Articles Tagged “Africa ”

Dispatches: African Literature in Translation

by Geoff Wisner, January 30, 2009

In the course of writing my book A Basket of Leaves, I looked for books that told the best stories I could find about each of the fifty-four countries in Africa. They included novels, short story collections, memoirs, travel and adventure tales, and even some poetry. About half of the books I chose were… more »

Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane

by Geoff Wisner, February 12, 2009

Not long ago my partner Jenn and I were visited by a couple we first met in Brooklyn, but who later moved to Paris. John is a jazz trombonist from Montana. Ana is a Parisian actress and translator from a Portuguese family. Before they said goodbye, Ana looked over my bookcases, picked out a small, seemingly… more »

Three-week Arabic Arts Festival at Kennedy Center

by David Varno, February 23, 2009

Tomorrow, February 23rd, marks the beginning of a massive three-week festival of Arabic arts and culture at the Kennedy Center in D.C., titled Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World. This will, by far, be the largest Arabic festival ever held on U.S. shores. Aside from music, dance and film, and in the midst… more »

Tayeb Salih 1929–2009

by Geoff Wisner, February 23, 2009

Tayeb Salih was the most eminent writer from the largest country in Africa, yet as Leonard Lopate pointed out last year on a radio program called Underappreciated, his work was barely known in the U.S. He died in London around dawn on February 18, after suffering from a kidney ailment. He was said to… more »

Dispatches: Aya by Marguerite Abouet

by Geoff Wisner, February 27, 2009

Aya, written by Marguerite Abouet and illustrated by the French artist Clément Oubrerie, is a lively and colorful glimpse of life in Ivory Coast in the late 1970s, a time when the country was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and the capital Abidjan was earning its title as the Paris of Africa.… more »

Dispatches: On the 100th Issue of Transition magazine

by Geoff Wisner, March 2, 2009

The 100th issue of Transition magazine just arrived in my mailbox: a milestone I wasn't sure it would reach. From the time of its revival in 1991 until now, Transition has been an essential resource for readers interested in the culture of Africa and the African diaspora. If you can read and support… more »

Dispatches: Season of Migration to the North

by Geoff Wisner, March 12, 2009

In a recent post I wrote about the passing of Tayeb Salih, author of Season of Migration to the North. Here's what I wrote about that book in A Basket of Leaves: Season of Migration to the North is a brief, graceful, and powerful novel about the collision of cultures, and the destructive potential of… more »

An Athenian Story…from Nigeria

by Gazmend Kapllani, March 13, 2009

As part of our Greek offerings this month, we're featuring a number of pieces written by Gazmand Kapllani, an extract from whose Short Border Handbook is available on WWB. The pieces all deal with the immigrant experience in today's Athens, one of the most diverse cities in southern Europe. I started… more »

An Athenian Story from…the Alexandra Birth Clinic

by Gazmend Kapllani, March 31, 2009

This is the fifth and final installment in a series of "Athenian Stories" from Gazmend Kapllani as a complement to our Greek issue this month. In these short dispatches, Kapllani documents the experience of immigrants living in Athens, one of the most diverse cities in southern Europe. Links are available… more »

Dispatches: Updike on Africa, Part II

by Geoff Wisner, April 23, 2009

My book A Basket of Leaves covers the 54 countries in Africa by way of 99 books, which is barely enough. I had originally planned to include some books that deal with more than one country, like Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth or Water Music by T. Coraghessan Boyle (a wonderful reimagining of Mungo Park's… more »

Dispatches: Machete Season by Jean Hatzfeld

by Geoff Wisner, May 14, 2009

In the New Yorker recently, Philip Gourevitch published a follow-up article to his book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families (my review). In it, he explored what is sometimes seen as a nearly miraculous exercise in Christian forgiveness: the fact that in villages across… more »

Dispatches: The 2nd Pan-African Culture Festival in Algiers

by Thomas Burke, July 23, 2009

Walking through the hotel lobby two hours before the concert, Malian singer-songwriter Salif Keita seemed to be on another plane of existence—when approached by dignitaries, fans and fellow musicians, Mr. Keita, wearing matching white pants, shirt and kufi cap, appeared unable to do much beyond… more »

Dispatches: Shadows of Your Black Memory

by Geoff Wisner, November 27, 2009

Shadows of Your Black Memory is a rarity -- a novel from the tiny West African nation of Equatorial Guinea. Of Africa’s three Guineas -- Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea -- Equatorial Guinea is the smallest at 28,000 square kilometers, about the size of Massachusetts. It is also the… more »

Translate This Book!

by Geoff Wisner, January 7, 2010

Perhaps it’s unnecessary to draw attention to Translate This Book! at The Quarterly Conversation — after all, The New Yorker has already done so — but I wanted to point out two African volumes in the list: Aynfelale or “Let Us Not Separate,” written by Alemseged Tesfai and… more »

Smara: The Forbidden City

by Geoff Wisner, January 15, 2010

Image of Smara: The Forbidden City
Listening to NPR over breakfast last month, I was surprised to hear a story from Western Sahara, a country that doesn’t make the news very often. Formerly a colony of Spain and occupied since 1976 by Morocco, Western Sahara doesn’t take up much space on the bookshelf. Yet it is the focus… more »

Algerian White

by Geoff Wisner, February 4, 2010

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Assia Djebar is a fiction writer, filmmaker, professor -- currently at NYU -- and a regular contender for the Nobel Prize in literature. She is known in the US for her novel So Vast the Prison and the story collection Women of Algiers in Their Apartment. Another collection, published in French as Oran,… more »

God’s Bits of Wood

by Geoff Wisner, February 23, 2010

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Though better known in his later years as a film director, Sembène Ousmane (1923-2007) staked an early claim as one of Africa’s finest novelists. God’s Bits of Wood, first published in 1960 and translated from the French by Francis Price, is not only one of the best novels to have… more »

Transition 103 goes to Cape Verde

by Geoff Wisner, December 2, 2010

Image of Transition 103 goes to Cape Verde
Most of the latest issue of the magazine Transitionis devoted to the art and literature of Cape Verde, the drought-stricken archipelago, once a colony of Portugal, that lies some 350 miles off the west coast of Africa. The hundred-odd pages in the Cabo Verde section of the issue were assembled by Carla… more »

Illustrating Conflict: Perspectives from FIBDA

by Canan Marasligil, December 6, 2011

Under the heading "Algiers, Bubbles without Frontiers," this year's International Comics Festival of Algiers (Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Alger, or FIBDA) provides an important space for discussions and works around history, war, and conflict. I previously wrote about… more »

A Memoir Disguised as a Novel

by Geoff Wisner, April 6, 2012

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Harper Perennial, which reissued A Life Full of Holes in 2008, describes it on the cover as “the first novel ever written in the Arabic dialect Moghrebi.” Yet there is more than a little doubt as to whether it is a novel at all. A Life Full of Holes was told to Paul Bowles in Moghrebi by… more »

Support the Publication of Geoff Wisner’s “African Lives”

by Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren, August 1, 2012

Image of Support the Publication of Geoff Wisner’s “African Lives”
Words without Borders is pleased to announce that writer, editor, and WWB contributor Geoff Wisner's second book, African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies, will be appearing next spring from Lynne Rienner Publishers.   The book will include more than 40 selections… more »

“Friendship is a religion”

by Geoff Wisner, November 6, 2012

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Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in the city of Fès in 1944. He attended an Arabic-French elementary school, studied French in Tangier until the age of eighteen, then studied philosophy and wrote his first poems at Mohammed V University in Rabat. He is best known for his novels The Sand Child and The… more »

PEN World Voices Festival As It Happened: “African Poets: The New Generation”

by Bonnie Chau, May 9, 2015

On Thursday evening at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, an eager crowd settled in to hear a discussion about Eight New-Generation African Poets, a box set of chapbooks just released last month. Although editor Chris Abani had been unexpectedly waylaid and was unable to make the event, editor Kwame Dawes was… more »

PEN World Voices Festival As It Happened: “In and Out of Africa”

by Geoff Wisner, May 10, 2015

Photo: Molly Leon/PEN American Center Regular attendees at PEN World Voices know that the advertised theme of a panel may have little relation with what you end up hearing from the participants. The more participants there are, the more this may be true. “In and Out of Africa,” held… more »