Edited by Donald Burness
“…The best of Wanasema’s conversations…illuminate the Burness approach, in which what we get is…a sense of immediacy and engagement, a feeling of the liveliness of the social and artistic energies that come together to make the writer and his or her work become what they do become…Wanasema thus contributes to the growing body of archival material out of which a richly textured biographical, textual, and literary history of African literatures can eventually be written. The Burness conversations are very much recommended both in and of themselves and for the variety that they bring to a continuing understanding of the varieties of African experiences.”
L.A. Johnson, Choice
There is a tendency to regard African literature as a homogenous product. Certainly it is true that African writers have created a vibrant, modern literature. Nevertheless, they come from specific societies and reflect vastly differing worlds.
Wanasema attempts to show some of the many faces of African literature. Dramatists, poets and novelists speak in these pages. They write in French, English, Portuguese, Arabic and indigenous languages. Some are Christian; others are Muslim. A variety of subjects are discussed, including the status of women, history, religion, politics, dress and education.
Taken together, the interviews in Wanasema suggest that Western students of Africa would do well to learn the languages of Africa. They suggest, too, taht there is a need to investigate further the relationship between Islamic North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and finally, that oral literature continues to be a vast marketplace for scholars. This book should interest African Studies specialists, of course, but also those whose concerns include literature, history and contemporary events in the non-Western world generally.
Don Burness teaches English at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. More info →
Save 20% ($15.96)
US and Canada only
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
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 Twelve Best Books by African Women is a collection of critical essays on eleven works of fiction and one play, an important but belated affirmation of women writers on the continent and a first step toward establishing a recognized canon of African women’s literature.
From the 1820s through the 1840s, debate raged over what Thomas Carlyle famously termed “the Condition of England Question.” While much of the debate focused on how to remedy the material sufferings of the rural and urban working classes, for three writers in particular--William Cobbett, Thomas Carlyle, and Benjamin Disraeli--the times were marked by an even more pervasive crisis that threatened not only the material lives of workers, but also the very stability of meaning itself.
Ghanaian novelist, essayist, and short-story writer Ayi Kwei Armah has won international recognition as one of Africa’s most articulate writers. In this book, Ode Ogede argues that previous critics have misinterpreted the aesthetic and literary influences that have shaped Armah’s artistic vision and overlooked his most significant and valuable contribution to the problems of writing “outside the prison-house of conventional English.”