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‘Africa is producing one of the most exciting literary movements of our century’- Ellah Allfrey

The quote is from a 2011 telegraph.co.uk article titled, “All Hail the African Renaissance: The Storymoja Hay Festival with the British Council in Nairobi” which goes on further:

“A recent article claimed that “Africa has replaced Scandinavia as the ‘capital of Crime’”, pointing to an explosion of crime fiction including Mukoma wa Ngugi’s debut, Nairobi Heat. Ishmael Fofona, his detective, may not as yet have taken over from Kurt Wallander in our affections, but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time.

Crime is not the only genre that seems to be thriving. There is some science fiction being written (in the Gambian author Biram Mboob’s Harabella, for example, the whole of Africa is colonised by China) and even some chick-lit, with Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Everywhere new authors are breaking free of the burdensome label “African writers” and for the first time there is a decent body of genre writing not only set in Africa, but written by Africans.”[1]

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“The stories come from Africans whose homes span the globe: as these writers migrate, occasionally repatriate and lay claim to their patches in a shape-shifting global village, a tribe of readers and critics grows along with them, passing on information, reading-lists and reviews in what is one of the most exciting literary movements of our century.

If that seems an exaggeration, it’s worth noting that in the past few years international houses including Random House, Penguin and Macmillan have set up imprints in African countries, and the Heinemann African Writers Series has been resuscitated with new editions of classic texts.”[1]

“This generation of writers shows an abundance of imagination and a refusal to be categorised that marks, for me, the point at which fellow story-junkies will have every chance of finding that the next fix comes out of Africa.”[1]

I think its worth observing that although the African Renaissance began as or is perhaps seen as mainly political, I think it has or is slowly permeating other aspects of African cultural life. African Renaissance is referenced when there is progress in Culture and science spheres. The words don’t only belong to politicians anymore.

You can read an exerpt of “Harabella” by Gambian writer Biram Mboob at Granta. “The Stampede is set in West Africa across different time periods reaching from the distant past, through the early 1990s, to 2047. In this extract, a young Cadet in the Homeland Army finds himself drawn into a treasonous plot to steal a strange immortality virus from the government – in an Africa that has been colonized by the People’s Republic of China.” [2]

Notes.

1 “All Hail the African Renaissance: The Storymoja Hay Festival with the British Council in Nairobi” – telegraph.co.uk

2. Harabella|New Writing – granta.com

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