05 April 2007

Words Without Borders: Africa

The April edition of Words Without Borders has been posted, and its focus this month is on writing from Africa. It includes an excerpt from Ahmadou Kourouma's novel about a child soldier, Allah is Not Obliged, a review of which I just turned in to Rain Taxi. I can't say it's a book I loved or even liked -- it's brutal, profane, frustrating, and I found some of Kourouma's stylistic choices (as translated by Frank Wynne) annoying -- but I also can't say I've read a novel that has kept me thinking so much in months, and so I actually recommend it highly. It will be out in the U.S. in May in an edition from Anchor Books.

Words Without Borders will be hosting a discussion on April 27 at the PEN American Center in New York on the topic, "Every Day in Africa":
Americans’ exposure to Africa is mostly through press coverage focused on current events, with a bias toward the sensational and tragic. This discussion will offer a glimpse into the richness of the literary voices from Africa: these writers will talk about their work, the traditions they draw on, their styles and literary choices, and their tremendously diverse accomplishments.
I won't be able to get down to NY to see it, much as I would like to, but if anybody out there would like to go and then write about it here, please let me know. (The PEN Center is pretty good about putting audio online, so let's hope they do so with this event.)

I've been meaning to write more about literature(s) from Africa here, but life has gotten in the way, and so really I've been meaning to write about all sorts of different things and haven't had the time for any of it. Soon, though, I expect to have at least something to say about Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, a novel I'm using in one of my classes this term.

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