Ahmadou Kourouma, called "one of the major figures of contemporary African literature" by Figaro, was born in 1927 in the small town of Boundiali in the Ivory Coast. As a young man he fought in the French colonial army in Indochina and studied science in France. Returning to the Ivory Coast, Kourouma worked in insurance but did not stay there for long. He was jailed over ideological clashes with the government; subsequently he spent many years in exile. Kourouma was a playwright and the author of four novels, of which Allah Is Not Obliged is the most recent and winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot. Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote won the Prix du Livre Inter in 1999. Ahmadou Kourouma died in 2003.