African American Authors
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Staging the Amistad collects for the first time plays about the Amistad slave revolt by three of Sierra Leone’s most influential playwrights of the latter decades of the 20th century. Written and staged before and after the start of Sierra Leone’s decade-long conflict, they brought the Amistad rebellion to public consciousness.
When Desire Mensah, a disgraced school teacher in her thirties, meets Wolfgang “Wolf” Ofori, an eleven-year-old genius, a strange friendship develops between them. Set in 1990s Ghana, The Wolf at Number 4 is a chilling and funny gothic tale that forces us to confront whether the wolves around us are born or made.
In the accessible and concise A Short History of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Terri Ochiagha asks new questions and brings wider attention to unfamiliar but crucial elements of the story, including new insights into questions of canonicity, and into literary, historiographical, and precolonial aesthetic influences.
In the early 1980s, a pharmaceutical company administers an unethical drug trial to residents of the Niger Delta village of Kreektown. When children die as a result, the dominoes of language extinction and cultural collapse begin to topple. Nwokolo moves across time and continents to deliver a novel that speaks to urgent contemporary concerns.
In Tales of the Metric System, Coovadia explores a turbulent South Africa from 1970 into the present. He takes his home country's transition from imperial to metric measurements as his catalyst, holding South Africa up and examining it from the diverse perspectives of his many characters.
The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician follows three Zimbabwean expatriates in Edinburgh as they struggle to find places for themselves in Scotland. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, Huchu creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, belonging, and politics in the Zimbabwean diaspora.
Set in contemporary Zimbabwe, Caine Prize finalist Tendai Huchu’s comedic and devastating novel of manners and sexual mores chronicles the rise and fall of an unconventional friendship between a single mother and a rival male hairdresser, with brutal consequences for both.
In the fictional East African Kwatee Republic of the 1990s, the dictatorship is about to fall, and the nation’s exiles are preparing to return. One of these exiles, a young man named Kalumba, is a graduate student in the United States, where he encounters Mrs. Shaw, a professor emerita and former British settler who fled Kwatee’s postcolonial political and social turmoil.
The reincarnation of a legendary nineteenth-century Caribbean emperor as a contemporary African leader is at the heart of this novel. Sacred River deals with the extraordinary lives, hopes, powerful myths, stories, and tragedies of the people of a modern West African nation. It is also the compelling love story of an idealistic philosophy professor and an ex-courtesan of incomparable beauty.
On a freezing winter’s night, a few hours before dawn on May 12, 1969, South African security police stormed the Soweto home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, activist and wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela, and arrested her in the presence of her two young daughters, then aged nine and ten. Rounded up in a group of other antiapartheid activists under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, designed for the security police to hold and interrogate people for as long as they wanted, she was taken away.
Every city has an unspoken side. Cape Town, between the picture postcard mountain and sea, has its own shadow: a place of dislocation and uncertainty, dependence and desperation, destruction and survival, gangsters, pimps, pedophiles, hunger, hope, and moments of happiness.
Ufrieda Ho’s compelling memoir describes with intimate detail what it was like to come of age in the marginalized Chinese community of Johannesburg during the apartheid era of the 1970s and 1980s. The Chinese were mostly ignored, as Ho describes it, relegated to certain neighborhoods and certain jobs, living in a kind of gray zone between the blacks and the whites. As long as they adhered to these rules, they were left alone.
Dog Eat Dog is a remarkable record of being young in a nation undergoing tremendous turmoil, and provides a glimpse into South Africa’s pivotal kwaito (South African hip-hop) generation and life in Soweto. Set in 1994, just as South Africa is making its postapartheid transition, Dog Eat Dog captures the hopes—and crushing disappointments—that characterize such moments in a nation’s history.
Dance of Life examines the five novels Zakes Mda—novelist, painter, composer, theater director and filmmaker—has written since South Africa’s transition to democracy: Ways of Dying (1995), The Heart of Redness (2000), The Madonna of Excelsior (2002), The Whale Caller (2005), and Cion (2007).
Eloquent and thought-provoking, this classic novel by the Eritrean novelist Gebreyesus Hailu, written in Tigrinya in 1927 and published in 1950, is one of the earliest novels written in an African language and will have a major impact on the reception and critical appraisal of African literature.