James Currey

James Currey was the editorial director at Heinemann Educational Books in charge of the African Writers Series from 1967 to 1984. He is the recipient of the African Literary Association’s 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Listed in: African Studies · African Authors · History

Africa Writes Back · The African Writers Series and the Launch of African Literature
By James Currey

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart provided the impetus for the foundation of Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 1962 with Achebe as the editorial adviser. Africa Writes Back presents portraits of the leading characters and the many consultants and readers providing reports and advice to new and established writers.

“[The book] is full of the drama of that enterprise, the drama of dealing with the mother house, the drama of dealing with the often intractable political constraints dominating the intellectual space across Africa, and not least of all dealing with the writers themselves—with their ambitions, their temperaments, their financial needs and, at times, their perception of a colonial relationship between themselves and a European publishing house.”

Clive Wake, Emeritus Professor of Modern Languages, University of Kent at Canterbury