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Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel
     

Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel

by Esi Sutherland-Addy (Editor), Aminata Diaw (Editor), Abena P. A. Busia (Editor)
 

The acclaimed Women Writing Africa Project continues with the second volume of Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel. Drawing upon more than a decade of research, West Africa and the Sahel covers the territory where most African Americans find their roots.

The collection encompasses an epic cultural history through the voices

Overview


The acclaimed Women Writing Africa Project continues with the second volume of Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel. Drawing upon more than a decade of research, West Africa and the Sahel covers the territory where most African Americans find their roots.

The collection encompasses an epic cultural history through the voices of women represented in twenty languages spoken in an area encompassing twelve countries. Beginning with African kingdoms dating six centuries or more before colonialism and independence, the volume gathers 132 texts—stories, songs, letters, drama, oral history, diaries, and historical documents—each with a readable authoritative headnote explaining its cultural and historical contexts. A general introduction provides an overview of West African cultural and literary history, including the brilliant and diverse traditions of women’s oral literatures.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The diverse writings presented here will prove to be invaluable not only to students and scholars, but to readers with a curiosity about the historical and cultural legacy of African women. . . . The editors of this book sought to provide a more complete and robust portrait of Africa and African women. They have . . . recover[ed] the lost voices of African women and, as a consequence, have restored their rich cultural and historic legacies." —Foreword Reviews

"Some of these texts are full of celebration and some of powerful emotions; all evoke powerful imagery. Both the texts and the headnotes are fascinating to read, and the reader is truly gripped by the passion and emotion of the writers. This anthology provides an epic tale of African history while highlighting African women's valuable contributions to their culture and bringing their voices to life for readers everywhere. Highly recommended." —Library Journal

"The most significant heroes in this book are the scores of African feminist scholars who worked for over a decade to produce their reading of African history. . . . We are lucky to have Women Writing Africa." —Women's Review of Books

"The first two of four volumes in the Women Writing Africa Project, these books address significant voids in the African literary canon. . . . As these volumes attest, although history has subdued and ignored the cultural meditations of African women, the women themselves have not been silent. Summing up: Essential. All readers; all levels." —Choice

A "splendid resource . . . ranging from wedding songs and work songs to letters, prison diaries, poetry, memoir and recent testimony. . . . The famous are here . . . but most of the voices are new. . . . The authoritative, readable introductory notes to each selection provide essential background and biography. . . . [T]he focus always is on how [the context] affects the daily life of people." —Booklist

"An amazing resource." —New York Times Book Review

"Esesential. . . . A rich resource for scholars and general readers alike. . . . [These] texts are rich, evocative, and shaped by endless complexities." —Library Journal

"One volume cannot fill [the void], but the editors have made a beginning, created a place where the voices of all sorts of African women can be heard. Some are urgent, powerful, and contemporary, some remote and small, fading into the wind with lost languages and vanished cultures; but even they can say, like the woman who sang the giraffe song, 'I almost died but instead lived.'" —New York Review of Books

Library Journal
This second of four volumes representing the literary expression of African women focuses on 12 West African nations, documenting the history of this expression since upward of six centuries before colonialism and 20th-century independence. Editors Sutherland-Addy (language, literature, & drama, Inst. for African Studies, Univ. of Ghana) and Diaw (philosophy, Univ. Cheikh Anta Kiop in Dakar, Senegal) have compiled 132 texts accompanied by head notes by eminent authors (e.g., Buchi Emecheta, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Bernadette Dao Sanou) to explain their cultural and historical contexts. These texts showcase not just the written word-in the form of letters, diaries, historical documents-but the spoken word as well, in lullabies, songs, and other oral traditions. Some of these texts are full of celebration and some of powerful emotions; all evoke powerful imagery. Both the texts and the head notes are fascinating to read, and the reader is truly gripped by the passion and emotion of the writers. This anthology provides an epic tale of African history while highlighting African women's valuable contributions to their culture and bringing their voices to life for readers everywhere. Highly recommended.-Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558615014
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Series:
Women Writing Africa Series
Pages:
560
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Esi Sutherland-Addy (Ph.D. Hon, Hon FCP) is senior research fellow, head of the Language, Literature, and Drama Section, Institute of African Studies, and associate director of the African Humanties Institue Program at the University of Ghana. Aminata Diaw teaches in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Sénégal, where she is currently the public affairs director of the Centre for Cultural and Scientific Programs. She is also Secretary General of the Sénégalese Council of Women and Chair for the subcommittee on Humanities and Social Sciences of the National Commission of UNESCO.

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