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I realize this is short notice but a couple of  appearances this week:

As  part of a 3-day celebration honoring Chinua Achebe, March 4-6, Wellesley College presents an evening of readings by contemporary Nigerian novelists Helon Habila and Sefi Atta, moderated by Newhouse Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Colin Channer.  The readings will be held on Thursday, March 4, at 7 pm in the Clapp Library Lecture Room.
More information here — Wellesley College Honors Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe with Three-Day Celebration March 4-6


Sefi Atta will also appear as a keynote speaker at A Feast of African Literature, Languages, Fine Arts, and Performance at the University of Kansas’ African Studies Center. Friday March 5, 2010 Kansas Room, KS Union 3:30 p.m.

I’d like to do a full profile of Sefi Atta sometime soon as she is one of my favorite authors, but I feel the need to provide just a bit of background here.

Nigerian-born Sefi Atta’s short stories have appeared in journals like Los Angeles Review and Mississipi Review and have won prizes from Zoetrope and Red Hen Press. Her radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC. She is the winner of PEN International’s 2004/2005 David TK Wong Prize and in 2006, her debut novel Everything Good Will Come was awarded the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.

Nigerian novelist says he resists the tag ‘very, very strongly’ because it obscures the role of many other writers.

To some degree, I agree with him. He states,

“It’s really a serious belief of mine that it’s risky for anyone to lay claim to something as huge and important as African literature … the contribution made down the ages. I don’t want to be singled out as the one behind it because there were many of us – many, many of us.”

It is a huge title to carry. True, his novel Things Fall Apart was essentially the one that set the stage for the world’s recognition of African literature. However, modern African literature, as we see it today, encompasses the contributions of so many.

I can imagine there are lots of opinions on this. What’s your take?

Read the article here.

Even Chinuachebea Achebe is getting on the African literary renaissance bandwagon! Alright, alright. I know. We’re talking about Chinua Achebe. He, the “grandfather of modern African literature,” needs no introduction and certainly no reason to jump on any bandwagon. But his publishing now, at this time should really give a boost to other African writers, shouldn’t it? I love it.

In October, the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart and winner of the Man Booker International Prize will release his first new book in more than 20 years, “The Education of a British-Protected Child,” a collection of old and recent essays that piece together the arc of his literary life. His story, and that of his native Nigeria, are closely entwined.

Chinua Achebe’s characteristically measured and nuanced voice is everywhere present in these seventeen beautifully written pieces. In a preface, he discusses his historic visit to his Nigerian homeland on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart, the story of his tragic car accident nearly twenty years ago, and the potent symbolism of President Obama’s election. In “The Education of a British-Protected Child,” Achebe gives us a vivid portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its “middle ground,” recalling both his happy memories of reading novels in secondary school and the harsher truths of colonial rule. In “Spelling Our Proper Name,” Achebe considers the African-American diaspora, meeting and reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, and learning what it means not to know “from whence he came.” The complex politics and history of Africa figure in “What Is Nigeria to Me?,” “Africa’s Tarnished Name,” and “Politics and Politicians of Language in African Literature.” And Achebe’s extraordinary family life comes into view in “My Dad and Me” and “My Daughters,” where we observe the effect of Christian missionaries on his father and witness the culture shock of raising “brown” children in America.

Charmingly personal, intellectually disciplined, and steadfastly wise, The Education of a British-Protected Child is an indispensable addition to the remarkable Achebe oeuvre.

Read about it here.