Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, The Rise of the African Novel in English and accompanying costs

«My lecture will center around the 1962 Makerere University “Conference of African Writers of English Expression” and how and why colonially educated African writers and critics privileged the English-language African novel. And how in the course of doing so created an African literary aesthetic that erased early writing in African languages while celebrating an English only consensus. This is therefore also a lecture on the accompanying costs to the African literary tradition as subsequent generations of writers and critics worked mostly from the African Novel in English Only consensus.

The African novel was also central in cementing a much-needed Pan-African identity in decolonization. As Simon Gikandi argued in his essay “Chinua Achebe and the Invention of African Culture” there was a “consensus that Things Fall Apart was important for the marking and making of that exciting first decade of decolonization” (4) and it gave symbol and substance to a Pan-African identity. While recognizing the importance of the Achebe generation in the African literary tradition, I will challenge that narrowing of the identities of both the African novel and writer in what I call the Makerere consensus. I will call for both an African literary criticism and tradition that embraces its history of writing in African languages and for a broader African identity that is historically diasporic and presently transnational.»


Conferência Internacional

20 de Maio de 2022


Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa

sala C250 

International Conference

May 20th, 2022


School of Arts and Humanities

University of Lisbon

room C250


19.05.2022 | by arimildesoares | conferência, FLUL, he Rise of the African Novel in English and accompanying costs, Mukoma Wa Ngugi