gbandi, Arabic, French and English. During The First Gulf War, he fled to Jordan and then Syria, before settling down in the Netherlands. Sherif read Law and is an ambassador for the Dutch Refugees Council. He’s written many novels including, Land of my fathers, The Kingdom of Sebah, Bound to Secrecy, The Witness, and The Emperor’s Son, which is about the rise and fall of one of the greatest empires in the Africa of the 19th century, the Wasolu Empire of Samori Touré. He’s co-editor of the bestselling anthology Black: Afro-European literature in the Netherlands and Belgium. In his novels he explores the themes of identity, exile, war, the tension between moderate and extreme Islam, love and belonging. The impacts of history and of migration on the individual are featured prominently in his work. His novels have been published in many languages, including English, Dutch, French, Spanish, German and Malayalam. The Berliner Zeitung says of his work: ‘Sherif creates vortexes of Shakespearean intensity,´ Sabine Vogel, Berliner Zeitung.
Vamba Sherif is a film critic, essayist and speaker. He has spoken at many international literary festivals, from Aké Literary Festival in Nigeria, Time of the Writer festival in Durban, South Africa to George Town literary festival in Penang, Malaysia.
His memoires, Unprecedented Love, will be published by De Geus in March 2021. The memoirs is a letter to his daughter about his early years in Liberia, his life in Kuwait and as a migrant and refugee in the Netherlands. The memoirs explore belonging, the importance of heritage, family ties, the burdens of memory and loss, and the tensions of exile.