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Friday, 27 July 2012

Future Release - African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies

African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies will be published in March 2013. Here's a synopsis: 

African Lives lets Africans speak for themselves - telling stories of struggle and achievement that have the authenticity of lived experience. The anthology presents selections from the work of many of Africa's finest writers and most significant personalities from across the continent spanning several centuries. Enhancing the material, Geoff Wisner's introduction and biographical notes provide important context for the selections and also highlight the challenges that African memoirs pose to the preconceptions of Western readers. The result is a book that is both an absorbing read and a valuable resource for courses on Africa.

North, West, East, Central and Southern Africa are all covered in this anthology and looking at the partial contents, there are a few of the memoirs that I have on my shelf (Aminatta Forna's The Devil That Danced on Water, Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone, and Binyavanga Wainanina's One Day I Will Write About This Place), many I'd love to read (Nawal El Saadawi's A Daughter of Isis, Leila Abouzeid's Return to Childhood, Emmanuel Dongala's Hollywood, Pirated Videos and Child Soldiers), and ones I've never even heard of but would still love to read (Emilie Ruete's Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, Jamal Mahjoub's Salamanca, and James R. Mancham's Paradise Raped). 

African Lives might just be the first book of its kind - permission fees make doing this pretty difficult - and I wait in anticipation for its release. To find out more, check out  Geoff Wisner's Peerbackers page (the project needs support towards the cost of permission for some of the works by some amazing African writers), as well as his Twitter and Facebook pages.

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