Editor on The James Currey Anthology 2022 (Paperback Release Sept 2022)



As the 2022 James Currey Fellow at the University of Oxford, I was given the privilege of editing an anthology of short stories and essays, to be launched in paperback only on September 3rd at the The James Currey Literary Festival. ❤️📖🔥

BACK COVER:

In the spirit of James Currey, with his work bringing African writers and their stories to the world, the James Currey Anthology showcases a broad range of literary work, with contributors hailing from Botswana to Nigeria, Ghana to South Africa – writing from the Continent or in the diaspora.

These writers transport us into their world today, or in the past, some feeling the effects of love clashing with prejudice; or the devastating portrayal of a lived experience witnessing the terror of tribalism. While historical fiction, used well, gives us perspectives which have long been side-lined in favour of a certain, one-sided narrative. Reflections on parenting and ageing; the intensity and torment of relationships, and toxic environments; the magical, the speculative. Along with grief and rage, and defying the gods!


THE CONTRIBUTORS (Alphabetical Order)

C. S. Hadebe 

Bontsi Z. Kennedy, nee Morewane 

Ifunanya Madufor 

Gothataone Moeng 

Majini Ya Mombasa 

Nzube Nlebedim 

Mbaeze Nnedimma 

Cheryl S. Ntumy 

N. A. Ntumy 

Lynn Nyaera Onywere 

Maxine Sibihwana

Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike 



Editor’s Introduction (excerpt)

 

You only have to drive from ǁHuiǃgaeb to Tshwane, to understand that Africa is made up of a myriad beliefs, languages and traditions. It is not a single monolith. Likewise, pick up Bessie Head’s Maru and you will understand that African Literature often combines multiple genres, defying pigeonholing.


Coming from a speculative fiction background, I have learned the distinction between genres, and, over the years, my idea of African literature, as a whole, has shifted immensely. It may not be the same for everyone else, but when I speak of African Literature, I hold within that phrase the literary, the romance, the speculative, the horror, the historical and the magical. Why? Because many of our classics combine all of these in a single work. To such a degree that I would not know how to categorise many of them. And for me, this is what makes our work so unique – our worldview. We take for granted that in a moment, something magical can seamlessly occur within a narrative: a character may call on their gods for aid, consult an isangoma for guidance on their future, or step into the afterlife (and return). These play out, like just another day in Durban, without any neon sign above to say this is magical realism, or this is fantasy or literary.


African Writer Series is testament to this. The work of the Heinemann team and most importantly, the vast amount of works published during James Currey’s tenure, span the gamut of genres, themes and time periods. Though not as visible as the literary royalty he helped publish, James Currey has had an immense impact on African literature.






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