Seven African Writers

Seven African Writers

Seven African Writers

Seven African Writers

Excerpt

The limitations of this book had better be explained at the outset. I do not pretend that the seven writers discussed here are necessarily the best among modern African authors. But they do have the advantage of being relatively accessible to the reader whose interest may lead him to search out their books. Three of them write in English, and the four who write in French have all had a considerable proportion of their best work translated into English. The same cannot unfortunately be said of other equally distinguished writers of French-speaking Africa. Similarly, the many excellent poets of Portuguese Africa are still inaccessible to those who do not read that language. It will be more profitable to write of them when a greater proportion of Africa's best writing has been published in translation for the English reader.

The word 'African' has also been interpreted in what some may regard as a restrictive sense. For the purposes of this book it means black Africans. Northern Africa is a separate literary area altogether, belonging to the Islamic and Arabic world; Southern Africa has produced many excellent white and coloured writers whose fame is already established. The aim of this book is to make known things which have been largely neglected, whereas writers like Nadine Gordimer, William Plomer and Peter Abrahams are in no need of introduction to the English-speaking public.

Again, these seven writers have all produced a considerable body of work (except David Diop, who was killed soon after he reached thirty) and have all chosen to address an international audience by writing in one of the great world lan-

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