A first time visitor, Craig Brazier, left the following comment on this blog’s About page:
“I stumbled upon your blog while reading articles on Saramago. Very pleasantly surprised. I’ll be sticking around for a while. As a Canadian guy from Toronto, I have absolutely NO idea where to start with African women writers, as we don’t hear a whole lot about them over here (nice to see you have our Alice Munro on your nightstand). What, in your opinion, would be a good jumping-off point?”
Thank you, Craig. It’s a very good question. I’ve thought about this ‘good jumping-off point’ for a while now. Nay, I’ve obsessed about the ‘point’, not wanting to limit it to just one book. That would be risky and besides, one book is no fun at all!
I’ve decided to answer Craig’s question with a syllabus for a university course titled Introduction to African Women Writers. The course covers fiction, is regionally representative and provides a good breadth of themes.
Here’s the list:
- Distant View of a Minaret by Alifa Rifaat
- Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
- July’s People by Nadine Gordimer
- Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
- No Sweetness Here and Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo
- On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie
- So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba
- The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
- The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
- Tropical Fish: Tales from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana
- Women of Algiers in Their Apartment by Assia Djebar
This is just an overview in case anyone is wondering about certain absences from this list. Presumably there are other courses with their own lists somewhere on this blog. I’m having too much fun, huh?
Craig, enjoy reading one, three or all of the books on this list.
(If anyone is interested, I think this is the post that brought Craig to Kinna Reads: Saramago’s Best Five)
Now does anyone else want to take this course?