Women Writing Africa, Volume II
Women Writing Africa, Volume II
Edited by Esi Sutherland Addy and Aminata Diaw
The West and the Sahel
Publication Date: 09-01-2003
The acclaimed Women Writing Africa Project continues with the second volume of Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel. Drawing upon more than a decade of research, West Africa and the Sahel covers the territory where most African Americans find their roots.
The collection encompasses an epic cultural history through the voices of women represented in twenty languages spoken in an area encompassing twelve countries. Beginning with African kingdoms dating six centuries or more before colonialism and independence, the volume gathers 132 texts—stories, songs, letters, drama, oral history, diaries, and historical documents—each with a readable authoritative headnote explaining its cultural and historical contexts. A general introduction provides an overview of West African cultural and literary history, including the brilliant and diverse traditions of women’s oral literatures.
"The diverse writings presented here will prove to be invaluable not only to students and scholars, but to readers with a curiosity about the historical and cultural legacy of African women. . . . The editors of this book sought to provide a more complete and robust portrait of Africa and African women. They have . . . recover[ed] the lost voices of African women and, as a consequence, have restored their rich cultural and historic legacies." —Foreword Reviews
"Some of these texts are full of celebration and some of powerful emotions; all evoke powerful imagery. Both the texts and the headnotes are fascinating to read, and the reader is truly gripped by the passion and emotion of the writers. This anthology provides an epic tale of African history while highlighting African women's valuable contributions to their culture and bringing their voices to life for readers everywhere. Highly recommended." —Library Journal
"The most significant heroes in this book are the scores of African feminist scholars who worked for over a decade to produce their reading of African history. . . . We are lucky to have Women Writing Africa." —Women's Review of Books
"The first two of four volumes in the Women Writing Africa Project, these books address significant voids in the African literary canon. . . . As these volumes attest, although history has subdued and ignored the cultural meditations of African women, the women themselves have not been silent. Summing up: Essential. All readers; all levels." —Choice
A "splendid resource . . . ranging from wedding songs and work songs to letters, prison diaries, poetry, memoir and recent testimony. . . . The famous are here . . . but most of the voices are new. . . . The authoritative, readable introductory notes to each selection provide essential background and biography. . . . [T]he focus always is on how [the context] affects the daily life of people." —Booklist
"An amazing resource." —New York Times Book Review
"Essential. . . . A rich resource for scholars and general readers alike. . . . [These] texts are rich, evocative, and shaped by endless complexities." —Library Journal
"One volume cannot fill [the void], but the editors have made a beginning, created a place where the voices of all sorts of African women can be heard. Some are urgent, powerful, and contemporary, some remote and small, fading into the wind with lost languages and vanished cultures; but even they can say, like the woman who sang the giraffe song, 'I almost died but instead lived.'" —New York Review of Books