A new exhibit on Alden Library’s first floor highlights the talent and diversity of the newest generation of African writers.
The exhibit, which includes contemporary award-winning authors as well as “writers to watch,” features work from Chimamanda Adichie, Chris Abani, Teju Cole, NoViolet Bulawayo, Yaa Gyasi, Dinaw Mengestu and Tendai Hunchu, said Araba Dawson-Andoh, curator of the exhibit and subject librarian for African studies and the social sciences.
“Africa is a diverse and multifaceted continent, and there are so many new talented authors,” said Dawson-Andoh. “The selected authors write in English, from Sub-Saharan Africa and as much as possible represent of all the regions of the continent.”
The exhibit of images and profiles of 19 African authors includes information such as awards received, notable reviews, videos of author interviews and African artifacts she added.
The Ohio University Press, also on the first floor of Alden Library, publishes the Modern African Writing series, which will also be highlighted in the exhibit. Tendai Huchu’s “The Hairdresser of Harare,” published by the Press, and named by The Guardian as one of its best ten contemporary African novels, is highlighted in the presentation, along with other Press publications.
The official opening event for the exhibition will take place Feb. 22 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the first floor. Keith Phetlhe, the instructor of IART 1180, an interdisciplinary art course, will bring his class of about 20 students, as well as other colleagues, for a presentation of the material in the exhibit.
Phetlhe, who focuses his research in Africa literary arts, worked with Dawson-Andoh to plan the exhibit opening, he said.
“The course that I teach is an introductory course—I focus on African literature,” Phetlhe, also a writer and poet, said. “This exhibition is very exciting to me. We want to talk about the themes of the contemporary novelists and the purpose of the exhibition. We will also engage in some readings from the selected texts.”
Although the students will be the main audience for the presentation, Phetlhe said anyone is welcome to attend the exhibit opening.
“We want to see a lot of people come and see this exhibition, reach out to us and ask questions and then to read outside the mainstream creative writing…read diverse works from other cultures…this is a way of empowering what we read,” said Phetlhe.
All photos courtesy of Lexi Browning/Ohio University Libraries