So the head of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Horace Engdahl made the comment that no great writers come from America anymore because they're all pretty much from Europe. Specifically:

"Europe still is the center of the literary world."

Hmm, well that's great. Except that it ignores the rich history of writers from...ohhh...every other corner of the globe! So I thought I'd do a little post about my fave African writers. Including my mentor and former professor (ok don't mean to name drop, but what the heck!)

1-NgugiBW_sm
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
[Kenya]

One of my favorite writers. He's an amazing writer who was a "founding father" as it were, and helped African writers gain international prestige. He's key contributions span decades and include: Weep Not Child (1964)
Petals of Blood (1978), Decolonizing the Mind (1986), the latter being my favorite.

Tsitsi
Tsitsi
Dangarembga  [Zimbabwe]

Her coming of age novel "Nervous Conditions" is so powerful and a true Afropolitan tale, complete with alienation, homecoming, struggle for acceptance, cultural pride/shame, you name it. I would encourage everyone to pick it up. She is also a filmmaker and made Everyone’s Child (1996)

 170_Achebe-Chinua
Chinua Achebe
[Nigeria]

I find it cool that many High Schools in America require Things Fall Apart (1958) as required reading a long with "the classics". Considered the father of the African novel in English. Also wrote, No Longer at Ease, (1960), Arrow of God, (1964), Anthills of the Savannah, (1988)

SoyinkaWole Soyinka [Nigeria]

Poet, intellectual, playwright, Nobel Laureate (haha! take that Engdahl!) Love his poems including Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988)

Ousmane
Ousmane Sembene [Senegal]

Writer, filmmaker, intellectual (who passed away in June 2007). He's seen as the father of African cinema. Check out his flicks, Black Girl (1966), Xala (1974). But his novels are, The Black Docker (1952), Gods Bits of Wood (1962). Good stuff.

There's quite a few that I'm leaving out. Especially women *gasp* Anyone have any of their favorite authors to add? I will do a diaspora post separately.

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Comments

  • Posted by boyfulani on October 02, 2008

    am still in love with chimamanda’s work and though i am living to like the more modern and fresh talent, as showcased in the last ‘kwanilitfest’…great post there.

  • Posted by SIMPLY AFRIKAN on November 01, 2008

    The mentioned writers are an embodiment of our rich cultural heritage and epitomize the richness in our education systems.

  • Posted by SIMPLY AFRIKAN on November 01, 2008

    The mentioned writers are an embodiment of our rich cultural heritage and epitomize the richness in our education systems.

  • Posted by negrita on October 01, 2008

    ooh, fantastic idea.
    african female writers who come to mind right now are:
    ama ata aidoo—ghana, who wrote ‘changes: a love story’ among others.
    buchi emecheta—nigeria, a massive figure in african feminism/black feminism in general. ‘second class citizen’ is a classic tale of race,gender,identity.
    chimamanda ngozi adichie—once i started ‘half of a yellow sun’, i could not put it down.
    mariama ba—senegal—‘so long a letter’
    bessie head—south africa
    aminatta forna—sierra leone—‘ancestor stones’ and ‘the devil that danced on the water’
    doreen baingana—uganda—‘tropical fish: tales from entebbe’

  • Posted by Beve on October 01, 2008

    You just reminded me of something else I love about African writers: the titles they choose =)

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