African Women Writing Diaspora: Transnational Perspectives in the Twenty-First Century examines contemporary fiction by African women authors to resonate diaspora perspectives on what it means to be African within transnational spaces. Through a critical lens, the collection interrogates the ways in which women construct new ways of telling the African story in the global age of social, economic, and political transformation. African Women Writing Diaspora illustrates that for African women, life in the diaspora is an uncharted journey across new landscapes of identity beyond Africa’s borders as a unifying theme. The fictional works analyzed represent the leading women writers who dominate the African literary canon, and the contributors explore diverse themes of immigrant life, racialized identities, and otherness within transnational spaces of the west.
Rose A. Sackeyfio is associate professor of English in the Department of Liberal Studies at Winston-Salem State University.
Rose A. Sackeyfio
Chapter 1: Memory, Identity, and Return in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing
Chapter 2: Malian Immigration in France: Perspectives from African Women Writers of French Expression
Chapter 3: Waithood and Girlhood in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names
Chapter 4: Sexuality, Self-Actualization, and Mobility in Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon and Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street
Chapter 5: Transnational African Women as Voices of Conscience: Aidoo's Our Sister Killjoy, Adichie's Americanah and Atta's A Bit of Difference
Chapter 6: Local and Global Perspectives on Nigerian Women’s Activism in News from Home by Sefi Atta
Chapter 7: Breaking Mythical Barriers through a Feminist Engagement with Magical Realism
Conclusion: Shifting the Boundaries of African Women’s Writing
African Women Writing Diaspora is one of the emerging books on the critical study of the fictional works of three generations of African women writers whose imaginative creativity has been shaped by their African homeland and African diasporic experiences. In seven chapters, experts in Anglophone and Francophone African literature, literary criticism, and rhetoric present refreshingly engaging and compelling critical narratives of the works of Chimamanda Adichie, Sefi Atta, No Violet Bulawayo, Amma Darko, Yaa Gyasi, Nnedi Okorafor, and Chika Unigwe, who through their transcontinental gaze as diaspora subjects, rooted in multiple identities, cultures, languages and localities, continuously push the boundaries of African literature by creating new frontiers of complex and dynamic diaspora, Afrofuturistic, and fantasy literatures grounded in feminist energies, and arouse critical inquiry into the changing nature of the genre.
The book insightfully presents the intersectionality of race, class, gender, local and global realities that shaped the writers’ and other African women’s diaspora experiences within multicontinental settings and increasing economic, social, and political transformation. It interrogates the complexities of diverse ways of being African in the globalized world through the works of third generation African female writers who negotiate survival, vulnerability, subalternity, subjectivity, marginality, otherness, unfolding multiple sites of cultural hybridity, racial inequality, economic adversity, and other barriers to equality, employment, and legal status; and also (re)present the sophistication, oppositional consciousness, and the agency of African women within Africa and the globe. This is an important contribution to African literature, African Diaspora literature, feminist studies, science-fiction, and literary criticisms.
It is no exaggeration to claim that without women writers there would be no twenty-first century African literature. Indeed, African women writers have held their own not only on the continent, but also on the world stage. Their writing, however, has yet to attract requisite scholarly attention, especially from Africa-descended scholars. African Women Writing Diaspora is a much-needed welcome critical assessment of these works. Central to these women’s writing are their transcultural and transnational connections and identity interrogations, and the articles in this collection do a great job to examine these. I recommend it.