African Letters

African Letters aims to present Africa's contemporary literary identity—especially as it relates to books, writers, publishing, and literary events—to a worldwide audience.


Thought Scores / 7

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Nguyễn Văn Lém on February 1, 1968 (Eddie Adams)

Thought Scores / 6

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Kiss (1935) by Man Ray

I

The first dream is of a dry kiss. Her lips touch mine but something does not pass in the process. It was a hesitant affair; we were waiting on the sidelines, waiting to be taught. I have failed to imagine how she looked at me afterwards. How dissatisfied were we?

I think now, we hadn’t been taught to kiss.

II

Thought Scores / 5

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Lonely Ones (1935) by Edvard Munch

“In traditional societies, everything that made sense of the world was real; the surrounding chaos existed and was threatening, but it was threatening because it was unreal. Without a home at the center of the real, one was not only shelterless, but also lost in non-being, in unreality. Without a home everything was fragmentation…

Thought Scores / 4

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

René Magritte's The False Mirror"(1928)

I have to be conscious that I am getting an American education, and this wasn’t an inevitable choice.

I ask my sister to ask my Dad to send the winter coat he had used in the early ‘90s.

Thought Scores / 3

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A member of Boko Haram poses with his gun (via)

I

Thought Scores / 1

Monday, November 11, 2013

The cover of Documents magazine (Issue 1, 1929)

 

I

Things I Might Conclude About Art Criticism

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monkeys as Judges of Art (1889) by Gabriel Cornelius von Max

 

1. Criticism is being involved

2. Criticism is an offering

3. Criticism is “a genre unto itself”1

4. Criticism “is crises”2

5. Criticism is generosity

6. Criticism is looking at a work of art long enough for it to speak to you

Writing the Elemental Narrative

Monday, February 11, 2013

‘An elemental narrative’ is the description we should use for a story that transcends genre. Our understanding of ‘elemental’ relates to what is ‘essential’ or ‘a basic part.’ It means that our elemental narratives always bear the premise that we are writing a ‘basic’ story that touches at the heart of who we are and what we have become. The goal of the writer will be to write a story that is as elemental as a shared humanity, those recognizable qualities that makes us human, and sometimes inhuman.

The Parameters of Longing

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I will argue for a new Nigerian literary order.

Suppose we call this ‘neo-literariness’, for want of a better word, and because in hyphenation a word acquires two identities. So, neo-literariness is the word to use for a generation of writers and enthusiasts who function despite institutional lapses, and whose artistic engagement thrives of new ways of being, especially web-technology.

I will explain with a few examples.

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