The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English Since 1945
Composed by a premier scholar of African literature, this volume
is a comprehensive guide to the literary traditions of Gambia,
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria, five distinct countries
bound by their experience with colonialism. Oyekan Owomoyela begins
with an overview of the authors, texts, and historical events that
have shaped the development of postwar Anglophone literatures in
this region, exploring shifts in theme and the role of foreign
sponsorship and illuminating recent debates regarding the language,
identity, gender, and social commitments of various authors and
their works. His introduction concludes with a bibliography of key
The second half of the volume is an alphabetical tour of
writers, publications, concepts, genres, movements, and
institutions, with suggested readings for further research. Entries
focus primarily on fiction but also touch on drama and poetry.
Featured authors include Chris Abani, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda
Ngozi Adichie, Cyprian Ekwensi, Uzodinma Chukuka Iweala, Helen
Oyeyemi, and Wole Soyinka. Topics range from the European origins
of African literature and the West African diaspora to the
development of an "African personality," the establishment of a
regional publishing industry, and the global literary marketplace.
Owomoyela also discusses such influences as the postwar emergence
of Onitsha Market Literature, the Mbari Club, and the importance of
the Noma Award.
Owomoyela's portrait points to the major impact of West African
literature on the evolution of both African and world literatures
in English. Sure to become the definitive text for research in the
field, The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English
Since 1945 is a vital resource for newcomers as well as for
advanced scholars seeking a deeper understanding of the region's
rich literary heritage.
Subjects: Language & Literature, History
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