Welcome to the Africa Reading Challenge.
This will be the third time that I’m hosting the Africa Reading Challenge. Details and requirements are the same this year as for the 2012 Africa Reading Challenge, which started with: “I have absolutely no reason for hosting nor urging you to participate in this challenge save for the joy of discovering and reading African literature!” Here are the details:
January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015
The entire African continent, including its island-states, which are often overlooked. Please refer to this Wikipedia “list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa”. Pre-colonial empires and regions are also included.
5 books. That’s it. There will be no other levels. Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books. Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.
- Fiction – novels, short stories, poetry, drama, children’s books. Note: You can choose to read a number of individual and uncollected short stories. In this case, 12 such stories would constitute 1 book. Individual poems do not count but books of poetry do.
- Non-fiction – memoirs, autobiographies, history and current events
- Cover at least two regions, pick from North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Central Africa
- Include translated fiction from Arabic, Francophone and Lusophone literature
- You can mix classic and contemporary fiction
- If you are intend to read mostly non-fiction, then please include at least one book (out of the five) of fiction
I’m not inclined to push any reading philosophy, I would however like to encourage participants to broaden their knowledge of African literature. Broadly then: For the novice, if you have not read any African lit or if you’ve read one book (E.g. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart): I would advise a mix of at least two regions, two languages, classic and contemporary, with both men and women writers. A sample reading list could be:
- Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih (North Africa, Arabic, classic)
- Maps by Nuruddin Farah (East Africa)
- Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Southern Africa, contemporary)
- So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (West Africa, classic, Francophone)
- Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Southern Africa, contemporary, modern fantasy)
For the advanced reader of African literature: perhaps there is some gap (country, region, language, theme, gender) you want to fill or author(s) whose works you want to explore further? You could also, for example:
- Read only collection/anthologies of short stories
- Stick to the literary tradition of one country
- Explore literature written in African languages
- Read only Lusophone literature
- Explore the literature of contemporary South Africa
- Read the books of North African countries of the Arab Spring
- Read wherever the urge takes you!
My suggestions notwithstanding, the most important thing is to have fun and to explore Africa through books.
- Overlap with other challenges is allowed.
- E-books and audio books are allowed.
- There is no need to make a list beforehand. Although most of us love lists, don’t we?
To Sign up:
Leave a comment below to sign-up. You can list the books you intend to read if you’ve already decided. For those with blogs: write a post on your blog about the challenge (with or without your list) and link to this post.
Reviews and Completion of Challenge
Reviews of books read are not required but are encouraged especially for those with blogs. Please share your reviews with the rest of community the on Reviews Page. If you do not have a blog and would like to guest review on this blog, then please feel free to contact me. Likewise, completion posts are encouraged and you can share those on the Completion Page.
On Books and Reading Lists
Some classic African literature can be hard to find. Please check your libraries and use inter-library loans if you have access to such services. You will be able to do this challenge with the books currently available on the market. I will publish lists of reading materials under various themes until I tire of the process. Please contact me at kinnareadsATgmailDOTcom if you need any help.
- Ghanaian Literature Week – I have hosted this event for the past two years. So you could save your GhanaLit reads for then.
- Maybe a readalong or two. I will announce those in the coming months.
You can subscribe to this blog (see top of the right sidebar) to stay updated on this challenge. That’s it. Let’s enjoy reading for the 2015 Africa Reading Challenge.