Articles tagged "Africa"


Cyarwa cya nyarwaya

Cyarwa is the birthplace of my mother. She left when she was two years old and came back when she was forty, accompanied by her older brother. This poem is the story of their return after years of shared…...

Poor Grandpa!

I never wanted to remember at all, let alone write about, what transpired when I took a walk with Grandpa to the sprawling Kariobangi slum area, that part of the slum known as Korogocho. I didn’t…...

“Friendship is a religion”

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…...

The Beginning and End of the Oil Curse?

Why does oil wealth so often become a curse for developing states?  In the developing world, oil-producing states are fifty percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats, and more than twice as likely…...

When Can We Be Sane?

We reel shamelessly in joyful shrillness For the gloomy glimmer of blinking lights Nursing our failing consciences In the cold slab of childish ego   I remember Coleridge’s sea  Without…...

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…...

A Memoir Disguised as a Novel

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…...

Illustrating Conflict: Perspectives from FIBDA

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…...

from “Passage of Tears”

[Translators’ note: This excerpt, taken almost entirely from the first chapter, presents one voice in a polyphonic novel. The other main voice is that of this narrator’s twin brother, a fanatic…...

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…...

God’s Bits of Wood

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…...

Algerian White

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…...

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…...

Translate This Book!

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…...

Dispatches: Shadows of Your Black Memory

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…...

French


Rwanda: The Flame of Hope

1 The sunny side of life Recently one evening, as trails of ochre tinged with mauve kept stretching late into the sky of Mantua, I found myself face to face with Predrag Matvejević, the writer from…...

From “Mezzanine”

The pages that follow were found by me in a sorry state of disorder, amidst a number of other worthless papers, spotted with tropical mildew, ready for the fire, in the basement of a bookstore where I…...

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

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,…...

Dispatches: Machete Season by Jean Hatzfeld

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…...

Dispatches: Updike on Africa, Part II

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…...

An Athenian Story from…the Alexandra Birth Clinic

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…...

An Athenian Story…from Nigeria

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…...

Dispatches: Season of Migration to the North

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,…...

Dispatches: On the 100th Issue of Transition magazine

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…...

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