Friday, November 4, 2011

iDebate: Are We Writing in Africa?

Emma Iduma asks in Mantle
"The question this piece primarily addresses is whether or not we are writing in Africa (especially writing in the English language). The answer is a simple, yet complicated yes. It is simple because, indeed, we are putting pen to paper, and fingers to keyboard. There is evidence of this on the Internet – the growing number of platforms, including online journals, Facebook groups and networking sites. Yet it is a complicated yes because intra-African literary institutions are few, and insufficient. For instance, Nigeria, with over 150 million people, has less than five standard book publishers, less than five print literary journals, no grant-giving body, and few prizes.If we are writing in Africa the necessary corollary is that we are being published in Africa, by Africans, and for Africans (I am only interested in "Africa" as a geographical space, as a physical and territorial delimitation). This is not exactly the case, in a lot of ways, with only very few exceptions.It does not cost little to write in Africa; aside the fact that obvious glamour is not guaranteed to the young writer, there is the absence of intra-African visibility. The concerns, then, I propose, must shift from singular considerations of what is being written to pluralized considerations of how what is being written will be read, understood and contextualized."
Is Africa writing what she wants to write, the way she wants to write it? If she uses Western media, does it affect anything? Does it change the sound of her voice or the slant of her words? Is there a way Africa can be written? Tell me...

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