Best known for his reflections on his experience as an openly gay Black man in white America, his novels, essays and poetry make him a social critic who shared the pain and struggle of Black Americans. Born in Harlem inBaldwin caught the attention of fellow writer Richard Wright who helped him secure a grant in order to support himself as a writer.
We also read ourselves in the books we read, or at least in those books that we cherish. For this reason, one of my resolutions was to return African women writers a favourite pastime, namely reading fiction. There are others that I could have included, the choice is entirely unsystematic.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — Even before reading Americanah, there were two things prone to make me love it. Instead, I kept finding myself stopping to consider whether I related to her blogging experiences. However, she is not ideological, she does not intend to be any of these things, she simply loves herself and questions the ways her society denies women self fulfilment.
If a woman sneezed in my country, someone would call her a feminist. And should there be? Her coming of age story in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise, often felt like reading my own thoughts. I followed her fictional world often through an all too familiar lens, equally heartbreaking as funny.
To thank, or blame, depending on how you look at it, was a university professor a white, African women writers one, coincidentally whose course, Gender Representations in Media, I was taking.
His lectures on feminism left me eternally transformed.
Rereading it now has brought three insights: We simply hopefully become more aware of it with time. I say this because despite that it had been twenty years since I read Sula, much of it had stuck with me.
But her life also serves as a warning, of what may happen when the heterosexual, patriarchal order is defied and a woman goes from sex object to sex subject, and; 3 that Toni Morrison is everything.
Here is a book with beautiful, jazzy sentences that jump at all your senses. I found myself needing to pause: Which is the point. Nothing reveals this binding trait of humanness more than the way mundanity exists alongside the atrocity of war. To live, and be determined to live despite having the odds against you, is both a mark of struggle and of victory.
So we accepted to go there, with the only condition being that we should respond as writers — not like the many journalists or historians who dealt with the genocide, but in our capacity as pure writers. It was a slow, dream-like read, ushered not so much by the events and characters as by the language in it.
However, the language is jerkingly lucid, and the novel is an odyssey of discovery of a country — Sierra Leone — in post-independence giddiness juxtaposed with post-war dystopia. The Memory of Love is, amongst other things, a story that arouses reflections on African independence, conflict and most of all the borders, both of nations as of love.
I read it tempted to attempt to find similarities in all these terminologically diverse yet emotionally related spaces. What similarities exist between the fragmentation of our hearts as of our maps? However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that trying to place love in any theoretical frame can only result in imperfect conclusions.
So I have not got to the part of the book where the quote I want to end this blogpost with is located. Look at the children of the land leaving in droves, leaving their own land with bleeding wounds on their bodies and shock on their faces and blood in their hearts and hunger in their stomachs and grief in their footsteps.
Leaving their mothers and fathers and children behind, leaving their umbilical cords underneath the soil, leaving the bones of their ancestors in the earth, leaving everything that makes them who and what they are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay. They will never be the same again because you cannot be the same once you leave behind who and what you are, you just cannot be the same.
Have you read any of these books?Just ahead of Africa Writes – quite possibly the UK’s largest celebration of African books and literature, we teamed up with the Bookshy Blogger’s Zahrah Nessbit-Ahmed to compile a list of 50 books by African women writers that we think everyone should read – before they die.
25 New Books by African Writers You Should Read Tahar Ben Jelloun, A. Igoni Barrett, Yaa Gyasi, and many more. African Women in Literature. Dialogues. Notes.
Links. Teaching. Citations. African women writers are just beginning to come into their own, but they are facing many obstacles along the way. This page presents some of those challenges as well as exploring many themes African women writers share.
Top. Born in Nigeria in , Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is part of a new generation of African writers taking the literary world by storm. Adichie’s works are primarily character-driven, interweaving the background of her native Nigeria and social and political events into the narrative.
Just ahead of Africa Writes – quite possibly the UK’s largest celebration of African books and literature, we teamed up with the Bookshy Blogger’s Zahrah Nessbit-Ahmed to compile a list of 50 books by African women writers that we think everyone should read – .
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a 19th century African American woman writer and abolitionist, was born to a free black family in a slave state, Maryland. Frances Watkins Harper became a teacher, an anti-slavery activist, and a writer and poet.