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Reflections: An Anthology of New Work by African Women Poets

Anthonia C. Kalu, Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi, and Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka, editors

This anthology of never-before-published poems showcases a new generation of African women poets, some familiar, some just beginning their literary careers. Their rich voices belie popular stereotypes, reflecting the diversity and dynamism of their environment. As they range across topics encompassing family and personal relationships, politics, war, and the ravages of famine and disease, they    More >

Reflections: An Anthology of New Work by African Women Poets

African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies

Geoff Wisner, editor

African Lives, a pioneering anthology of memoirs and autobiographical writings, lets the people of Africa speak for themselves—telling stories of struggle and achievement that have the authenticity of lived experience. The anthology presents selections from the work of many of Africa's finest writers and most significant personalities from across the continent and spanning several    More >

African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies

The Rienner Anthology of African Literature

Anthonia C. Kalu, editor

ForeWord Magazine's Reference Book of the Year, 2007! Ranging from ancient cultures to the present century, from Africa's rich oral traditions to its contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama, this long-awaited comprehensive anthology reflects the enduring themes of African literature.   The selections, drawn from the length and breadth of the continent, reveal the richness of    More >

The Rienner Anthology of African Literature

Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide

William Maynard Hutchins

Tawfiq al-Hakim (1898-1987) dedicated much of his long life to a fruitful attempt to advance the fortunes of twentieth century Arabic literature by writing it. This guide to his work provides paths for readers through his multiple literary worlds. Chapters on his personal history, his novels, plays, short stories, and essays, his Islamic feminism, and his theology are enhanced by a discussion of    More >

Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide

The Desert Shore: Literatures of the Sahel

Christopher Wise, editor

Though Sahelian culture likely dates back more than five thousand years—encompassing Africa's greatest empires—the Sahel remains little known in the English-speaking world. Redressing this situation, The Desert Shore offers a rich sampling of the contemporary literatures of the region, along with contextualizing chapters by critics from Africa, Europe, and North America. The    More >

The Desert Shore: Literatures of the Sahel

Islam and the West African Novel: The Politics of Representation

Ahmed Sheikh Bangura

Ahmed Bangura argues that a deeply ingrained pattern of prejudice toward Islam in European-language writing on Africa has led to serious misreadings of many West African novels. Extending Edward Said's study of the orientalist tradition in Western scholarship, Bangura traces the origins of contemporary misunderstandings of African Islam to the discourse of colonial literature. Western critics and    More >

Achebe, Head, Marechera: On Power and Change in Africa

Annie Gagiano

Concentrating on issues of power and change, Annie Gagiano's close reading of literary texts by Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, and Dambudzo Marechera teases out each author's view of how colonialism affected Africa, the contribution of Africans to their own malaise, and above all, the creative, progressive, pragmatic role of many Africans during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Gagiano    More >

The Memory of Stones [a novel]

Mandla Langa

Ngoza, in KwaZulu-Natal—South Africa's most turbulent province—is transformed when clan leader Baba Joshua dies and his headstrong daughter tackles the age-old shibboleths held by traditionalists and gangsters alike. The reluctant heroine of this novel, Zodwa, finds support from unlikely quarters. A disenchanted ex-ANC guerrilla and a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist join forces    More >

Maghrebian Mosaic: A Literature in Transition

Mildred Mortimer, editor

Albert Memmi published the first anthology of francophone Maghrebian literature, he expressed his unhappy belief that francophone writing would quickly be eclipsed by Arabic. To the contrary, this volume demonstrates that the francophone writing of North Africa remains vibrant and prolific. Two distinct periods are evident in contemporary Maghrebian letters, producing the anticolonial works    More >

Maghrebian Mosaic: A Literature in Transition

Ken Saro-Wiwa: Writer and Political Activist

Craig McLuckie and Aubrey McPhail, editors

The shocking execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa at the hands of the Nigerian government in 1995 stirred new interest in the many facets of his life—as novelist and short story writer, radio and television personality, publisher and entrepreneur, political and environmental activist. This interdisciplinary collection critically assesses Saro-Wiwa’s exceptional life and work from a range of    More >

The New African Poetry: An Anthology

Tanure Ojaide and Tijan M. Sallah, editors

This anthology presents the voices of a new generation of African poets, drawn from across the continent and representing a wide range of themes, styles, and ideologies. These contemporary voices have been shaped in the realities of postcolonial Africa from the mid-1970s to the present. In contrast to the preceding generation—forged in the years of nationalist movements and    More >

The New African Poetry: An Anthology

Yambo Ouologuem: Postcolonial Writer, Islamic Militant

Christopher Wise, editor

From the appearance of Bound to Violence in the late 1960s, Yambo Ouologuem has been one of Africa’s most controversial writers. For some critics, the young Malian signaled an entire new direction for African letters: a fiercely courageous postindependence literature. For others, his novel revealed too much, bringing to light horrors many preferred to ignore. Today Ouologuem is credited with    More >

Bab el-Oued [a novel]

Merzak Allouache, translated by Angela M. Brewer

Bored housewives, kept in seclusion, smuggling in Harlequin romances. Modish young men transformed into Islamic militants. A baker unwittingly caught in a web of intrigue, an imam whose faith is tested by urban corruption, a lonely divorcee accused of prostitution—all take part in Merzak Allouache's novel of a society on the brink of crisis. Allouache tells the story of the people of    More >

Bab el-Oued [a novel]

Critical Perspectives on Mongo Beti

Stephen H. Arnold, editor

Mongo Beti is the most prolific and widely read author from Cameroon, and his writings have called world attention to political corruption in his native country. These essays cover the three distinct periods of Beti’s greatest activity as a writer—the first, which ran from 1953 to 1958; the re-emergence that began in 1974; and the third phase, which Arnold traces to Beti’s brief    More >

Caught in the Storm [a novel]

Seydou Badian, translated by Marie-Thérèse Noiset

A gentle novel about the enduring conflict between young and old, new and traditional, foreign and native. Badian tells the story of a village family in an African country under French rule. The family's father and the eldest son revere the customs of their ancestors, while the younger children are strongly attracted by European ways and ideas. The daughter, Kany, has fallen in love with her    More >

Caught in the Storm [a novel]

Muhammad [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Nadia Benabid

It is the 26th day of Ramadan in the year 610, and a handsome man named Muhammad is meditating in a cave on Mount Hira. Fear grips him as he tries to sort out the visions and voices washing over him; and terrified that he is possessed, he leaves the cave to return to Mecca. The day that will transform Muhammad’s life—and change the world—has begun. That day becomes a fluid    More >

Muhammad [a novel]

Lion Mountain [a novel]

Mustapha Tlili, translated by Linda Coverdale

As a young widow with two boys to raise, Horia El-Gharib struggled to reconcile tradition and change. She dared to take on a man's role in commerce and trade to protect the future of her sons—but now, all is at risk in the midst of the turmoil of the newly independent regime. Lion Mountain is the unforgettable story of a stubborn old woman, a one-legged Nubian war hero, and a    More >

Lion Mountain [a novel]

On the Shoulder of Marti

Donald Burness

This collection of fiction and poetry, written by members of the military forces sent by Castro to help defeat the South Africa-backed regime in Angola, reflects the realities of painful years in Africa. The material is laced together by Burness’ narrative of past and present wars and rebellions.    More >

Shattered Vision [a novel]

Rabah Belamri, translated by Hugh A. Harter

The violence of war leads to the euphoria of Algeria's newly won independence from France—and then quickly deteriorates into a harsh and cynical reality in this brutal yet lyrical autobiographical novel. Shattered Vision (first published in France as Le regard blesse) was awarded the Prix France Culture in 1987.    More >

Shattered Vision [a novel]

Critical Perspectives on Dennis Brutus

Craig W. McLuckie and Patrick J. Colbert, editors

Poet, activist, teacher, and scholar, Dennis Brutus is one of the foremost names in African literature—as a creative force, a cultural influence, and a personality. Exploring Brutus's life and writings, this collection opens with a biographical introduction to his "art and activism," covering his childhood, his university days, his arrest and imprisonment in 1964–1965, his    More >

The Excised [a novel]

Evelyne Accad, translated by David Bruner

Dealing with sexual mutilation, Accad’s lyrical, tragic novel shows woman as prisoner, victim, and target of man’s age-old preoccupation with domination by and fear of women. Set in exploding, agonized Lebanon, the work is Islamic, Christian, modern, and antique in scope. First published in French in 1982. This new paperback edition includes a preface by the author.    More >

The Repudiation [a novel]

Rachid Boudjedra, translated by Golda Lambrova, with an introduction by Heidi Abdel Jaouod

In this turbulent novel of shame, violence, and hypocritical morality, the adolescent son of a repudiated mother grows up in a hostile, erotic, bourgeois world, where he must fight for his own soul. Using violence against violence, the young hero seeks to realize his better nature by overcoming the powers of hedonism, religious conformity, and tribalism. First published in French in 1969.    More >

The Repudiation [a novel]

Critical Perspectives on Yusuf Idris

Roger Allen, editor

Yusuf Idris is considered by many to be the greatest contemporary short-story writer working in Arabic. The 17 critical essays in this collection—some by critics in the Arab world and others by Western specialists on modern Arabic fiction and drama—are organized in sections devoted to Idris's short stories, novels, and plays. Each section includes studies that adopt a general    More >

Inspector Ali [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Lara McGlashan

After many years abroad, Brahim, the author of stories about a detective (alter-ego) named Ali, returns to Morocco with his pregnant Scottish wife and two sons. Soon to join them are his in-laws, complete with golf clubs and nervous expectations about a mysterious land. In a warm, satirical novel about the misunderstanding between two worlds, Chraïbi pokes fun at both the native Morocco of    More >

Inspector Ali [a novel]

Dreams of Dusty Roads: New Poems

Tijan M. Sallah

One of the most important literary voices to emerge from The Gambia for several decades, Sallah writes nostalgically about his African roots. This, his third collection, includes elegant, often melodic poems about love, prayer, fate, homesickness, and the contrasts between different places and cultures.    More >

Dreams of Dusty Roads: New Poems

Weavers of the Songs

edited and translated by Mishael Maswari Caspi and Julia Ann Blessing

A collection of songs sung by Arab women, compiled by Caspi during field research in the West Bank and Israel. The songs, in English translation, are divided into three sections: bridal songs, lullabies, and lamentations. The work also includes a general introduction and a bibliography.    More >

Critical Perspectives on Naguib Mahfouz

Trevor Le Gassick, editor

Eleven essays by Western and Middle Eastern scholars evaluate the work of Naguib Mahfouz, arguably Egypt's greatest novelist, and the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. The first such comprehensive, critical treatment in English, the book considers Mahfouz's short stories and screenplays, as well as his novels. The contributors pay particular attention to the sociocultural    More >

Those Magical Years: The Making of Nigerian Literature at Ibadan, 1948-1966

Robert M. Wren

This unique investigation provides the first major account of the explosion of literary talent that began in Nigeria in 1948 and ended as the civil war was intensifying in 1966. The book is structured around interviews with the men and women who led this generation of profound talent, all of whom attended University College, Ibadan, or its successor, the University of Ibadan. Speculating about    More >

White Shadows: A Dialectical View of the French African Novel

Carroll Yoder

European colonialists assumed the prerogative to interpret the experiences of their “charges” and to decide the legitimacy of creative expression among Africans. Yoder examines that assumption, frankly discussing the racism and cultural chauvinism of nineteenth-century France, as well as colonial practices and the reactions to them as reflected in West African novels. Using a    More >

The Novels of Alex La Guma: The Representation of a Political Conflict

Kathleen Balutansky

In this fresh look at the troubled, passionate work of an important South African writer and social critic, Balutansky explores Alex La Guma’s five novels in all their dimensions. Balutansky notes La Guma’s belief that, in order to lead a fulfilling existence, an individual must go beyond introspection and adopt a life that is organized around unity, caring, and sharing. She is    More >

Birth at Dawn [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Ann Woollcombe

The final volume in a trilogy that includes The Flutes of Death and Mother Spring, Birth at Dawn extends to the eighth century the story of the arrival of Islam in Morocco and Algeria. First published in French in 1986.    More >

Joseph Conrad: Third World Perspectives

Robert D. Hamner, editor

Issues of racial discrimination, imperialist exploitation, and accuracy of observation have long interested Conrad’s critics. As a European writing about imperialism in exotic lands, Conrad offered a vivid, but subjective account of the confrontations between the cultures and peoples of East and West. Though some in Africa have condemned his novels as racist, the books have been used as    More >

Doguicimi [a novel]

Paul Hazoume, translated by Richard Bjornson

Although he was a staunch supporter of French colonialism, Paul Hazoumé in his realistic, sweeping narrative captures the customs and traditions—the soul—of Dahomey. This historical novel, set in the first half of the nineteenth century, depicts a proud and powerful nation at a turning point in its long pattern of wars, slave trade, and human sacrifices—practices that, in    More >

Egyptian Short Stories

edited and translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Seventeen short stories by such well-known writers as Abdullah, Idris, Mahfouz, Taher, Ibrahim, Sharouni, Fahmy, Sibai, and    More >

Egyptian Short Stories

The Butts [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

The dehumanization of the Arabs who emigrated to "Mother France" is the subject of Chraïbi’s second novel, echoing Simple Past. This time, however, the focus is more on the values and customs of the West, whose promises to the Islamic world appear as a facade for violence and exploitation. The story unfolds in the mind of Yalaan Waldik, an "Arabo" who aspires to    More >

Mother Spring [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

Beginning with an epilogue set in the present, this novel quickly moves back to the time of the generation after Muhammad—a time when North Africa, the home of the Berber peoples, was overrun by Arab armies. With strong characters and a compelling sense of place, Chraïbi demonstrates how the Berbers tried to maintain their cultural identity in the face of the overwhelmingly rapid and    More >

Our Sun Will Rise

Amelia Blossom House, with drawings by Selma Waldman

A collection of forty-two poems that depict the pain and pathos, the political and personal struggles that marked South Africa during apartheid. House is acutely sensitive to the sometimes subtle, sometimes explosive tensions of her homeland—and to the hope that must accompany any movement toward liberation. Eighteen full-page drawings by Selma Waldman are presented as visual responses to    More >

The Cheapest Nights

Yusuf Idris, translated by Wadida Wassef

Idris developed a form of expression new to Arabic literary tradition, deliberately distinguishing between the colloquial Arabic spoken by his characters and the classical form that he used as narrator. This innovation at first raised an outcry among Arab critics, who disparaged his deviation from tradition; eventually, however, his work came to be valued as a purely indigenous product and a stark    More >

The Cheapest Nights

Road to Europe [ a novel]

Ferdinand Oyono, translated by Richard Bjornson

Oyono’s third novel is the bittersweet, first-person story of Aki Barnabas, a young Cameroonian scholar who seeks to become “someone” by using the rules of the colonial system to his personal advantage. Failing in his nearly ten-year effort to win a scholarship to Paris, sacrificing his very self in a futile quest for prestige, Barnabas becomes lost at home and unwanted abroad.    More >

Wild Hunter in the Bush of the Ghosts

Amos Tutuola, edited by Bernth Lindfors

The manuscript for this novel, written in 1948, was hidden in a file in London for more than thirty years, until unearthed by Bernth Lindfors. The present edition of the book, its first publication other than a limited facsimile edition in 1982, incorporates minor revisions made by Tutuola during a visit to the United States in 1983, when he corrected obvious errors and restructured several    More >

Fountain and Tomb [a novel]

Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Soad Sobhi, Essam Fattouh, and James Kenneson

"I enjoy playing in the small square between the archway and the takiya [monastery] where the Sufis live. Like all the other children, I admire the mulberry trees in the takiya garden, the only bit of green in the whole neighborhood. Our tender hearts yearn for their dark berries. But it stands like a fortress, this takiya, circled by its garden wall. Its stern gate is broken and always, like    More >

Fountain and Tomb [a novel]

Critical Perspectives on Léon Gontran Damas

Keith Q. Warner, editor

Poet, storyteller, scholar, teacher, and statesman, Léon Gontran Damas, born in French Guiana, was a founding father of the negritude movement. This collection offers a wide range of essays on the life and career of Damas from his schooling at home and later in Martinique, through his creative years in Paris as a student, writer, and member of the French Chambres du Deputés, to his    More >

Critical Perspectives on Léon Gontran Damas

1,001 Proverbs from Tunisia

Issac Yetiv

The son of a Tunisian Jewish family, Yetiv attempts to preserve some of the wisdom contained in a tradition that may be dying out. Each proverb is presented in transliterated Arabic, with both a literal English translation and an alternative translation that provides a context more familiar to a Western reader.    More >

The City Where No One Dies [a novel]

Bernard Dadie, translated by Janis A. Mayes

In this witty and ironic reversal of the typical colonial travelogue, Dadié recounts the journey of a bemused African traveler who settles in Rome, continuing his inquiries into the fundamental nature of humankind. Part conqueror, part pilgrim, part worshipper, and part critic, the protagonist compares Roman and African customs, traditions, history, and above all,    More >

The City Where No One Dies [a novel]

Flutes of Death [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Robin A. Roosevelt

The first book in a trilogy that continues with Mother Spring and Birth at Dawn, this naturalistic allegory is about two Arabic-speaking police officers who set out in the Atlas Mountains in search of a revolutionary. Once in this mysterious region, the officers, with their postcolonial, Westernized manners, are challenged by the ferociously suspicious and independent-minded Berber    More >

Mother Comes of Age [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

Setting his novel during World War II, Chraïbi opens the door on the protected and well-to- do world of an Arab woman whose role in society is restricted to that of wife and mother. At the urging of her two sons, she seeks knowledge of the larger world with all its political, economic, and social realities. Soon, she begins to develop and express her own opinions about the ongoing World War    More >

Mother Comes of Age [a novel]

The Sinners [a novel]

Yusuf Idris, translated by Kristin Peterson-Ishaq

A woman abandons her newborn baby in a ditch. Soon discovered, the corpse arouses in the local peasants an intense desire to bring the killer to justice—and gives them the excuse to pry into the lives of the entire community. The primary suspects are a group of migrant workers, and the question of their guilt or innocence soon reveals other kinds of truths. The Sinners is an evocative    More >

The Sinners [a novel]

Folktales from the Gambia: Wolof Fictional Narratives

edited and translated by Emil Magel

These translations of 45 Wolof folktales are remarkable for the way they capture the poignancy, humor, and meaning of their original, oral form. Organized according to their thematic patterns, the stories reveal much about the Wolof people’s relationship with their environment, their beliefs about causality, and their social values, morality, and customs. Including a general introduction and    More >

Critical Perspectives on Christopher Okigbo

Donatus Ibe Nwoga, editor

A collection of essays and reviews, both favorable and negative, about the charismatic and popular Igbo poet who, at the age of 35, was killed by the advancing Nigerian army during the war of Biafran secession. The book begins with a memorial essay by Okigbo’s good friend Chinua Achebe. Other contributors examine the rich imagery that Okigbo drew from nature, history, and politics,    More >

Chaminuka: Prophet of Zimbabwe [a novel]

Solomon M. Mutswairo

The late Solomon Mutswairo was one of southern Africa's most prominent contemporary writers. Here, he gives us a historical novel about Zimbabwe’s famed nineteenth-century prophet, Chaminuka, a man who sacrificed his life for the cause of peace. Mutswairo tells a tragic tale about deception and the dislocation caused by the "divide and conquer" strategies of colonialism. But    More >

Critical Perspectives on Lusophone Literature from Africa

Donald Burness, editor

The struggle for liberation from colonial rule in lusophone Africa, which culminated in the creation of several independent nations, has produced a vigorous body of works that are innovative in both theme and language. This collection of critical essays, accompanied by more than 30 illustrations and photographs, covers a range of literary forms (both oral and written) and also discusses the    More >

The Suns of Independence

Ahmadou Kourouma

A masterpiece of modern African literature, The Suns of Independence brilliantly captures the struggles, desires, and dreams of people in a west African country as they live through the tumultuous days of postcolonial independence.    More >

The Suns of Independence

Fate of a Cockroach and Other Plays

Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Includes The Song of Death, The Sultan's Dilemma, and Not a Thing Out of Place, as well as the title play, an absurdist comedy.    More >

Fate of a Cockroach and Other Plays

The Man Who Lost His Shadow [a novel]

Fathy Ghanem, translated by Desmond Stewart

The life of a young, ambitious Cairo journalist as seen through the eyes of the two women who love him and the two colleagues who befriend him, only to be betrayed. First published in Arabic.     More >

Season of Migration to the North [a novel]

Tayeb Salih, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Salih's shocking and beautiful novel reveals much about the people on each side of a cultural divide. A brilliant Sudanese student takes his mix of anger and obsession with the West to London, where he has affairs with women who are similarly obsessed with the mysterious East. Life, ecstasy, and death share the same moment in time. First published in Arabic in 1969.    More >

Season of Migration to the North [a novel]

A Dance of Masks: Senghor, Achebe, and Soyinka

Jonathan A. Peters

Peters searches for themes about African self-identity by exploring images of the mask in the poetry of Senghor, the fiction of Achebe, and the drama of Soyinka. His focus is not on the mask as a physical object, but as a concept—a dynamic interplay that involves both the mask and its wearer. Within this interplay, he finds important insights about Africanness as defined by three of the    More >

Fire: Six Writers from Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde

Donald Burness

Because of, and at times in spite of, the distinct quality of Portuguese colonial policy, an original and vibrant lusophone literature exists today in Africa. Burness introduces the too-little- known work of Angola’s Luandino Viera, Agostinho Neto, Geraldo Bessa Victor, and Mario Antonio, Cape Verde’s Baltasar Lopes, and Mozambique’s Luis Bernardo Honwana.    More >

Critical Perspectives on Amos Tutuola

edited by Bernth Lindfors

Tutuola, Nigeria’s first novelist to write in English, is one of the most controversial of African authors. His six books have drawn reactions ranging from delirious enthusiasm to amused indifference to undisguised contempt. At any given time, his work might be reviled at home and respected abroad—or vice versa. His writing, however, does not seem much affected by the controversies,    More >