Concerto for a Sacrificea novel
translated by Amy Baram Reid“With
Tadjo has given a clear and magnificent rendition of an Akan classic of thistragic motif. In an English version that seems not to have lost anything in translation, this poeticnarrative is as lyrical as it is cerebrally compelling.”
“Tadjo uses her powerful and fertile imagination to rekindle an ancient Akan myth and deliberatelysets it ablaze!”
This award-winning novel, woven into the framework of eighteenth century West Africa,recounts the story of Queen Abraha Pokou’s sacrifice of her son to save the Baoule people.But it is also much more than that.Telling and retelling the story, changing key elements each time—what if the queensaved her son? what if she went crazy from grief? what if she ended up on a slave ship?and so on—Véronique Tadjo explores both intimate personal relationships and broad his-torical themes. Her multiple retellings of events surrounding the founding of the Baouleinvites discussion not only of the past, but also about the challenges of the present, mostnotably the bloody ethnic wars that have engulfed West Africa in recent decades.Both enchantingly poetic and deceptively simple,
received the prestigiousGrand Prix littéraire d’Afrique noire in 2005.
a widely acclaimed African Francophone writer, is head of Frenchstudies at the School of Literature and Language Studies at the University ofWitswatersrand in South Africa.
2010/70 pagesISBN: 978-0-9555079-9-1 pb
Distributed for Ayebia Clarke PublishingNo rights in Europe or Africa
The Blind Kingdom
translated by Janis A. MayesThe Blind Kingdom
is a collection of short stories and poetic texts woven together to illus-trate an African society on the brink of collapse.Writing in 1960 at a time when Côte d’Ivoire was in chaos after declaring its independ-ence from France, Véronique Tadjo explores themes of love, independence, and renewalas she creates a new world of hope and creativity. Her illuminating political allegory willresonate with contemporary readers as they draw parallels between Côte d’Ivoire’s crisisof forty years ago and the turmoil facing the country today.This edition includes an afterword by the translator, Janis Mayes, as well as ProfessorMayes’ interview with the author.
2008/106 pagesISBN: 978-0-9555079-1-5pb
Distributed for Ayebia Clarke PublishingNo rights in Europe and Africa
TO ENCOURAGE CLASSROOM USE, WE ARE NOW OFFERING BOOKSTORESA SPECIAL PRICE OF $35 EACH FOR ORDERS OF TEN OR MORE COPIES!
MAGAZINE’S REFERENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2007!
The Rienner Anthology of African Literature
Anthonia C. Kalu,
editor“AHerculean labor of dedication and love.... The incontestable value of this anthology is in its gath-ering together of, and making available, materials which show the range, richness and variety of thecorpus.... Every undergraduate library in the country should have a copy ... on its shelves.”
SAN FRANCISCO HUMANITIES REVIEW
“An important collection.... Enhances a reader’s understanding of the development from oral literatureto contemporary written texts.... There is an exciting sense of discovery as one turns the pages of thisbook.”
Ranging from ancient cultures to the present century, from Africa’s rich oral traditions to itscontemporary fiction, poetry, and drama, this long-awaited comprehensive anthologyreflects the enduring themes of African literature.The pieces are organized chronologically within geographic region and enhanced by both introductory material and biographical notes on each writer. An author/title indexand suggestions for further reading are also included.
Anthonia C. Kalu
is professor of African American and African studies at Ohio StateUniversity.
The King Climbs to theSky on a Ladder
Why the Sun and theMoon Live in the Sky
The Song of Gimmile
Iron IsReceived from Ogun.
The Woman Who Killed Her Co-Wife
The Mwindo Epic.
East Africa and the Horn
Wanjiru, Sacrificed by Her People
The Legend of Kintu
How MakedaVisited Jerusalem, and How MenelikBecame King.
Why theHippo Has a Stumpy Tail
Mnkabayi,Daughter of Jama of the Zulu Clan
Narrative of the Travels of Ali Eisami
The Narrative of Samuel AjayiCrowther
Slave Boy to Priest
The Dark Child (Chs 2–3)
The Jewels of the Shrine
ThePalm Wine Drinkard.
Dawn in the Heart ofAfrica.
The Land of thePeople Once Living
Exile in Nigeria
TheDoum Tree of Wad Hamid
My FatherWrites to My Mother
Mother Comes of Age (Chs 2–3)
The Fall of the Imam
Who Remains Standing?
T. Al- Hakim,
Food for the Millions (Acts 1–3).
Things Fall Apart(Chs 3–4)
Efuru (Chs 9–10)
So Long aLetter (Chs 1–8)
Tribal Scars orThe Voltaique
The Clothes of Nakedness (Chs8–9)
Songs of Sorrow
I Thank You God
NokLady in Terracotta
It Is Easyto Forget
Letter to a Poet
Soweto, I Know YourAnguish
African literature is literature of or from Africa and includes oral literature (or "orature", in the term coined by Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu).
As George Joseph notes in his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa, whereas European views of literature often stressed a separation of art and content, African awareness is inclusive:
- "Literature" can also imply an artistic use of words for the sake of art alone. [...T]raditionally, Africans do not radically separate art from teaching. Rather than write or sing for beauty in itself, African writers, taking their cue from oral literature, use beauty to help communicate important truths and information to society. Indeed, an object is considered beautiful because of the truths it reveals and the communities it helps to build.
Oral literature (or orature) may be in prose or verse, the prose is often mythological or historical and can include tales of the trickster character. Storytellers in Africa sometimes use call-and-response techniques to tell their stories. Poetry, often sung, includes: narrative epic, occupational verse, ritual verse, praise poems of rulers and other prominent people. Praise singers, bards sometimes known as "griots", tell their stories with music. Also recited, often sung, are love songs, work songs, children's songs, along with epigrams, proverbs and riddles.
Examples of pre-colonial African literature are numerous. Oral literature of west Africa includes the "Epic of Sundiata" composed in medieval Mali, and the older "Epic of Dinga" from the old Ghana Empire; in Ethiopia, there is a substantial literature written in Ge'ez going back at least to the fourth century AD; the best-known work in this tradition is the Kebra Negast, or "Book of Kings." One popular form of traditional African folktale is the "trickster" story, in which a small animal uses its wits to survive encounters with larger creatures. Examples of animal tricksters include Anansi, a spider in the folklore of the Ashanti people of Ghana; Ijàpá, a tortoise in Yoruba folklore of Nigeria; and Sungura, a hare found in central and East African folklore. Other works in written form are abundant, namely in north Africa, the Sahel regions of west Africa and on the Swahili coast, from Timbuktu alone, there are an estimated 300,000 or more manuscripts tucked away in various libraries and private collections, mostly written in Arabic but some in the native languages (namely Fula and Songhai). Many were written at the famous University of Timbuktu, the material covers a wide array of topics, including astronomy, poetry, law, history, faith, politics, and philosophy.Swahili literature similarly, draws inspiration from Islamic teachings but developed under indigenous circumstances. One of the most renowned and earliest pieces of Swahili literature being Utendi wa Tambuka or "The Story of Tambuka".
In Islamic times, North Africans such as ibn Khaldun attained great distinction within Arabic literature. Medieval north Africa boasted universities such as those of Fes and Cairo, with copious amounts of literature to supplement them.
Colonial African literature
The African works best known in the West from the periods of colonization and the slave trade are primarily slave narratives, such as Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789).
In the colonial period, Africans exposed to Western languages began to write in those tongues; in 1911, Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford (also known as Ekra-Agiman) of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) published what is probably the first African novel written in English, Ethiopia Unbound: Studies in Race Emancipation. Although the work moves between fiction and political advocacy, its publication and positive reviews in the Western press mark a watershed moment in African literature.
During this period, African plays written in English began to emerge. Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo of South Africa published the first English-language African play, The Girl Who Killed to Save: Nongqawuse the Liberator in 1935. In 1962, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o of Kenya wrote the first East African drama, The Black Hermit, a cautionary tale about "tribalism" (discrimination between African tribes).
Among the first pieces of African literature to receive significant worldwide critical acclaim was Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Published in 1958, late in the colonial era, Things Fall Apart analyzed the effect of colonialism on traditional African society.
African literature in the late colonial period (between the end of World War I and independence) increasingly showed themes of liberation, independence, and (among Africans in French-controlled territories) négritude. One of the leaders of the négritude movement, the poet and eventual President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, published in 1948 the first anthology of French-language poetry written by Africans, Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française (Anthology of the New Black and Malagasy Poetry in the French Language), featuring a preface by the French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre.
For many writers this emphasis was not restricted to their publishing. Many, indeed, suffered deeply and directly: censured for casting aside his artistic responsibilities in order to participate actively in warfare, Christopher Okigbo was killed in battle for Biafra against the Nigerian movement of the 1960s' civil war; Mongane Wally Serote was detained under South Africa's Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 between 1969 and 1970, and subsequently released without ever having stood trial; in London in 1970, his countryman Arthur Norje committed suicide; Malawi's Jack Mapanje was incarcerated with neither charge nor trial because of an off-hand remark at a university pub; and, in 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the Nigerian junta.
Postcolonial African literature
With liberation and increased literacy since most African nations gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s, African literature has grown dramatically in quantity and in recognition, with numerous African works appearing in Western academic curricula and on "best of" lists compiled at the end of the 19th century. African writers in this period wrote both in Western languages (notably English, French, and Portuguese) and in traditional African languages such as Hausa.
Ali A. Mazrui and others mention seven conflicts as themes: the clash between Africa's past and present, between tradition and modernity, between indigenous and foreign, between individualism and community, between socialism and capitalism, between development and self-reliance and between Africanity and humanity. Other themes in this period include social problems such as corruption, the economic disparities in newly independent countries, and the rights and roles of women. Female writers are today far better represented in published African literature than they were prior to independence.
In 1986, Wole Soyinka became the first post-independence African writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Previously, Algerian-born Albert Camus had been awarded the 1957 prize.
Literature published in Africa
Inaugurated in 1980 and running till 2009, the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa was presented for the outstanding work of the year published in Africa.
Notable novels by African writers
- Peter Abrahams (South Africa): Mine Boy, This Island Now, A Wreath for Udomo
- Chinua Achebe (Nigeria): Arrow of God, No Longer At Ease, Things Fall Apart, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria): Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun
- Fadhy Mtanga (Tanzania): Kizungumkuti, Huba, Fungate
- José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola): Rainy Season, Creole, The Book of Chameleons, My Father's Wives
- Mohammed Naseehu Ali (Ghana): The Prophet of Zongo Street
- Germano Almeida (Cape Verde): O dia das calças roladas, The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo
- Elechi Amadi (Nigeria): The Concubine, The Great Ponds, Sunset in Biafra
- Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana): The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Two Thousand Seasons
- Sefi Atta (Nigeria): Everything Good Will Come
- Ayesha Harruna Attah (Ghana): Harmattan Rain
- Mariama Bâ (Senegal): Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter)
- Nadifa Mohamed(Somalia) Black Mamba Boy, The Orchard of Lost Souls
- Chris Barnard (South Africa): Bundu, Mahala
- Mongo Beti (Cameroon): The Poor Christ of Bomba
- Andre Brink (South Africa): 'n Droe Wit Seisoen (A Dry White Season), Gerugte van Reen (Rumours of Rain)
- J. M. Coetzee (South Africa): Disgrace, Life & Times of Michael K
- Mia Couto (Mozambique): Terra Sonâmbula (A Sleepwalking Land)
- Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa (Mozambique): Ualalapi
- Luís Bernardo Honwana (Mozambique): Nós Matamos O Cão-Tinhoso e Outros Contos, We Killed Mangy Dog and Other Stories
- Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe): Nervous Conditions
- Mohammed Dib (Algeria): La grande maison
- E. K. M. Dido (South Africa): 'n Stringetjie Blou Krale (A String of Blue Beads), Die Storie van Monica Peters (The Story of Monica Peters)
- Assia Djebar (Algeria): Les Enfants du Nouveau Monde
- K. Sello Duiker (South Africa): Thirteen Cents, The Quiet Violence of Dreams
- Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria): The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood
- Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa (Nigeria): Ogboju odẹ ninu igbo irunmalẹ (The Forest of a Thousand Demons)
- Nuruddin Farah (Somalia): From a Crooked Rib, Maps, Sweet and Sour Milk
- Athol Fugard (South Africa): Tsotsi
- Nadine Gordimer (South Africa): Burger's Daughter, The Conservationist, July's People
- Alex La Guma (South Africa): In the Fog of the Seasons' End, The Stone-Country, Time of the Butcherbird, A Walk in the Night
- Bessie Head (Botswana): When Rain Clouds Gather, Maru, A Question of Power
- Moses Isegawa (Uganda): Abyssinian Chronicles
- Rayda Jacobs (South Africa): The Slave Book, Eyes of the Sky, Confessions of a Gambler
- Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco): The Sacred Night, The Sand Child, This Blinding Absence of Light
- Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Senegal): L'Aventure Ambiguë
- Yasmina Khadra (Algeria): The Swallows of Kabul
- Camara Laye (Guinea): The African Child (L'Enfant noir), The Radiance of the King
- Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt): The Beginning and the End, Cairo Trilogy, Children of Gebelawi, Midaq Alley
- Charles Mangua (Kenya): A Tail in the Mouth
- Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Nigeria): In Dependence
- Dambudzo Marechera (Zimbabwe): The House of Hunger
- Dalene Matthee (South Africa): Kringe in 'n bos (Circles in a Forest)
- Zakes Mda (South Africa): Ways of Dying, The Heart of Redness
- Thomas Mofolo (South Africa/Lesotho): Chaka
- Bai Tamia Moore (Liberia): Murder in the Cassava Patch
- Meja Mwangi (Kenya): Carcase for Hounds, Going Down River Road, Kill Me Quick
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (Kenya): A Grain of Wheat, Matigari, Petals of Blood, Weep Not, Child, Wizard of the Crow
- Lewis Nkosi (South Africa): Mandela's Ego, Mating Birds, Underground People
- Flora Nwapa (Nigeria): Efuru, Idu, One is Enough, Never Again, Women are Different
- Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria): Zahrah the Windseeker
- Ben Okri (Nigeria): The Famished Road
- Deon Opperman (South Africa): Donkerland (Dark Land), Kruispad (Crossroad), Hartland (Heartland)
- Yambo Ouologuem (Mali): Le Devoir de Violence
- Alan Paton (South Africa): Cry, The Beloved Country
- Pepetela (Angola) : Muana Puó, Mayombe, A Gloriosa Família
- Sol Plaatje (South Africa): Mhudi
- Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt) : Woman at Point Zero
- Tayeb Salih (Sudan): Season of Migration to the North
- Wilton Sankawulo (Liberia): Birds Are Singing
- Karel Schoeman (South Africa): n Ander Land (Another Country), Na die Geliefde Land (Promised Land)
- Olive Schreiner (South Africa): The Story of an African Farm
- Benjamin Sehene (Rwanda): Le Feu sous la Soutane (Fire under the Cassock)
- Ousmane Sembène (Senegal): Xala, The Black Docker (Le Docker Noir), God's Bits of Wood (Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu), The Last of the Empire (Le dernier de l'Empire), Tribal Scars (Voltaïque)
- Wole Soyinka (Nigeria): The Interpreters, Seasons of Anomy,
- Amos Tutuola (Nigeria): The Palm Wine Drinkard, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle, Feather Woman of the Jungle, he Witch-Herbalist of the Remote Town, Ajaiyi and his Inherited Poverty
- Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa): Triomf (Triumph)
- Yvonne Vera (Zimbabwe): Butterfly Burning
- José Luandino Vieira (Angola): Luanda
- Joseph Jeffrey Walters (Liberia): Guanya Pau: A Story of an African Princess (1891)
- Birhanu Zerihun (Ethiopia): Ye'imba debdabbéwoch ("Tearful Letters")
Notable African poets
- Werku, Dagnachew, The Thirteenth Sun, 1968.
- Berhanemariam, Sahlesillasse, The Warrior King, 1974.
- Alain Ricard (1987). "Museum, Mausoleum, or Market: The Concept of National Literature". Research in African Literatures. 18. JSTOR 4618186.
- Mineke Schipper (1987). "National Literatures and Literary History". Research in African Literatures. 18. JSTOR 4618185.
- Busby, Margaret (ed.), Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent from the Ancient Egyptian to the Present, Random House, 1992.
- Mazrui, Ali A. (ed.), General History of Africa, vol. VIII, UNESCO, 1993, ch. 19, Ali A. Mazrui et al., "The development of modern literature since 1935".
- Gordon, April A. and Gordon, Donald L., Understanding Contemporary Africa, London: Lynne Rienner, 1996, ch. 12, George Joseph, "African Literature".
- Gikandi, Simon (ed.), Encyclopedia of African Literature, London: Routledge, 2003.
- Irele, Abiola, and Simon Gikandi (eds),The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature, 2 vols, Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Table of contents
- Shamim, Amna. Gynocentric Contours of the Male Imagination: A Study of the Novels of Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong'o. New Delhi: Idea Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9788193326978
- ^George, Joseph, "African Literature", in Gordon and Gordon, Understanding Contemporary Africa (1996), ch. 14, p. 303.
- ^Joseph (1996), p. 304.
- ^"African literature" at info-please.
- ^African Literature - MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- ^"Timbuktu Manuscripts Project Description"(PDF). uio.no. January 1, 2003. Archived from the original(PDF) on May 5, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- ^Matthias Schulz and Anwen Roberts (August 1, 2008). "The Rush to Save Timbuktu's Crumbling Manuscripts". spiegel.de. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- ^"Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu | Exhibitions - Library of Congress". Loc.gov. July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- ^Stephanie Newell, Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana: 'How to Play the Game of Life' , Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2002, p. 135, ch. 7, "Ethical Fiction: J.E. Casely Hayford's Ethiopia Unbound".
- ^Elizabeth, Marie (March 22, 2013). "Humble beginnings of Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- ^Leopold Senghor - MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009.
- ^Ali A. Mazrui et al. "The development of modern literature since 1935" as ch. 19 of UNESCO's General History of Africa, vol. VIII, pp. 564f. Collaborating with Ali A. Mazrui on this chapter were Mario Pinto de Andrade, M'hamed Alaoui Abdalaoui, Daniel P. Kunene and Jan Vansina.
- ^Mary Jay, "25 Years of the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa: an historic overview", The African Book Publishing Record, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp. 116–118, ISSN (Print) 0306-0322, DOI: 10.1515/ABPR.2006.116, January 2008.