Although relatively more stable than its neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea continues to struggle economically. In 1958, Guinea gained independence from France and celebrated the inauguration of its first president, Ahmed Sekou Toure. Sekou Toure ruled Guinea autocratically until his death in 1984, which was followed by a bloodless coup led by Lanasana Conté who held power until his death in 2008. Guinea's current president is former opposition party leader Alpha Condé.
Camara Laye draws from his childhood memories for his autobiographical The Dark Child. He writes of growing up surrounded by the religious rituals and traditions of his Guinean community. His novel The Radiance of the King has been described as 'One of the greatest of the African novels of the colonial period'. Williams Sassine is a francophone novelist whose work Wirriyamu has been translated into English. Other Guinean novelists include Saïdou Bokoum and Tierno Monénembo.
Guinea's painful history of slavery has also inspired authors such as Anita Wills and James Robertson. Wills' Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Colourportrays the the dignity of an African family.The life of Joseph Knight, a Guinean boy who was sold as a slave in the West Indies before being brought to Scotland, led to an eponymous historical novel by Scottish writer James Robertson.
Guinea has a rich musical tradition that is similar to the music of other West African countries. The Guinean jazz group Bembeya Jazz National is an influential band from the 1960s that pioneered the blend of jazz, Afropop, and traditional music.