Stephanie Newell

Stephanie Newell is a professor of English at the University of Sussex, UK, and the author of West African Literature: Ways of Reading, Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana, and Ghanaian Popular Fiction: How to Play the Game of Life.

Listed in: African Studies · Biography · Gender Studies · Literary Criticism · History · Journalism · African History · Literary Studies




Finalist for the 2014 Melville J. Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association.

The Power to Name · A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa
By Stephanie Newell

Between the 1880s and the 1940s, the region known as British West Africa became a dynamic zone of literary creativity and textual experimentation. African-owned newspapers offered local writers numerous opportunities to contribute material for publication, and editors repeatedly defined the press as a vehicle to host public debates rather than simply as an organ to disseminate news or editorial ideology.

“This brilliantly original book opens up new ways of looking at the colonial West African press. The Power to Name reveals the newspapers as sites of creativity and experimentation. Newell shows how West African writers, in a range of emergent genres, tried out far-reaching new conceptions of the public good, political allegiance and personal identity. An engrossing and fascinating read, and a landmark in West African cultural history.”

Karin Barber, University of Birmingham




The Forger’s Tale · The Search for Odeziaku
By Stephanie Newell

Between 1905 and 1939 a conspicuously tall white man with a shock of red hair, dressed in a silk shirt and white linen trousers, could be seen on the streets of Onitsha, in Eastern Nigeria. How was it possible for an unconventional, boy-loving Englishman to gain a social status among the local populace enjoyed by few other Europeans in colonial West Africa?

“In Stuart-Young, literary scholar Stephanie Newell has found a fascinating subject for a study of race, class, and sexuality in West Africa and Britain between the 1880s and 1930s.... The intriguing narrative at its center will appeal to a wide range of readers, while specialists in the history of colonialism, West Africa, and sexuality should find this study provocative and insightful.”

American Historical Review




Ghanaian Popular Fiction · 'Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal Life' and Other Tales
By Stephanie Newell

This is a study of the ‘unofficial’ side of African fiction—the largely undocumented writing, publishing, and reading of pamphlets and paperbacks—which exists outside the grid of mass production. Stephanie Newell examines the popular fiction of Ghana produced since the 1930s, analyzing the distinctive ways in which narrative forms are borrowed and regenerated by authors and readers.