Gods and Soldiers : The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-01
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)

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A one-of-a-kind collection showcasing the energy of new African literature Coming at a time when Africa and African writers are in the midst of a remarkable renaissance, Gods and Soldierscaptures the vitality and urgency of African writing today. With stories from northern Arabic-speaking to southern Zulu-speaking writers, this collection conveys thirty different ways of approaching what it means to be African. Whether about life in the new urban melting pots of Cape Town and Luanda, or amid the battlefield chaos of Zimbabwe and Somalia, or set in the imaginary surreal landscapes born out of the oral storytelling tradition, these stories represent a striking cross section of extraordinary writing. Including works by J. M. Coetzee, Chimamanda Adichie, Nuruddin Farah, Binyavanga Wainaina, and Chinua Achebe, and edited by Rob Spillman of Tin Housemagazine, Gods and Soldiersfeatures many pieces never before published, making it a vibrant and essential glimpse of Africa as it enters the twenty-first century.

Author Biography

Rob Spillman is editor and cofounder of Tin House, a bicoastal literary magazine, executive editor of Tin House Books, and cofounder of the Tin House Literary Festival. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, and Salon, among others.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Rob Spillman
Map of Africa

West Africa


Chinua Achebe ♦ Nigeria
"The African Writer and the English Language"


Helon Habila ♦ Nigeria

Mohammed Naseehu Ali ♦ Ghana
"The Manhood Test"

Chris Abani ♦ Nigeria
from Becoming Abigail

E. C. Osondu ♦ Nigeria
"Voice of America"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ♦ Nigeria
from Half of a Yelllow Sun

Francophone Africa


Patrice Nganang ♦ Cameroon
"The Senghor Complex"


Alain Mabanckou ♦Republic of Congo
from Broken Glass

Fatou Diome ♦ Senegal
from The Belly of the Atlantic

Boubacar Boris Diop ♦ Senegal
from Murambi, The Book of Bones

North Africa


Laila Lalami ♦ Morocco
"The Politics of Reading"


Nawal El Saadawi ♦ Egypt
from Woman at Point Zero

Mohamed Magani ♦ Algeria
from The Butcher's Aesthetic

Aziz Chouaki ♦ Algeria
from The Star of Algiers

Leila Aboulela ♦ Sudan

East Africa


Binyavanga Wainaina ♦ Kenya
from Discovering Home


Ngugi wa Thiong'o ♦ Kenya
from Wizard of the Crow

Doreen Baingana ♦ Uganda
"Christianity Killed the Cat"

Nuruddin Farah ♦ Somalia
from Knots

Abdourahman A. Waberi ♦ Djibouti
from The United States of Africa

Former Portuguese Colonies


Mia Couto ♦ Mozambique
"Languages We Don't Know We Know"


Ondjaki ♦ Angola

Jose Eduardo Agualusa ♦ Angola
from The Book of Chameleons

Southern Africa


J. M. Coetzee ♦ South Africa
"The Memoirs of Breyten Breytenbach"


Yvonne Vera ♦ Zimbabwe
"Dead Swimmers"

Niq Mhlongo ♦ South Africa
from Dog Eat Dog

Nadine Gordimer ♦ South Africa
"A Beneficiary"

Marlene van Niekerk ♦ South Africa
from Agaat

Zakes Mda ♦ South Africa
from Ways of Dying

Ivan Vladislavic ♦ South Africa

Biographical Notes

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