Luna's second Call for Papers, 'The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction' will be released on Tuesday the 7th of August 2018. Explore the five brilliant papers you will find in the book.
Today, we introduce you to Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso (Nigeria). He is presenting the paper: "The Dangers of Expectation in African Speculative Fiction".
"It was the 1960’s. Chinua Achebe published his ground-breaking novel, Things Fall Apart, and there was a buzz about African literature globally. Writers like Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Bessie Head, Flora Nwakpa followed suit. The critics turned to them with a question: now that African literature had emerged, what was the world’s expectation of this tradition? Achebe and co. then laid down the foundations of the boundaries that this new novel tradition would cover. It was to teach people who Africans really were, especially the West, who had construed Africans as salvagers. It was to be used to fight colonialism and neo- colonialism. Subsequently, African writers wrote to fit into this model. But this expectation had its pitfalls. Majorly, it constrained African literature from developing and growing into different sophisticated styles, themes, and genres. Helen Andrews articulated it thus:
"African novel-writing has scarcely progressed since he (Chinua Achebe) inaugurated it with the celebrated Things Fall Apart. In the decades since that title was published [...] the American novel has evolved through a multitude of vogues and phases while the Anglophone African novel has, for the most part, remained as it was when Achebe launched it: unremarkable in its prose, flat in its characterization, anti-Western in its politics, and preoccupied with the confrontation between tradition and modernity." (Andrews, 2017).
Recently, there was a shift that occurred in African literature which led currently to the growth of genre fiction in Africa. But what led to this shift? This essay will trace the history of that rise, hinting at what had held African literature to ransom and from growing for quite a long time, and especially on the damage of the “expectation syndrome”. It will theorise on the pitfalls that African genre fiction would tend to avoid if it is to avoid its growth being ground to a standstill."
As always, you will be able to pre-order at a discount through the Luna website, and if you are subscribed to our newsletter, you will also get the special extra discount voucher on the 1st of July.