African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies is now available online and in bookstores. This collection features pieces written by authors from across the African continent and spanning several centuries. As editor Geoff Wisner says in his introduction, the book can be read straight through or by skipping around:
“The selections are arranged to follow the map of Africa as
you would read a page in a book: top to bottom and left to right, beginning
with North Africa and continuing through West Africa, Central
Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. Within each region, the selections
are in alphabetical order by country. Within each country, they are
arranged chronologically, according to the date of the events described.
By a happy accident, African Lives begins in childhood, with Mohammed
Dib’s memories of growing up in Algeria. It ends in maturity and exile, on
a note of leave-taking, as Chenjerai Hove writes to his mother in Zimbabwe
from his new home in Norway. Between these two voices, I hope you will
find many more to challenge, inspire, and enlighten you.”
This is such a wonderful book, and together with my co-translator, Antoine Bargel, I am delighted to make three newly translated pieces available to the anglophone world: Yasmina Khadra’s The Writer (excerpt); Christian Dumoux’ Childhood in Madagascar (excerpt); Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Fraternal Bond (excerpt).